Northern Ireland’s population up to record high, census shows

First release of 2021 survey figures shows sharp increase in older age groups

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 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.

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

The population experienced 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 a third of a million people – an almost 25 per cent 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 per cent from 2011.

The census 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 per cent) on the 2011 census.

Commenting on the first results, 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.” – PA