The island’s population has bounced back - but the number of over-65s has reached record levels.

Between the censuses of 2011 and 2016, the population of the Isle of Man fell from 84,497 to 83,314, a decline of 1,183 (1.4%).

However, since 2016, according to latest government estimates, the population has risen to 84,453 and is now just 44 short of the 2011 total.

But data crunched by Manx Population Atlas author Paul Craine show that the demographic structure over this period has changed considerably.

The percentage of the population aged over 65 has now risen to a record 21.62%. Our population, already one of the oldest in the world, continues to age.

The under-65 population, shown by the red line on the graph above, fell by almost 3,500 over a five-year period after 2011 and has ’flat-lined’ since the 2016 Census.

This age group is still estimated to be 3,315 lower than in 2011 - the number of people aged under 65 years was largely unchanged in the first three months of 2020, falling by only three to 66,196.

In contrast, the number of people aged over 65, shown by the blue line on the graph, is estimated to have increased every year since 2011 rising by a further 52 in the first quarter of 2020 to reach 18,257.

The over-65 population is now estimated to be 3,271 higher than the 2011 Census figure.

Mr Craine said: ’The population of the Isle of Man has become vulnerable over the past decade.

’It is vulnerable to the continued net emigration of young adults, to greater ageing of the population and to prolonged natural population decline (with a growing gap between deaths and births).

’In turn these issues will undoubtedly impact on the economy, on taxation and government expenditure, on the size of the working population, on the costs of healthcare and pensions, on the value of residential properties and on the ability of the Isle of Man to attract inward investment.’

Mr Craine said these vulnerabilities are likely to be heightened by the impact of Covid-19.

He said population change must be monitored in valid and reliable ways. ’The 2021 Census is now less than one year away and will provide both a very real test of the population estimates,’ he said.