Small Area Population Estimates
Since the publication of the 2013 population estimates in June 2014, population estimates for areas within Northern Ireland are created using the Small Area Population Estimates (SAPE) methodology. Estimates are created for each of the 890 Super Output Areas (SOAs), which are then aggregated to create estimates for larger geographies, such as Local Government Districts and Parliamentary Constituencies. As a result, there is now one single release with a statistical bulletin, which provides analysis and commentary on the population changes for multiple geographies:
In a second step of the methodology, population estimates by SOA were broken down to 2011 Census Small Areas (SA2011). This was based on the rolled-forward 2011 Census and administrative data available at this level. When moving further away from 2011, administrative data sources become more important. There are a number of SAs for which the administrative data sources were distinctly different from the Census counts in 2011, which raises concerns about their future use in disaggregating SOA-level population estimates. In addition, spatial allocation to small geographical areas, particularly when using postcode-based data sources, can lead to inaccuracies. For these reasons, the publication of SA2011 level population estimates was suspended after the release of 2012 estimates.
A review of the methodology and quality of data used to produce SA2011 population estimates took place as part of the 2015/16 Workplan and Population Estimates for Small Areas up to mid-2014 are now available.