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Borough population explosion forecast would fill Odyssey Arena TWICE over!

A population explosion – which would fill the Odyssey Arena in Belfast TWICE – is being predicted for this borough.

The number of residents living in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon borough is expected to grow by more than 21,000 over the next eight years.

And longer life expectancies are also forecast – with the number of people living to beyond 85 years of age expected to more than double.

Of the 11 new super-council areas, the biggest population increase – in excess of 10 per cent – is anticipated in the ABC Council area.

The population in all 11 areas is projected to both increase and age up to 2024, according to an updated report published today (Wednesday) by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Over the 10 year period from 2014 to 2024, Northern Ireland’s population is projected to grow by 5.3 per cent – that is 98,200 people – reaching 1,938,700 people in 2024.

Population growth is projected for each area in that time period, ranging from 1.5 per cent or 2,200 people in Derry City and Strabane to 10.4 per cent – a huge 21,400 residents – in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon.

Ageing of the population is set to continue, with the Northern Ireland population aged 65 and over projected to increase by 25.8 per cent – that is 73,800 people – over this period.

Increases are projected in each area, ranging from 14.8 per cent in Belfast to over 32 per cent in each of Newry, Mourne and Down (32.5 per cent), Mid Ulster (32.6 per cent) and Fermanagh and Omagh (33.2 per cent).

Growth of over 50 per cent is projected among those aged 85 and over in four of the 11 council areas, with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon set to gain the highest number of people in this age category – some 1,700, which equates to 50.5 per cent.

The number of children- those aged up to 15 years – in Northern Ireland is projected to rise by 3.9 per cent up to 2024.

Again this is expected to be most noticeable in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon – 9.6 per cent, equating to 4,400 children.

Four out of the 11 areas are forecast to see a small reduction in the number of children, with Ards and North Down experiencing the largest reduction – 2.3 per cent, which equates to 700 children.

In contrast, the number of pre-school children – those up to three years of age – is projected to fall by 4.6 per cent (4,600 children) over the decade.

Decreases are projected in all but one of the council areas, namely Lisburn and Castlereagh, where a small increase of 100 pre-school children – or 1.4 per cent – is projected.

Modest growth of 0.8 per cent – that is 9,500 people – is projected among the working age population, between the ages of 16 to 64.

But seven of the 11 council areas will experience a reduction in their working age population, most notably in Derry City and Strabane (3.5 per cent equivalent to 3,300 people) and Ards and North Down (3.0 per cent equivalent to 2,900 people).

In 2014, Ards and North Down was the only area where the estimated population aged 65 and over exceeded the estimated number of children. This position is projected to arise in both Causeway Coast and Glens, and Mid and East Antrim, during the first 10 years of the projections and in all of the remaining areas by 2039.

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