Overview of Northern Ireland business

Demographics of Northern Ireland


Northern Ireland's population is one of the youngest in Europe, with 55 per cent of the population under the age of 40. This young population and can offer you a skilled, highly educated labour market.

Belfast is the capital and largest city. It is home to 268,000 people (NI Census 2011). Other Council areas in NI include: 

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
  • Ards and North Down Borough Council
  • Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council
  • Belfast City Council
  • Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
  • Derry City and Strabane District Council
  • Fermanagh and Omagh District Council
  • Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council
  • Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
  • Mid Ulster District Council
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Find your local council in NI.

Economic figures in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the local labour market continues to improve throughout 2019-20.  Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) provide information on the Northern Ireland labour market.

The Department for the Economy (DfE) also provide a monthly economic update on Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland exports

A number of industries in Northern Ireland have been identified as having high potential to trade in services internationally, ie export outside the UK. The breakdown of these services is as follows (DfE, Exporting NI Services Study):

  • computer & related activities
  • research & development
  • market research
  • business & management consultancy
  • architectural & engineering
  • technical testing & analysis
  • advertising
  • creative entertainment

Total sales by companies in Northern Ireland (NI) were estimated to be worth £68.4 billion in 2018, an increase of 3.5 per cent (£2.3 billion) over the calendar year (Northern Ireland Broad Economy Sales and Exports Statistics 2018 - published 19 December 2019).

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) provides further information on economy sales and exports statistics.

  • Invest NI Business Information Centre
    028 9069 8135