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NI population growing and ageing

Words: Roger Milne
House price growth / Shutterstock

Northern Ireland’s population is expected to reach almost two million by 2026, with a steep rise in the number of people aged over 65, according to the latest data from the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency.

It has just published sub-national projections. These are based on 2016 mid-year estimates and assumptions regarding future fertility, mortality and migration for areas within Northern Ireland.

The key findings are that over the 10-year period from 2016 to 2026 the population in each Local Government District (LGD) in Northern Ireland is projected to grow and age.

The population is projected to grow by 4.2 per cent, reaching 1,939,700 people in 2026. Population growth is projected for each LGD over the decade, ranging from 0.1 per cent (200 people) in Derry City and Strabane to 8.9 per cent in both Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon LGD and Lisburn and Castlereagh LGD.

The projections also highlight that ageing of the population is set to continue, with the Northern Ireland population aged 65 and over projected to increase by 25 per cent  (74,500 people) over this period.

Increases are projected in each LGD, ranging from 15.2 per cent in Belfast to over 30 per cent in Newry, Mourne and Down and Mid Ulster (31.4 per cent and 32.0 per cent respectively).

Growth of over 40 per cent is projected among those aged 85 and over in five of the 11 LGDs, with Mid Ulster set to experience the highest percentage growth in this age category – 1,200, equating to growth of 48.1 per cent.

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