Population of Northern Ireland to reach two million by 2034

Births to push up population
Births to push up population

The population of Northern Ireland is projected to reach two million by mid-2034.

This is one of the findings of the ‘Population Projections for Northern Ireland’ published on Thursday by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Natural growth is projected to be the main reason for this increase, with 169,300 more births than deaths predicted.

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency

It is anticipated the 1.9 million milestone will be reached five years from now, in mid-2020.

Over the 25 year period (mid-2014 to mid-2039), the population is projected to increase by 180,800 people to reach 2.021 million, which is a 0.4% annual rate of growth.

Natural growth is projected to be the main reason for this increase, with 169,300 more births than deaths predicted.

During this time the population will continue to age, with those aged 65 and over projected to increase by 74.4% to reach 498,500. The number of people in this age group is expected to exceed the number of children (i.e. those aged 0-15 years), by mid-2028, with the gap projected to widen. In 25 years time, it is projected that almost one in four of the population (24.7%) will be aged 65 and over, whereas 18.4% will be children.

By mid-2039 the group aged 85 and over is projected to increase from 34,400 to 88,600 (an increase of 157.3% or 54,200 people), which means 4.4% of the population will be aged 85 and over (up from an estimated 1.9% in mid-2014).

Although the life expectancy of females continues to be higher than that of males on average, the gap is closing. In 2039 it is projected that males will account for 42.9% of the population aged 85 and over, rising from an estimated 32.1% in mid-2014.

While the overall growth in the Northern Ireland population through to mid-2039 is projected to be lower than that for the rest of the United Kingdom (9.8% compared with 15.1%), the extent of ageing in the Northern Ireland population is projected to exceed that in the rest of the United Kingdom. For example, growth among the Northern Ireland population aged 65 and over (74.4%) and the population aged 85 and over (157.3%) is projected to exceed that in the rest of the United Kingdom (57.8% and 136.7% respectively).

Northern Ireland’s share of the United Kingdom population is projected to decrease from 2.85% in mid-2014 to 2.72% in mid-2039.