Population projections updated

Crowd Northern Ireland’s population is projected to reach 1.9 million by 2020, according to new projections released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). The region was home to 1.81 million people at the last census in April 2011 and the current estimated population is 1.83 million.

The population is set to increase by 10,000 each year over the next decade due to natural growth: 24,000 births and 14,000 deaths annually. In the next five years, migration is expected to remove 3,000 people from the population – a continuation of rising emigration and falling immigration since 2008.

A large increase in the number of older people is predicted. Between 2012 and 2022, the number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase by a quarter from 273,000 to 344,000. The population aged over 85 would increase from 33,000 to 48,000 persons.

Meanwhile, the number of children aged under 16 is projected to rise by 5 per cent: up from 382,000 to 401,000. The working age population, aged 16 to 64, will remain around 1.17 million.

In the longer term, the total population is projected to reach two million by 2036.

NISRA statistician David Marshall commented that the older population is “continuing to grow and increasingly shaping Northern Ireland society.” The projections do not predict changes in the economy or other factors that may impact on the population. Future changes are based solely on current trends in births, deaths and migration.

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