Stats the way to do it: Foster

Date published: 20 October 2015

Finance Minister Arlene Foster has said that statistics and research are improving the lives of people in Northern Ireland.

The Minister was speaking on World Statistics Day, which is themed ‘better data, better lives’.

The Minister said: “The difference that reliable, comprehensive statistics and data make to our lives cannot be underestimated. They show us trends in health, the economy and housing. They tell us how us how our population is developing and give us information on the needs of our communities.

“Most importantly, statistics help us to make informed decisions about how we deliver our public services. Reliable data allow us to plan ahead and develop policies that are targeted and meet the needs of the population. They also allow us to be more innovative and look at how we can do things better to ultimately improve the lives of people living in Northern Ireland. Our statisticians should be celebrated today for the part they play in achieving this.”

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) is responsible for producing official statistics and social research on Northern Ireland.

Some statistics produced by NISRA include:

  • The Northern Ireland population at 30 June 2014 is estimated to be 1.84 million people.
  • The population has increased by 10,800 people (0.6%) from mid-2013 to mid-2014.
  • According to the 2011 Census, 1.8% (32,400) of the usually resident population of Northern Ireland belonged to minority ethnic groups, more than double the proportion in 2001 (0.8%).
  • In 2014 there were 24,394 births, 14,678 deaths and 8,550 marriages.
  • The number of people aged 85 and over at 30 June 2014 was 34,400. The growth of the population aged 85 and over is six times that of the population aged under 85 (6.9%).
  • The number one visitor attraction in 2014 was the Giant’s Causeway, with 788,000 visitors.
  • The proportion of smokers has fallen in the last decade from 26% in 2004/05 to 22% in 2013/14.
  • In 2013-14 the average (median) household income in Northern Ireland, before housing costs, was £404 per week or £21,100 per year. This represents a small decrease of approximately 1% from the previous year.
  • Quarter 2 results for the Northern Ireland Composite Economic Index (published on 15 October 2015) show that the Index has increased by 1.3% over the year in real terms.
  • Annual output also increased by 1.3% compared to the previous four quarters.
  • 98% of drivers wear seat belt and 95% of back seat passengers.


Notes to editors: 

1. This is the second UN World Statistics Day. The first took place in 2010.

2. A ‘Back to the Future’ event will be held at NISRA Headquarters to celebrate World Statistics Day. This will give year 13 and 14 pupils interested in pursuing a career in statistics an opportunity to learn about the role of statistics and find out about the changes that have taken place in the world of statistics in the past 30 years.

3. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance and Personnel Communications Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or Tel: 028 90816895. Out of Office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.


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