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NI population fastest-growing of UK nations

66.8m

Northern Ireland saw the fastest population growth of the four nations of the UK over the past year, official figures show.

It rose by 0.64% from mid 2018 to mid 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). England saw estimated growth of 0.55%, followed by Scotland (0.46%) and Wales (0.45%).

It is the first time since the year to mid-2009 that Northern Ireland was the fastest-growing nation in the UK.

The ONS said one of the main factors behind the faster population growth here was the comparatively high level of natural change driven by a younger population (a median age of 38.9 years, compared with 40.3 years across the UK). This has led to a higher number of births and a lower number of deaths.

By contrast, in both Wales and Scotland there was a higher rate of deaths than births.

Over the last two decades, Mid-Ulster experienced the greatest population rise here, at 24.7%.

The estimated population of the UK has hit 66.8m after growing at the slowest rate for 15 years, official figures show.

According to yesterday's ONS data release, there was an estimated 66,796,807 people living in the country at the end of June last year.

The population growth rate over the 12 months to the middle of 2019 was 0.5%, the slowest since mid-2004, the ONS said. The year to mid-2019 also saw the fewest births since mid 2005, at 722,000.

Neil Park, from the ONS population estimates unit, said: "The population grew at the slowest rate for 15 years between mid-2018 and mid-2019.

"This is due to the lowest number of births for 14 years alongside an increase in emigration and a fall in international immigration.

"The figures we're publishing today highlight the variation in the population across the UK.

"For example, the population density in London is 24 times higher than that for the south west of England.

"Also, the proportion of people aged 65 or over ranges from over 30% in coastal areas such as north Norfolk to less than 8% in parts of central London like Tower Hamlets."

Belfast Telegraph