NI population higher than ever and showing continued growth

NI's population is continuing to grow
NI's population is continuing to grow

Northern Ireland’s population has risen to its highest ever level with more than 1.85 million people now living here.

Detailed new figures show continued growth across the Province, with a particularly large rise in the Lisburn and Castlereagh council area.

The populace in Northern Ireland increased by 11,100 people (0.6%) in June 2015 compared to the previous year.

Most of the growth was what researchers describe as ‘natural’ – more births than deaths – while a small portion was attributed to net inward immigration.

The figures were released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and provide a detailed estimate of the population here in June 30, 2015. NISRA estimate the total population on that date at 1,852,000.

Around 80% of the increase comes from the birth rate remaining higher than the death rate.

Every one of the 11 council areas showed population growth, with the largest increase in Lisburn and Castlereagh at 1.1% and the lowest in the Derry City and Strabane council area at just a fifth of a per cent.

The population figures draw on records such as the number of births and deaths.

A total of 24,215 births (12,493 males and 11,722 females) were registered last year, compared to 15,548 deaths.

The death rate was the highest since a flu epidemic in 1999 claimed an unusually large number of lives.

Of the births registered last year, almost half were out of wedlock (44%) while the number of births to teenage mothers was the lowest on record at 760. The number of children born to mothers aged over 35, meanwhile, increased.

The number of stillbirths, 76, was also the lowest ever recorded in Northern Ireland and is 6.2% lower than the figure for 2014.


The death rate in Northern Ireland during 2015 was 15,548, the highest since a flu epidemic in 1999 pushed the number of deaths as high as 15,663.

Cancer accounted for 28% of all deaths last year, with 4,471 people succumbing to the condition in total.

Lung and throat cancer proved the most deadly, resulting in 990 deaths.

A total of 804 more people died in 2015 compared to 2014.

A total of 8,355 marriages and 89 civil partnerships were registered last year, equivalent to roughly one every hour.

August was the most popular month for weddings with Saturday, September 5 being the most popular day.

There were 2,360 divorces and seven civil partnership dissolutions granted, with non-cohabitation remaining the most frequently recorded reason.