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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
NI population UK's fastest rising
NI map
Northern Ireland's population is the fastest growing in the UK, new Office of National Statistics figures show.

The 0.8% rise in the last year was 0.2% ahead of the rest of the UK, with 1.7m people now living in Northern Ireland.

The figures also show the number of births was up while deaths fell. The ONS expects NI's population to increase by 12% over the next generation.

The UK's overall population has topped 60m for the first time, fuelled by migration from new EU countries.

Another key factor in the increase is the ageing population, which the ONS attributes to declines both in fertility rates and in the mortality rate.

Northern Ireland's population of 1,724,400 makes up 2.9% of the overall UK population, the ONS said.

In June, a government report on population growth said a record number of people came to live in Northern Ireland last year.

The Statistics and Research Agency said the population increased by 15,000, which was double the average for the last 10 years.

It said there were 8,000 more births than deaths, while more people came to live in Northern Ireland than emigrated.

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