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Population aged 85 and over growing by 1,000 every year

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The number of people aged 85 and over in Northern Ireland has grown by around 1,000 people per annum throughout the decade ending mid-2015.

This is one of the findings of the statistics published today by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Over the course of the decade in question the population aged 85 and over has reached 35,500, representing 1.9 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 (37.1 per cent and 6.7 per cent respectively). While women account for two thirds (67.3 per cent) of those aged 85 and over, the population increase among males over the decade has been noticeably higher than that among females (54.8 per cent and 29.9 per cent respectively).

The estimates also suggest that there were 280 centenarians (i.e. those aged 100 and over) in mid-2015, only one in nine of whom (11.1 per cent) were male.

At Local Government District level, the proportion of people aged 85 and over in mid-2015 ranged from 1.4 per cent (2,100 people) in Derry & Strabane to 2.4 per cent (3,800 people) in Ards & North Down.

At a UK level Northern Ireland continues to have the lowest proportion of people aged 85 and over (1.9 per cent). However, over the decade ending mid-2015 the percentage growth here (37.1 per cent), among this age group, was noticeably higher than in each of England (31.3 per cent), Scotland (30.7 per cent) and Wales (27.2 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.

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