Estimates of the Population aged 85 and over, Northern Ireland (2016)

Date published: 27 September 2017

This annual release provides a further age breakdown of the most recently published mid-year population estimates (i.e. mid-2016). Statistics are available for those aged 85 and over by single year of age up to 104 years, and collectively for those aged 105 and over. It also presents information on how the overall number and gender composition of those aged 85 and over has changed during the last decade (i.e. mid-2006 to mid-2016).

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).


The key findings are:

  • The number of people aged 85 and over in Northern Ireland has grown by around 900 people per annum throughout the decade ending mid-2016.
  • Over the course of the decade in question the population aged 85 and over has reached 36,500, representing 2.0 per cent of the population. The rate of growth among this age group is almost six times that of those under 85 years of age (34.8 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively). While women account for two thirds (66.8 per cent) of those aged 85 and over, the population increase among males over the decade has been noticeably higher than that among females (52.0 per cent and 27.7 per cent respectively).
  • The estimates also suggest that there were 278 centenarians (i.e. those aged 100 and over) in mid-2016, the vast majority of whom (86.7 per cent) were female.
  • At Local Government District level, the proportion of people aged 85 and over in mid-2016 ranged from 1.4 per cent (2,100 people) in Derry & Strabane to 2.4 per cent (3,900 people) in Ards & North Down.
  • At a UK level Northern Ireland continues to have the lowest proportion of people aged 85 and over (2.0 per cent). However, over the decade ending mid-2016 the percentage growth here among this age group (34.8 per cent) was noticeably higher than in each of England (27.7 per cent), Scotland (26.8 per cent) and Wales (22.4 per cent).
  • Growth in the population aged 85 and over is the result of more people ‘ageing into’ the 85 and over age group than are leaving it each year as a result of dying. At these ages, the impact of migration is negligible.

Further information, including statistical tables and an infographic, is available at Estimates of the Population Aged 85 and Over, Northern Ireland, 2016 (and 2001 to 2015 revised).

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