## Projected population growth for each scenario, 2017 - 2051

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The usually resident population according to Census 2016 was 4.74 million and this is projected to grow significantly under the six projection scenarios to 2051.  Table 2.1 and figure 2.1 illustrate the projected population at 5 year intervals for the six scenarios from 2016 - 2051.  The largest change is projected for the high migration and high fertility variant M1F1 (which maintains the Total Fertility Rate at 1.8 over the entire period to 2051, coupled with annual net inward migration of 30,000 persons from 2017 onwards) where the population is projected to grow by 1,953,300 (+41.2%) over the 35 year period to 2051. This equates to an average annual rate of population increase of almost 0.8 per cent.

The more moderate M2F2 (which assumes annual net inward migration of 20,000 and a declining fertility rate) shows a population increase of 1,290,900 (+27.2%) over the period to 6.03 million persons, equivalent to a 0.69 per cent annual average increase.  Under the most pessimistic variant M3F2 (which assumes annual net inward migration of 10,000 and a declining fertility rate), the population is only expected to increase to 5,578,300 in 2051 or by 17.7%.

Show Table: Table 2.1 Projected population, 2016 - 2051

 2016 2021 2026 2031 2036 M1F1 M1F2 M2F1 M2F2 M3F1 M3F2 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.7 5 5 5 5 4.9 4.9 5.3 5.3 5.2 5.2 5.1 5.1 5.6 5.6 5.4 5.4 5.3 5.2 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.6 5.4 5.3 6.2 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.5 5.4 6.4 6.3 6.1 5.9 5.7 5.5 6.7 6.5 6.2 6 5.8 5.6

## Contribution of net migration and natural increase to population change 2016 - 2051

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Table 2.2 illustrates how net migration and natural increase (ie. births less deaths) both play important roles in the population change to 2051.  Net migration tends to be the more important component in the high migration scenarios.  For example under the M1F1 variant, the population is projected to increase by 1,953,300 by 2051 with 53.8% of this increase is due to net inward migration and 46.2% is due to natural increase (see figure 2.2).  Under the M1F2 variant, which encompasses high migration and declining fertility 60.3%, of the increase is due to net inward migration and 39.7% natural increase.

Fertility tends to be the more significant component in the low net migration scenarios.  Under the M3F1 variant the population will increase by 1,022,700 to 2051 with 65.8% of this increase due to natural increase and 34.2% to net inward migration. Under the M3F2 variant, the population will increase by 838,700 to 2051, with 58.2% due to natural increase and 41.8% is due to net inward migration.  See figure 2.3.

Show Table: Table 2.2 Components of population change by scenario, 2016 - 2051

 (Thousands) 1050 903.3
 (Thousands) 350 488.4

## Average annual births, deaths and net migration, 2016 - 2051

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The projected number of births, deaths and net migration under the six scenarios are set out for five year periods from 2016 - 2051 in table 2.3.  This table also contains comparable historical inter-censal data from 1926 onwards in order to facilitate comparisons with past trends.

Show Table: Table 2.3 Average annual components of population change for each intercensal period, 1926 - 2051

Births

Annual average births are projected to experience a period of decline towards 2030 under all scenarios, at varying rates depending on the assumption used.  This is a consequence of the projected lower number of women of child bearing years at this time, resulting from a fall in the number of births between the period 1986 and 2006.  Under M1F1 (the most positive scenario) annual births are projected to fall from an annual average of 68,600 in the five year period to 2016 to around 61,600 persons during 2021 to 2026.  Births will subsequently increase just under 75,000 annually by the 2040s.  However for other scenarios such as M1F2 and M3F2 annual average births are projected to reach around 65,000 and 55,000 respectively by 2051.  Figure 2.4 graphs the projected births for each year from 2017 - 2051 for the chosen assumptions.

 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 M1F1 M1F2 M2F1 M2F2 M3F1 M3F2 63900 63900 63900 63900 63900 63900 63105 63105 62869 62869 62631 62631 62861 62335 62375 61852 61887 61369 62611 61566 61862 60830 61114 60093 62126 60577 61104 59582 60083 58587 61709 59666 60409 58410 59110 57154 61484 58951 59897 57431 58315 55913 61413 58390 59538 56607 57665 54828 61478 57962 59311 55918 57151 53882 61709 57693 59248 55389 56798 53102 61973 57454 59221 54904 56492 52371 62519 57475 59484 54684 56476 51918 63349 57749 60048 54741 56781 51764 64145 57984 60599 54781 57094 51610 65103 58360 61331 54977 57604 51635 66019 58683 62034 55142 58109 51651 67029 59580 62858 55874 58747 52221 68079 60513 63743 56659 59471 52863 69041 61367 64559 57383 60145 53462 69948 62171 65337 58074 60802 54041 70786 62911 66065 58715 61417 54583 71604 63631 66779 59340 62035 55126 72317 64258 67397 59883 62558 55584 72967 64818 67952 60361 63025 55981 73572 65332 68465 60793 63447 56334 74103 65769 68905 61151 63796 56611 74506 66087 69214 61386 64013 56767 74685 66195 69290 61405 63993 56701 74772 66206 69269 61321 63868 56528 74820 66169 69203 61185 63691 56294 74759 66013 69018 60925 63389 55934 74641 65793 68769 60593 63012 55495 74345 65402 68337 60084 62443 54871 74052 64984 67888 59537 61849 54198 73774 64557 67449 58974 61251 53503

Deaths

The average annual numbers of deaths are projected to increase steadily under all scenarios from 29,500 in 2016 to between 54,400 and 56,500 by 2051 depending on the scenario chosen. Figure 2.5 graphs the projected deaths for the most optimistic and most pessimistic scenarios, with the other scenarios falling between these.

 2017 M1F1 M3F2 29983 29983 31036 30987 31443 31343 31886 31740 32375 32178 32884 32647 33441 33156 34028 33704 34657 34282 35312 34887 35998 35530 36724 36224 37479 36934 38265 37670 39086 38436 39911 39213 40763 40026 41636 40835 42515 41671 43422 42511 44318 43370 45230 44229 46170 45093 47097 45964 48049 46821 48971 47688 49876 48520 50760 49326 51628 50109 52470 50871 53300 51610 54119 52324 54922 53033 55718 53730 56518 54434

Natural Increase

In the five years to 2016 the natural increase in the population (i.e. the excess of births over deaths) was 39,100 persons and by 2051 this is expected to decline substantially. Under the most positive M1F1 scenario the natural increase is projected to be 19,400 in the five years to 2051, representing a decline of 50.4% from 2016 levels.  For the most pessimistic scenario M3F2 the natural increase, though still projected to be positive, will fall to just 1,800 per annum in the period 2046 - 2051.  This represents a decline of 37,300 (-95.5%) on the average annual natural increase recorded between 2011 - 2016.

Net migration

During the period 2011-2016, annual net migration was -6,200 (i.e. an average of 6,200 more persons left the country than arrived). This is projected to change to +30,000 on average for scenario M1, an annual average of +20,000 persons for M2 and +10,000 (the most pessimistic scenario) for M3 for the period 2017 - 2051.

## Projected population for selected age groups and corresponding dependency ratios

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Table 2.4 shows the population results by broad age groups under the various combinations of assumptions for five-year intervals from 2016 - 2051 and also distinguishes the derived young and old dependency ratios as well as the population of school-going age.

Show Table: Table 2.4 Actual and projected population classified by age group and dependency ratio, 2016 - 2051

The young population – Ages 0 - 14

Census 2016 showed that there were 1,005,500 persons aged 0-14 years.  Under the most positive scenario M1F1 the population aged 0 - 14 is projected to decline from 2016 levels to 960,600 persons by 2031.  Post 2031 the average annual numbers of births are projected to rise steadily under the high fertility scenarios, leading to 1,127,600 persons aged 0 - 14 under the high migration high fertility assumption M1F1 by 2051.  This represents an increase of 12.1% over 2016 levels.

Using the medium migration and declining fertility assumption M2F2 the number of persons aged 0-14 is projected to decline to 853,100 in 2036, before rising steadily to 918,200 persons by 2051.  This represents a decrease of 8.7% on 2016 levels.  Finally under the low migration and falling fertility assumption M3F2 the young population would decline by 169,000 persons to 836,500 over the 35 year period.  Figure 2.6 shows the percentage of the population aged 0 - 14 for selected years.

X-axis label 2016 2021 2031 2041 2051 M1F1 M1F2 M2F1 M2F2 M3F1 M3F2 21.2148704532028 21.2148704532028 21.2148704532028 21.2148704532028 21.2148704532028 21.2148704532028 20.1347201584943 20.0856395210531 20.1913837283792 20.143423741036 20.2488367388226 20.2004048582996 17.1092706385252 16.4215290124455 16.9577848054718 16.2773884996107 16.7984039521186 16.1261899745245 16.8390888338433 15.4344342194393 16.518771331058 15.1262406407801 16.1612152483357 14.7784792652175 16.8477042836439 15.4322035205727 16.6396377591162 15.2259348312744 16.4101140169724 14.9956079809261

Primary school children – Ages 5 - 12

For the purpose of this projections exercise the “primary” school population is broadly represented by those aged 5-12 years of age.  In 2016 there were 548,100 children in this age group and this number is projected to increase by between 13,900 and 7,400 to 2021, depending on the scenario chosen.  Post 2021 the fall in births since 2010 is expected to impact negatively on the number of primary school children under all combinations of assumptions, before increasing steadily thereafter.  The period and rate of decline is dependent on the assumption chosen.

Under the most positive migration and fertility assumption M1F1 primary school children will decrease from 548,100 in 2016 to 510,900 by 2031 (-6.8%), before climbing to reach 607,600 by 2051 (10.9% above 2016 levels). The medium migration and declining fertility assumption M2F2 shows the number of primary school children falling to 451,600 by 2036 before recovering to 497,200 by 2051. This is 50,900 children (-9.3%) below 2016 levels.   Under the least optimistic scenario M3F2 the number of primary school children is projected to decline right through to 2041 reaching 422,300 before recovering to 453,900 by 2051. This is 94,200 (17.2%) less than the number recorded for 2016.  Figure 2.7 shows the projected number of primary school pupils for selected years from 2016 - 2051.

 2016 2021 2026 2031 2036 M1F1 M1F2 M2F1 M2F2 M3F1 M3F2 548.1 548.1 548.1 548.1 548.1 548.1 562 562 558.8 558.8 555.5 555.5 523.1 520 514.5 511.5 506.5 503.5 510.9 492.7 492.7 475 474.7 457.6 517.4 478.9 488.2 451.6 458.9 424 548.5 492.4 510 457.3 471.6 422.3 584.1 521 539.8 480.9 495.8 441 607.6 540.9 559.3 497.2 511.4 453.9

Secondary school pupils – Ages 13 - 18

The number of children of “secondary” school age (i.e. persons aged 13-18 years) are projected to increase by between 75,700 and 67,200 over the next decade to 2026, depending on the assumptions used.  This represents increases in the range of 20.5 to 18.2 per cent over the period. The largest increases will be seen between 2021 and 2026 as the projected cohort of primary school children graduate to secondary level.   The number of secondary school children is projected to decline under all scenarios post 2026 to 2051 with declines ranging from 106,900 under M3F2 to 6,000 under M1F1 over the period.  Figure 2.8 shows the projected number of secondary school pupils for selected years from 2016 - 2051.

 2016 2021 2026 2031 2036 M1F1 M1F2 M2F1 M2F2 M3F1 M3F2 369.9 369.9 369.9 369.9 369.9 369.9 401.9 401.9 399.8 399.8 397.7 397.7 445.6 445.6 441.4 441.4 437.2 437.2 411.2 411.2 404 404 397.4 397.4 396.6 389 383.2 375.7 370.6 363.3 393.6 371 371.9 350.3 350.6 329.8 411.3 373.1 381.7 345.7 352.6 318.7 439.6 393.4 404.7 361.6 370.5 330.3

Working age population – Ages 15 - 64

The working age population is primarily comprised of those aged 15 - 64.  In 2016 there were 3,104,300 persons in this age category, equating to 65.5% of the total population of 4,739,600.  While the size of this population group will rise under all scenarios by 2051, its relative share of the total population is set to decrease.

The M1F1 scenario projects that while the working age population will increase by 863,800 (27.8%) to 3,968,100 by 2051, its overall share of the population of 6,692,900 will have declined by over 6 percentage points to 59.3%.  The M2F2 scenario shows that the working age population will increase by 445,500 to 3,549,700 by 2051 (14.3%) but its overall share of the population will have declined from 65.5% in 2016 to just under 59% by 2051. Under the M3F2 scenario the working age population is projected to increase by just 109,200 (3.5%) to 3,213,500 persons by 2051.  Its overall share of the population of 5,578,300 will have declined however by nearly 8 percentage points to 57.6%.  Figure 2.9 shows the percentage of the population aged 15 - 64 for selected years from 2016 - 2051.

X-axis label 2016 2021 2031 2041 2051 M1F1 M1F2 M2F1 M2F2 M3F1 M3F2 65.5 65.5 65.5 65.5 65.5 65.5 65.1 65.1 64.9 65 64.8 64.8 65 65.5 64.7 65.2 64.3 64.8 62.2 63.1 61.6 62.5 61 61.9 59.3 59.9 58.3 58.9 57.1 57.6

The older population – Ages 65 and over

The older population (i.e. those aged 65 years and over) is projected to increase very significantly from its 2016 level of 629,800 persons to nearly 1.6 million by 2051 under the more positive M1 and M2 migration assumptions and to nearly 1.53 million under more conservative M3 migration scenario.  See fig 2.10.

The very old population (i.e. those aged 80 years of age and over) is set to rise even more dramatically, increasing from 147,800 in 2016 to 549,000 under M1F1 and 535,900 under M3F2.  See tables 2.5 - 2.10.

In 2016, the number of persons aged 0-14 (1,005,500) was considerably higher than the number of persons aged 65+ (629,800), but this will reverse by 2031 under all scenarios. The excess will increase steadily towards 2051 at which stage it is projected that there will be between 496,600 and 691,800 more older people than younger people depending on the scenario used.  See tables 2.4 - 2.10.

X-axis label 2016 2021 M1F1 M2F1 M3F1 629.8 629.8 629.8 745 743.1 741.1 871.4 867.1 863.4 1006.6 999.6 993.8 1146.9 1136.7 1127.8 1297.3 1282.3 1268.7 1463.5 1440.5 1418.6 1597.2 1562.5 1528.3

Dependency ratios

The young dependency ratio (the population aged 0 - 14 years expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 - 64 years) is projected to fall under all assumptions by 2051.  This ratio was 32.4% in 2016 and falls to between 25.8% (M1F2) and 28.8% in 2051 (M3F1).   The young dependency ratio is expected to be at its lowest level in the five year period to 2036.

The older dependency ratio (the population aged 65 years and over expressed as a percentage of the population aged 15 - 64 years) was 20.3% in 2016.  This is projected to increase steadily from 2016 onwards, rising by 3 - 4 percentage points every five years. By 2051 this ratio will be have doubled since 2016 except under M1F1 where it is just less than double and will range between 40.3% for the M1F1 scenario to 47.6% under the M3F2 scenario.

The two ratios combined give the total dependency ratio. In 2016 the total dependency ratio of 52.7% meant that there were roughly 2 people of working age for everyone aged 0-14 and 65+. This ratio is projected to rise under all scenarios to reach values of between 66.9 per cent (M1F2) and 75.2 per cent (M3F1) by 2051.  Therefore in 2051 there will be less than 1.5 persons of working age compared to those aged 0 - 14 and 65+. See table 2.4.

## Changing population structure 2016-2051

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The changing population structure is best illustrated by comparing the breakdown of the population by age and gender at five-year intervals between 2016 and 2051, see tables 2.5 – 2.10 and the selected population pyramids.  The pyramids highlight the broadening of the population by 2051, in particular the increases in the number of persons aged 50 years and over. In the M1F1 scenario all age groups are projected to increase by 2051.  While under M3F2 the projected decline in fertility coupled with low levels of net inward migration shows a shrinking population in in the younger age groups but increases for all age groups 40 years and over.  The medium migration declining fertility scenario M2F2 shows a fall in those aged 0-20 years by 2051 with increases projected for all other age groups.

 99+ Females Males 615 -155 356 -93 540 -190 884 -317 1161 -387 1538 -523 1981 -746 2451 -963 3049 -1321 3695 -1667 4286 -2116 4808 -2557 5594 -3163 6340 -3951 7055 -4831 7655 -5364 8225 -6166 9219 -7018 9917 -7788 10517 -8596 11043 -9289 11424 -9872 12308 -10770 12799 -11594 13086 -11993 13724 -13088 15377 -14391 16220 -15668 17327 -16763 18904 -18440 19579 -19412 20416 -20365 21005 -20756 21816 -21091 21716 -21813 22274 -22202 23580 -23353 23430 -23286 24596 -24265 24843 -24641 25408 -25299 26276 -25705 27042 -27007 27655 -26932 28721 -28168 28504 -28184 29711 -28894 30370 -29537 31129 -30347 31065 -30708 30834 -30718 31477 -31268 31555 -31916 33508 -33421 35070 -35150 34948 -34480 35654 -35360 35777 -35233 36153 -35642 36770 -36457 36696 -35867 37677 -36695 39503 -37405 42124 -40830 41508 -39760 40232 -37282 39531 -35835 37357 -34141 35337 -32669 35345 -32573 32561 -29904 30813 -28367 31279 -30254 28480 -27753 28370 -28898 27472 -27330 26612 -27508 26753 -27423 26827 -27635 27417 -28488 27997 -29270 29677 -31285 29580 -31385 29742 -31172 29862 -31262 30728 -31883 31113 -32256 31385 -32826 30936 -33028 31580 -33121 32619 -34285 35039 -36419 35264 -36802 35426 -37037 35543 -36816 34610 -36224 33294 -34826 32264 -33996 31163 -32792 30355 -31854
Show Table: Table 2.5 Actual and projected population classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2051 (M1F1)

 99+ Females Males 4483 -2237 2698 -1568 3658 -2254 4993 -3202 6298 -4230 7776 -5443 9423 -6706 11072 -8257 12652 -9454 14450 -11128 15630 -12406 17560 -14002 19166 -15571 20815 -17250 21885 -18680 22745 -19834 24143 -21293 25044 -22739 27337 -24723 29348 -26889 29948 -27249 31185 -28723 31912 -29396 32824 -30437 33931 -31860 34492 -32118 35917 -33479 38168 -34799 41176 -38578 41250 -38404 40646 -36863 40534 -36219 38853 -35121 37319 -34271 37792 -34732 35708 -32976 34572 -32010 35710 -34447 33766 -32757 34578 -34736 34696 -34066 34889 -35197 35856 -35852 36756 -36726 37738 -37857 38454 -38666 40556 -41045 40776 -41475 41040 -41380 41217 -41552 42118 -42260 42620 -42779 42971 -43454 42577 -43746 43262 -43957 44335 -45210 46843 -47480 47206 -48055 47447 -48441 47685 -48344 46796 -47876 45342 -46326 44143 -45253 42880 -43746 41670 -42321 41944 -42705 41228 -41928 40940 -41577 40595 -41131 39999 -40469 39336 -39657 38791 -39207 38151 -38632 37489 -38093 36770 -37438 35984 -36857 35266 -36262 34876 -36021 34469 -35829 34540 -36051 34834 -36491 34927 -36662 35164 -36955 35549 -37383 35917 -37785 36250 -38130 36506 -38391 36739 -38624 36964 -38847 37134 -38995 37268 -39106 37312 -39124 37210 -38991 37061 -38820 36838 -38570 36545 -38224 36424 -38147 36180 -37976 35901 -37776 35794 -37707
Show Table: Table 2.6 Actual and projected population classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2051 (M1F2)

Show Table: Table 2.7 Actual and projected population classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2051 (M2F1)

Show Table: Table 2.8 Actual and projected population classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2051 (M2F2)

 99+ Females Males 4431 -2208 2666 -1547 3614 -2223 4933 -3160 6225 -4174 7683 -5369 9310 -6612 10938 -8148 12498 -9323 14280 -10975 15442 -12229 17347 -13803 18937 -15348 20567 -17003 21615 -18409 22453 -19542 23832 -20974 24717 -22396 26989 -24356 28974 -26498 29559 -26826 30750 -28243 31423 -28852 32283 -29832 33320 -31165 33807 -31336 35166 -32619 37339 -33845 40269 -37531 40256 -37261 39574 -35624 39381 -34877 37630 -33700 36016 -32753 36406 -33110 34213 -31233 32880 -30059 33807 -32290 31656 -30389 32249 -32135 32137 -31222 32046 -32092 32767 -32522 33438 -33181 34241 -34145 34809 -34817 36833 -37128 36985 -37500 37205 -37373 37354 -37520 38245 -38222 38737 -38738 39083 -39419 38680 -39715 39356 -39913 40417 -41169 42947 -43474 43319 -44069 43586 -44489 43846 -44427 42986 -44006 41560 -42495 40393 -41468 39163 -40011 38011 -38664 38337 -39107 37600 -38311 37006 -37653 36379 -36926 35517 -36000 34616 -34958 33906 -34340 33126 -33606 32324 -32908 31464 -32107 30554 -31372 29766 -30656 29264 -30258 28739 -29906 28633 -29911 28705 -30096 28742 -30201 28912 -30417 29220 -30758 29520 -31086 29796 -31370 29992 -31567 30175 -31746 30346 -31907 30468 -31998 30548 -32056 30548 -32026 30407 -31857 30218 -31638 29955 -31344 29619 -30948 29440 -30803 29143 -30564 28793 -30281 28575 -30094
Show Table: Table 2.9 Actual and projected population classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2051 (M3F1)

Show Table: Table 2.10 Actual and projected population classified by sex and age group, 2016 - 2051 (M3F2)

 99+ Females Males 4399 -2196 2646 -1537 3584 -2208 4895 -3139 6173 -4143 7620 -5330 9234 -6560 10846 -8082 12390 -9242 14151 -10875 15295 -12113 17183 -13663 18750 -15183 20357 -16816 21384 -18194 22200 -19301 23553 -20703 24414 -22092 26664 -24019 28621 -26119 29174 -26419 30316 -27774 30941 -28318 31741 -29222 32717 -30477 33133 -30553 34418 -31741 36509 -32867 39350 -36439 39247 -36048 38469 -34298 38181 -33433 36361 -32154 34664 -31108 34961 -31350 32678 -29344 31153 -27986 31884 -30016 29525 -27907 29898 -29428 29570 -28296 29195 -28908 29673 -29113 30119 -29556 30738 -30340 31171 -30875 33130 -33119 33249 -33439 33446 -33280 33570 -33396 34429 -34062 34903 -34554 35228 -35212 34807 -35494 35476 -35698 36529 -36952 39092 -39302 39487 -39948 39786 -40422 40077 -40425 39251 -40056 37862 -38614 36728 -37651 35538 -36255 34447 -34980 34821 -35506 34064 -34696 33442 -34014 32780 -33248 31876 -32289 30934 -31204 30319 -30694 29631 -30053 28918 -29451 28143 -28744 27308 -28112 26696 -27539 26348 -27282 25969 -27070 26009 -27213 26209 -27528 26214 -27595 26359 -27786 26650 -28107 26943 -28423 27218 -28703 27400 -28879 27568 -29038 27729 -29183 27842 -29255 27913 -29293 27902 -29249 27752 -29059 27549 -28822 27266 -28501 26911 -28075 26741 -27937 26446 -27708 26092 -27424 25862 -27225

While this report contains a number of summary tables, detailed results of the population projections from 2017 to 2051 are available on the CSO Statbank here.