Northern Ireland’s population is expected to hit the two million mark over the next ten years with the largest growth expected in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council Borough.
Over the 10 year period from mid-2016 to mid-2026, Northern Ireland’s population is projected to grow by 4.2%, reaching 1,939,700 people in 2026.
That growth ranges from a mere 0.1% (200 people) in Derry City and Strabane to 8.9& in theABC area – 18,600 people.
The number of people aged 65 and over is expected to increase by 25% across the region, with this proportion of the population set to outnumber children by 2028.
Newry, Mourne and Down will see the second largest increase in pensioners (31.4%) marginally behind Mid Ulster on 32%.
In contrast, the number of pre-school children (aged 0-3) in Northern Ireland is projected to fall by 7.8% (7,700 children) over the decade.
Dr Ian Shuttleworth, senior lecturer in population geography at Queen’s University, told the Belfast Telegraph that if society remains structured the way it is “there will be major ramifications in relation to school provision and how we care for the elderly”.
“It’s partly due to advancements in medical technology,” he said. “But falling fertility rates are a bit of a puzzle, but obviously linked to lifestyle changes.”
He added: “The religious balance will also be affected, but the main issue will be how we care for the elderly – but if the older people are healthy then it won’t be a problem at all.”