Largely a residential area, Newtownabbey is also home to many engineering and computer industries. Retail and leisure facilities include the Abbey Centre, the Valley Leisure Centre, the Ballyearl Arts & Leisure Centre, The Theatre at the Mill, Glengormley Moviehouse, Glengormley Sportsbowl and three large public parks. The main campus for the University of Ulster is based in the Jordanstown area of Newtownabbey. Although the Jordanstown campus of the University of Ulster is due to merge with the current Belfast campus which is due to be completed by 2018.
Newtownabbey was formed by the merging of seven villages; Carnmoney, Glengormley, Jordanstown, Monkstown, Whiteabbey, Whitehouse and Whitewell. It was formally brought into being on 1 April 1958. Before its inception the expanse fell under the jurisdiction of the Belfast Rural District Council.
The timeline of the local government authority is: Newtownabbey Urban District Council (1958–1973), Newtownabbey District Council (1973–1977), Newtownabbey Borough Council (1977–2015) and Antrim & Newtownabbey District Council (2015– ).
For more information see The Troubles in Newtownabbey, which includes a list of incidents in Newtownabbey during The Troubles resulting in two or more deaths.
Below is a list of townlands that are within Newtownabbey's urban area, alongside their likely etymologies.Ballybought (from Irish: Baile Bocht, meaning "poor town")*
Ballyduff (historically Ballymacelduffe; from Baile Mhic Giolla Dhuibh meaning "MacElduff's townland")*
Ballygolan (historically Ballingowlan; from Baile an Ghabhláin or Baile Gobhláin meaning "townland of the fork")*
Ballyhenry (from Baile Éinrí meaning "Henry's townland")*
Ballyvesey (from Baile Feasoighe meaning "Vesey's townland")*
Ballywonard (from Baile Mhuine Ard meaning "townland of the high thicket")*
Carnmoney (from Carn Monaidh meaning "cairn of the bog")*
Collinward (from Coll an Bháird meaning "the bard's hazel")*
Cloughfern (historically Ballycurraghfarny; from Cruach Fearna meaning "stack of the alder" or Currach Fearnaí meaning "marsh of the place of alders")*
Drumnadrough (from Druimainn Dorcha meaning "dark ridge" or Druim na gCruach meaning "ridge of the stacks"), where Merville Garden Village is located
Dunanney (from Dún Aine meaning "Aine's stronghold")*
Glengormley (from Gleann Ghormlaithe meaning "blue-grey valley")*
Jordanstown (historically Ballyjordan and Ballyjurdan)
Mallusk or Molusk (historically Moyvluske and Moyvliske; from Maigh Bhloisce meaning "Bloisce's plain")*
Monkstown (historically Ballynamanagh; from Baile na Manach meaning "townland of the monks")
Whiteabbey (from An Mhainistir Fhionn meaning "White Abbey")
White House (from An Teach Geal meaning "the bright/white house")
* citation for derivations
The following housing estates have Irish-derived names, although they are not named after townlands:Mossley (O.E. mos meaning "peat-bog" + O.E. leah meaning "clearing", gaelicized as Maslaí)
Rathcoole (likely from Ráth Cúile meaning "nook of the ringfort")
Until 2014 Newtownabbey operated under its own council comprising Ballyclare, Glengorley, Jordanstown, Carnmoney, Mallusk and Rathcoole. However, from 2014 it has operated as a larger Council after merging with Antrim to create Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. The current electoral ward and areas are:Airport (1 DUP, 1 SDLP, 1 Sinn Féin, 2 UUP)
(Aldergrove, Clady, Crumlin, Mallusk, and Templepatrick)Antrim (1 Alliance, 2 DUP, 2 UUP, 1 SDLP)
(Antrim Centre, Fountain Hill, Greystone, Springfarm, Steeple, and Stiles)Ballyclare (3 DUP, 2 UUP, 1 TUV)
(Ballyclare East, Ballyclare West, Ballynure, Ballyrobert, and Doagh)Dunsilly (2 DUP, 1 UUP, 1 SDLP 1 Sinn Féin)
(Cranfield, Parkgate, Randalstown, Shilvodan, and Toome)Glengormley Urban (1 Alliance, 3 DUP, 2 UUP, 1 Sinn Féin)
(Ballyhenry, Burnthill, Carnmoney, Collinbridge, Glebe, Glengormley, and Hightown)Macedon (1 Alliance, 4 DUP, 1 UUP)
(Abbey, Carnmoney Hill, O'Neill, Rathcoole, Valley, and Whitehouse)Three Mile Water (1 Alliance, 3 DUP, 2 UUP)
(Ballyduff, Fairview, Jordanstown, Monkstown, Mossley, and Rostulla)
Newtownabbey Urban Area is classified as a large town (i.e. with population between 18,000 and 75,000 people in the 2001 census) by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and is within the Belfast Metropolitan Urban Area (BMUA). On Census day (27 March 2011) there were 85,139 people living in Newtownabbey. Of these:20.4% were aged under 16 years and 15.4% were aged 65 and over
48.2% of the population were male and 51.8% were female
22.56% were from a Catholic background and 67.76% were from a Protestant background.
3.8% of people aged 16–74 were unemployed.
University of Ulster at Jordanstown (UUJ)
Northern Regional College (NRC)
Ballyclare High School
Belfast High School
Edmund Rice College
Glengormley High School
Abbey community college
Ballyclare Secondary School
Jordanstown Schools for the Deaf and Blind
Whitehouse Primary School
Academy Cricket Club
Cliftonville Cricket Club
18th Newtownabbey Old Boys F.C.
Mossley Young Men F.C.
Rathfern Rangers F.C.
St Enda's GAC
East Antrim Hockey Club
Mossley Hockey Club
Owls Hockey Club
Academy Rugby Club
Ballyclare Rugby Club
Belfast High School Former Pupils Rugby Club
Ophir Rugby Club
Abbey Presbyterian Church
Abbots Cross Congregational Church
Ballycraigy Congregational Church
Ballyhenry Presbyterian Church
The Church of the Good Shepherd (United Church of Ireland and Methodist)
Church of the Holy Spirit (Church of Ireland) Mossley
Church of the Holy Evangelists (Church of Ireland) Carnmoney
Glengormley Methodist Church
Monkstown Baptist Church
Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church
Saint James's Catholic Church
St Mary's on the Hill Parish Church
St Bernard's Church
St Brigid's Parish of Mallusk
St Mac Nissi's Church
St. Patrick's Church (Church of Ireland)
Straid Congregational Church
Rathcoole Baptist Church
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church
Whiteabbey Congregational Church
Whiteabbey Methodist Church
Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church
Whitehouse Presbyterian Church
Northern Ireland Railways runs trains serving three railway stations: Mossley West railway station on the Belfast–Derry railway line and Jordanstown railway station and Whiteabbey railway station on the Belfast–Larne railway line.
Connecting trains run on the Belfast-Derry railway line from Mossley West, "Northbound" to: Antrim, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine (for the branch to University (Coleraine), Dhu Varren and Portrush), Castlerock, Bellarena, Londonderry. And "Southbound" to Yorkgate, Belfast Central (change for Belfast-Bangor railway line and the Enterprise), Botanic, City Hospital, Belfast Great Victoria Street and onwards.
Whilst the Belfast-Larne railway line serving Whiteabbey and Jordanstown and connects with other stations including the principal stations of Carrickfergus, Whitehead, Larne Town and Larne Harbour, heading "Northbound". And heading "Southbound" the same stations as listed above apply.
Bus services are provided by Metro.
Newtownabbey is linked to the M2 motorway (which passes through it) and the M5 motorway (which begins at its southeastern edge).
Newtownabbey is twinned with: Rybnik, Poland (since 18 October 2003)
Newtownabbey has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International: Gilbert, Arizona, United States