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New Zealand population ageing and becoming more ethnically diverse

Image, 2013 census banner.

Results from the 2013 Census show the New Zealand population is getting older and more ethnically diverse, while the number of dwellings is increasing and the rate of home ownership is declining, Statistics New Zealand said today.

“The New Zealand population is ageing, with the latest census results showing the median age of the population is 38 years, just over two years older than at the last census seven years ago,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.

Although the overall population was higher in 2013, at 4,242,048 people (up 214,101), there were fewer children (under 15 years) than in 2006. Meanwhile, the number of people aged 50–69 years showed a large increase.

“As well as being older, the New Zealand population is also now more diverse, with an increasing Asian population, in particular,” Ms MacPherson said.

Almost 1 out of 8 people living in New Zealand are Asian, up from about 1 in 11 in 2006. Nearly two-thirds of Asian people (307,233) live in the Auckland region, where over 1 in 5 people are of Asian ethnicity.

The latest census results also show that Hindi is now the fourth most common language in New Zealand, after English, Māori, and Samoan.

The 2013 Census results show that the total number of dwellings (occupied and unoccupied) increased by just over 118,000 since 2006, to reach over 1.7 million. Nearly 30 percent of this increase was in the Auckland region.

While there are more dwellings, a lower proportion of households own their homes. “The rate of home ownership fell to just under 65 percent at the 2013 Census, compared with almost 67 percent at the 2006 Census,” Ms MacPherson said.

The number of unoccupied dwellings increased sharply since 2006, up more than 26,000 (16.4 percent). “Almost 40 percent of this increase was in Canterbury, probably because of people leaving their dwellings after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes,” Ms MacPherson said.

This media release uses information from:

These two publications give you information about a variety of demographic, social, and economic subjects at a national level. Selected subjects are available by region, territorial authority area, and Auckland local board area.

Other 2013 Census products released today are:


For media queries, contact:
Colin Marshall, Senior Media Advisor
Wellington  04 931 4600

Published 3 December 2013

Authorised by:
Liz MacPherson
Government Statistician


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