Local population still falling, but predicted to grow

THE POPULATION of Fermanagh is continuing to drop, however the experts are predicting it will rise again in the years ahead.
According to the Registrar General’s Annual Report, which was published last week and covers the period up until December 2020, the current population of the Fermanagh and Omagh District is 117,337. That’s 60 people less than at the same time the year before.
According to the report, which was compiled using figures from the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), this drop was not because there were more deaths than births, but because more people left the area than moved here.
Over the year, there were 1,393 births and 1,004 deaths in the council area, accounting for a natural population growth of 389.
However, internal migration accounted for a loss of 218 people, while external immigration saw 129 people coming here.
As a result, taking in ‘other’ factors also, there was a drop of 60 in the local population over the year, accounting for a fall of 0.1 percent.
The local area was one of only three Council districts to see a fall in population, with Derry and Strabane also seeing a decrease of 0.1 percent, and Belfast seeing its population fall by 0.3 percent.
The good news is, while the population fell over the year, this only a recent trend. Over the decade it has been rising, jumping from 3.9 percent since 2010, with an average rise of 0.4 percent.
Also, since the available figures only go up as far as mid-2020, it remains to be seen what extent the pandemic and its shift towards working from home will have on the locally population.
If the estimates of local estate agents are anything to go by, Covid may very well have helped halt the trend of more people leaving than moving to the county.
Indeed, the local population is predicted to grow again in the years ahead.
The NISRA statisticians have predicted that by 2033 the local population will have risen by 2.6 percent, on 2018 levels, to 120,000.
Similarly, it is predicted that by 2041 the number of households in the local area will jump by 10.5 percent on 2016 figures.
Wedding bells
The 2020 Registrar General’s Annual Report also contained details of the state of love and romance in Fermanagh last year, when despite the strict Covid measures in place, over 300 local couples still tied the knot.
Of those 301 marriages in the Fermanagh and Omagh area, 94 were Catholic, 13 were Presbyterian, 40 Church of Ireland, 12 were Methodist, 16 other denominations, and 125 civil marriages.
While religious buildings and registrar’s offices were by far the most popular venues, with regard other locations a number of Fermanagh attractions were among the most popular in the North for couples.
In the year to December last, there were 21 marriages at Lusty Beg Island, making it the ninth most popular ‘other’ wedding location in the North, the most popular being Clandboye Lodge in Bangor. Other local locations included Enniskillen Castle, which had 16 weddings, and the Lough Erne Resort with 10 weddings.
Meanwhile, the report also revealed there were 149 divorcees in the area, 77 men and 72 women, in 2020.

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