2018-based Population Projections for Northern Ireland

Date published: 21 October 2019

National population projections are produced biennially for the UK and each of the UK constituent countries by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of the National Statistician and the Registrars General of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Principle projections are produced based on long-term assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration levels, with variant projection being produced from various alternative assumptions – usually in the form of high/low variants. This release for Northern Ireland coincides with releases for England, Wales and Scotland also published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and National Records Scotland (NRS).

Key findings:

The population of Northern Ireland is projected to reach 1.99 million by mid-2043.

The projections between mid-2018 and mid-2043 also point to:

  • in the first 10 years to mid-2028, the population is projected to increase by 3.7 per cent to 1.95 million; rising again to 1.99 million by mid-2043 (an increase of 107,600 people, or 5.7 per cent from mid-2018);
  • natural change (births minus deaths) is projected to be the main driver of population growth over the next 25 years, adding an average 2,800 people to the population per annum;
  • the ageing of the population is projected to continue. The population aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 56.2 per cent between mid-2018 and mid-2043. Likewise, the population aged 85 and over is projected to increase by 106.4 per cent over the same period;
  • by mid-2028, there is projected to be more people aged 65 and over (385,500 people) than children (aged 0-15) (375,700 people) in Northern Ireland;
  • Northern Ireland is projected to have the second largest population growth (5.7 per cent) between mid-2018 and mid-2043 across the UK. England is projected to have the largest population growth (10.3 per cent), followed by Scotland (2.5 per cent), with Wales projected to experience a population decrease (-0.9 per cent); and
  • these latest projections result in population figures that are generally lower than those reported in the 2016-based projections. By mid-2043, it is projected that there will be 20,300 less people in Northern Ireland than previously projected in mid-2016.

Further information including statistical tables, an infographic and a population pyramid, is available at: https://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/2018-based-population-projections-northern-ireland

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