NI number-crunchers celebrate World Statistics Day

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Did you know that the population of Northern Ireland grows by one person every 42 minutes?

Or that Northern Ireland has one of the highest birth rates in the European Union at 2.0 children per woman of child-bearing age?

It is the UN's first World Statistics Day on Wednesday, and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency has used the occasion to highlight its work.

Chief Executive Dr Norman Caven said the data they gather and analyse throws up some "quirky and interesting information" but their work also has a serious side.

"Reliable and impartial statistics provide invaluable information on a wide range of essential services including health, social care and education," he said.

Dr Caven said the next Northern Ireland census being held in March would form the bedrock of much of their analysis which their statisticians provide for the government.

"Key facts are vital for those who are responsible for the planning and allocation of resources, policy and decision making," he said.

"It is this information that helps government decide where to site a new hospital; where to build a new school; or even where new roads should be constructed."

NISRA is an agency of the Department of Finance and Personnel.

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