Five hundred people are leaving Northern Ireland each week to start new lives elsewhere.
The latest Government figures available have now been released, painting an intricate picture of the ebbs and flows of the Northern Ireland population over a year.
The statistics look at births, marriages, deaths, emigration, immigration and changing trends within these areas.
For the year up to June 30, 2011, statistics show that almost 25,000 people left the country —an average of 500 per week.
In the same period, a lesser 21,700 came to live in Northern Ireland.
The figures also show that less people than ever are dying here each year.
Last year 14,200 deaths were recorded, the lowest figure in recorded history.
Over the same period there were more than 25,000 births — meaning that Northern Ireland’s population is steadily increasing.
In 2011, 42% of all births here occurred outside marriage — the highest figure ever recorded.
And women are increasingly giving birth later in life.
Just over half (12,800) of all births registered last year were to mothers aged 30 or more.
In contrast, during the 1980s around one birth in every three was to an older mother.
The figures were published in the Registrar General’s annual report, which was published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).
“Last year saw the lowest number of deaths ever,” said a spokesman.
“After allowing for today’s older population, death rates are now around half of those of 30 years ago — a remarkable improvement.
“We also saw the lowest infant and stillbirth death rates ever last year.
“The report also points to trends in birth statistics. The number of births has remained stable at around 25,000 for the last number of years,” he added.
“Today, around one birth in every 10 is to a mother who was born outside Britain and Ireland. This is a three-fold increase from a decade ago and illustrates the increased diversity of the Northern Ireland population.”
Cancer continues to be the biggest killer here, accounting for nearly one-third of deaths.
The figure of 4,059 deaths from cancer is the highest ever.
The increase in cancer mortality is related to people living longer as the risk of developing |cancer increases with age.
There was an increase in marriages, up 2.6% from the previous year, and a decrease in divorces, which fell by 10% in one year.
Saturday, August 27, 2011, was the most popular day last year to get married, when 109 couples tied the knot.
During 2011, there were 89 civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland, 46 male and 43 female.
This is a decrease from the 2010 figure of a total of 116 civil partnerships.
Other figures for last year show:
- One in 10 children were born to mothers from outside the UK and Ireland.
- Almost half of children were born out of wedlock.
- Cancer accounted for 29% of deaths here, the highest ever.
- Marriages increased by 2.6% and divorces fell by 10% compared to 2010.