Big rise predicted in numbers of older people in NI
The number of older people in Northern Ireland is predicted to grow dramatically in the next decade.
New figures released by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) show the numbers of those aged 65 and over are projected to increase by a quarter, to 344,000, by 2022.
The numbers of the oldest old, aged 85 and over, are expected to rise by 50%, from 33,000 to 48,000.
Northern Ireland's population is projected to rise to 1.9m by 2020.
That is a rise of 100,000 since 2010. Over the longer term, the population is projected to reach 2m by 2036.
The figures also predict a net decline in population as a result of emigration and immigration trends.
Dr David Marshall, a statistician from NISRA, said: "Over the next decade, the population is expected to grow by 10,000 each year - reaching 1.9m in 2020.
"Today's new figures also point to our older population continuing to grow and increasingly shaping Northern Ireland society.
"As an example, the number of people aged 85 and over is set to rise by 50% in 10 years."
'Fall in immigration'
The number of people aged 65 and over is expected to rise from 273,000 to 344,000 by 2022.
The population is expected to increase due to more births than deaths, with 24,000 births and 14,000 deaths predicted annually.
In the next five years, a rise in migration and fall in immigration is expected to remove 3,000 people from the population.
This is in contrast to 2004-2008 when net migration/immigration added 32,000 to the population.
In the decade to 2022, the number of children, aged under 16, is projected to rise by 5% - 382,000 to 401,000.
The population aged 16 to 64 will remain around 1,174,000.
The projections are not population forecasts and do not predict changes in the economy or other factors that may impact on the population.
Future changes are based solely on current trends in births, deaths and migration.
Population projections are widely used in policy development, in areas like education, housing, healthcare and pensions.