Northern Ireland news

Census: Northern Ireland population is at its highest ever recorded number

David Young, PA

Northern Ireland’s population has risen to a record high of more than 1.9 million, the latest census has revealed.

The population has increased by more than 90,000 in a decade, from 1.811 million in 2011 to 1.903 million recorded in Census 2021.

The figure is included in the first tranche of statistics from last year’s census.

The initial release of figures published on Tuesday relate to population and household numbers.

Equality statistics broken down on the basis of ethnicity, national identity, religion, sexual orientation and other key factors will be published later in the year.

Census 2021 recorded 967,000 females and 936,000 males living in Northern Ireland.

The population saw the sharpest increases in the older age groups while the number of young children fell.

The number of people aged 65 plus rose by more than 60,000 to nearly one-third of a million people – an almost 25% increase on 2011.

This is indicative of the “baby boom” generation of the 1950s and 1960s reaching retirement age.

By contrast, birth rates continue to fall in Northern Ireland and the number of young children aged four or under decreased by 9% from 2011.

Census 2021 also recorded the highest number of occupied households in Northern Ireland, another indicator of an ageing population.

The 769,000 households was up 65,000 (9%) on the 2011 census.

Commenting on the first results from Census 2021, Northern Ireland’s Registrar General Siobhan Carey said: “I would like to thank the public for their support last year.

“The statistics released today help us to understand our society in terms of ageing and household structure.

“The data will inform decisions on public policy for years to come.

“More census statistics on local areas and equality factors such as ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation will be published this autumn.”


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