The number of older people in Northern Ireland is rising so steadily that it is expected to overtake that of children by 2027, according to a new report.
Projections show that by 2033, there will be almost half-a-million adults aged 65 and over living in Northern Ireland - a quarter of the population.
By contrast, the number of children living here is expected to slowly increase until 2022.
The projections were outlined in a A Profile of Older People in Northern Ireland - 2014 Update, published yesterday by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.
The report, the third in a series since 2009, reveals that the population of Northern Ireland has been on the rise since 1979, a trend that is expected to continue. By 2018, it is projected the population will increase from 1.830 million to 1.881 million, while in the longer term, the population is expected to reach 1.989 million by 2033.
Between 2013 and 2018, the number of older people is expected to rise by 12.1%, from 279,100 to 312,900 and then jump significantly to 455,700 by 2033, an increase of 63.3%. In the same period, the very elderly population (85 and over) is projected to increase by 22.2%, from 33,300 to 40,700 and more than double between 2013 and 2033 to 79,200.
The report also shows that between 2003 and 2013, the number of people aged 85 and over increased by almost 40%, more than five times greater than the overall population growth rate over the same period.
As well as highlighting population projections, the OFMDFM report also examined issues such as healthcare, rates of income, illness, mobility and income.
Linda Robinson, Age NI Chief Executive, said an ageing society should be seen as a positive and dynamic opportunity for Northern Ireland society.
"Our ageing population means that we are faced with significant challenges and opportunities that will affect Northern Irish society for generations to come," Ms Robinson said.
The population of Northern Ireland has been on the rise since 1979. Between 2013 and 2018 the population is projected to increase from 1.830 million to 1.881 million.