Belfast Population 2021

634,594
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Belfast's 2021 population is now estimated at 634,594. In 1950, the population of Belfast was 445,879. Belfast has grown by 3,962 since 2015, which represents a 0.63% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Belfast, which typically includes Belfast's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Belfast is the administrative capital of Northern Island and the largest city. The majority of Belfast is located in County Antrim, but some of South and East Belfast are located on County Down. Belfast is the 15th largest city in the United Kingdom and the second-largest on the island of Ireland with an estimated 2014 population of 295,000.

Population Density

While the population of the city proper is 295,000, the Belfast Metropolitan Area is home to 585,000 people. This makes it the 15th largest city in the U.K. and the 11th largest conurbation. Belfast is much more densely populated than Northern Ireland as a whole with a population density nearing 6,500 people per square mile (2,500 per square kilometer). The area that Belfast covers is approximately 115 square kilometers.

Belfast Demographics

There have been many minority communities in Belfast for about 80 years. The largest ethnic minority groups in Belfast are Chinese and Irish Travellers. There have been many Eastern European immigrants moving to the city in recent years with the expansion of the European Union, however. More than 2% of the population belongs to an ethnic minority, with more than 50% living in south Belfast.

In April 2014, it was reported that Catholics now outnumber Protestants in Belfast. The Catholic population tends to be younger and has grown to 49% of the population while the Protestant population tends to be older, dropping to 42% this year.

The inner city population is a mix of single young people, students, and elderly citizens, with most families living in the suburbs. While there has been peace for some time, most of Belfast still shows signs of the division in Northern Ireland, with many areas very segregated by religion, politics, and ethnicity. Areas are often divided as Catholic or Republic, or Protestant or Loyalist.

Belfast Population Growth

Belfast experienced significant growth in the late 1880s through the beginning of the 20th century, doubling between 1831 and 1851. Most of this early growth was due to migration as more people were attracted by industrialization and jobs in mills, shipyards, and engineering.

Belfast has grown steadily in recent years, rising from 276,000 people in 2001 to 295,000 in 2014. The city grew fastest during the first half of the 20th century, peaking in 1971 at almost 600,000 people in the urban area. Over the past 40 years, the inner city numbers have dropped as more people move to the Greater Belfast suburbs. In 1926, 90% of Belfast residents lived in the Core City, a share that was cut in half by 1991.

In 2012, Northern Ireland reached a population of almost 1.83 million. It has been said that Belfast must double its population at least to be able to take advantage of opportunities for growth in tourism, technology, and energy, as it is one of the few cities on the island of Ireland that has a lower population today than it did 170 years ago.

Belfast Population 2021

Year Population Growth Rate Growth
2035696,5370.60%4,186
2034692,3510.62%4,240
2033688,1110.63%4,304
2032683,8070.64%4,379
2031679,4280.66%4,458
2030674,9700.68%4,529
2029670,4410.69%4,586
2028665,8550.70%4,625
2027661,2300.71%4,637
2026656,5930.71%4,611
2025651,9820.70%4,544
2024647,4380.69%4,433
2023643,0050.67%4,288
2022638,7170.65%4,123
2021634,5940.63%3,962
2020630,6320.62%3,872
2019626,7600.60%3,731
2018623,0290.59%3,635
2017619,3940.59%3,614
2016615,7800.59%3,593
2015612,1870.59%3,566
2014608,6210.59%3,546
2013605,0750.59%3,520
2012601,5550.59%3,510
2011598,0450.38%2,264
2010595,7810.31%1,822
2009593,9590.31%1,814
2008592,1450.31%1,813
2007590,3320.31%1,806
2006588,5260.31%1,800
2005586,7260.31%1,791
2004584,9350.31%1,792
2003583,1430.31%1,783
2002581,3600.31%1,778
2001579,5821.43%8,164
2000571,4181.67%9,383
1999562,0351.67%9,217
1998552,8181.67%9,065
1997543,7531.66%8,905
1996534,8481.67%8,783
1995526,0651.67%8,627
1994517,4381.67%8,485
1993508,9531.66%8,335
1992500,6181.67%8,220
1991492,3981.02%4,981
1990487,4170.82%3,968
1989483,4490.82%3,930
1988479,5190.82%3,909
1987475,6100.82%3,872
1986471,7380.82%3,840
1985467,8980.82%3,804
1984464,0940.82%3,783
1983460,3110.82%3,747
1982456,5640.82%3,717
1981452,8470.82%3,681
1980449,1660.82%3,661
1979445,5050.82%3,627
1978441,8780.82%3,597
1977438,2810.82%3,563
1976434,7180.82%3,544
1975431,1740.82%3,510
1974427,6640.82%3,481
1973424,1830.82%3,449
1972420,7340.82%3,429
1971417,3050.17%693
1970416,6120.02%83
1969416,5290.02%82
1968416,4470.02%82
1967416,3650.02%82
1966416,2830.02%83
1965416,2000.02%82
1964416,1180.02%82
1963416,0360.02%82
1962415,9540.02%82
1961415,872-0.52%-2,160
1960418,032-0.64%-2,708
1959420,740-0.64%-2,722
1958423,462-0.64%-2,739
1957426,201-0.64%-2,754
1956428,955-0.64%-2,778
1955431,733-0.64%-2,793
1954434,526-0.64%-2,811
1953437,337-0.64%-2,825
1952440,162-0.64%-2,851
1951443,013-0.64%-2,866
1950445,8790.00%

Belfast Population Data (Urban Area)

Name 2021 Population 2021 Growth
London9,425,6221.31%
Manchester2,750,1200.73%
Birmingham2,626,3740.73%
West Yorkshire1,901,9470.68%
Glasgow1,680,6690.44%
Southampton935,8680.86%
Liverpool906,4430.53%
Newcastle Upon Tyne813,8070.53%
Nottingham794,0080.81%
Sheffield735,2920.70%
Bristol693,5521.07%
Belfast634,5940.63%
Brighton612,1590.87%
Leicester556,9300.86%
Edinburgh542,5991.08%
Bournemouth510,0210.86%
Cardiff481,0820.72%
Coventry432,3861.60%
Middlesbrough388,9690.41%
Stoke On Trent387,7850.46%

Other Cities in United Kingdom

  1. Belfast City Council - Belfast key facts and figures
  2. Northern Ireland Assembly - New and Shifting Populations in Belfast: Analysis and Impact
  3. Belfast City Council - Population - Population - Local Development Plan 2020-2035
  4. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

Sources