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Population movement

People staying at same address longer

In 2013, 48.6 percent of people aged five years and over in greater Christchurch lived at the same address at the 2013 Census as they did five years earlier (2008). This compares with 41.1 percent living at the same address at the 2006 Census as they did five years earlier (2001). 

Percent of population at the same address as five years earlier
For people aged five years and over
2006 and 2013 Censuses
Area  2006 Census 2013 Census
Percent at same address
Auckland 38.7 47.8
Wellington area 43.6 50.8
Greater Christchurch 41.1 48.6
New Zealand 41.1 49.4
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Most people remain in the same area

Overall, 89.2 percent of people who lived in greater Christchurch in 2008 still lived there in 2013.

In greater Christchurch, the percentages of people who lived in the same territorial authority in 2008 as in 2013 were:

  • Christchurch city – 83.9 percent
  • Waimakariri district – 81.7 percent
  • Selwyn district – 79.1.percent.

Of the people who lived in greater Christchurch in 2008 but elsewhere in New Zealand in 2013:

  • 19,437 lived in the North Island
  • 5,802 lived in other areas of Canterbury
  • 12,591 lived elsewhere in the South Island. 
Area of usual residence (2013)
By greater Christchurch as area of usual residence five years earlier (2008)
2013 Census
Destination residence at 2013 Census in 2008 Source area of residence
Waimakariri district Christchurch city Selwyn district Total greater Christchurch
North Island 1,152 17,049 1,236 19,437
Rest of South Island  1,248 10,344 1,002 12,591
Waimakariri district  30,849 6,504 312 37,668
Christchurch city 3,171 237,984 3,048 244,206
Selwyn district 345 7,500 23,757 31,599
Rest of Canterbury 981 4,131 690 5,802
Source: Statistics New Zealand

High population decline in the most damaged areas

Within central Christchurch city (the four avenues), there was a 35.9 percent decrease in residents between the 2006 Census and the 2013 Census (down from 7,653 people to 4,902).

There was a 36.3 percent decrease in the population of the most damaged red zone areas in the east of Christchurch city (down from 33,255 to 21,195).

There was a 59.3 percent decrease in the number of residents usually living in Kaiapoi East (part of the Waimakariri district), (down from 2,256 to 918).

Two-thirds who moved from most damaged areas remain in same territorial authority

Of those who lived in the four avenues in 2008, were at a different address at the 2013 Census, and had been there for two years or less (that is, had moved since the earthquakes):

  • 69.5 percent remained in greater Christchurch
  • 64.6 percent remained in Christchurch city
  • 18.4 percent had moved to the North Island.

Of those who lived in Kaiapoi East, Courtenay, or Pines-Kairaki Beach in 2008 (what would become the most damaged areas of Waimakariri district in the quakes), were at a different address at the 2013 Census, and had been there for two years or less:

  • 85.9 percent remained in greater Christchurch
  • 65.9 percent remained in Waimakariri district
  • 3.9 percent moved to the North Island.

A greater percentage of people who lived in the four avenues and the most damaged areas of the Port Hills in 2008 had moved away from greater Christchurch by the 2013 Census than those who lived in the most damaged areas of Christchurch city and Waimakariri district. Note that this information is only for those present in New Zealand on census night. We don't have information on those who left the country.

At current usual residence (2013) for two years or less
By selected area of usual residence five years earlier (2008) for greater Christchurch
2013 Census
Destination residence at 2013 Census Source area of residence in 2008 Source area of residence in 2008
Four avenues Red zone(1)  Port Hills Waimakariri district(2)
Number Percent  Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
North Island   450  18.4 1,173 8.2 528 13.5 72 3.9
Rest of South Island    228  9.3  930 6.5 387 9.9 93 5.0
Waimakariri district 60  2.4  1,380 9.7 120 3.1 1,215 65.9
Christchurch city 1,584  64.6 9,573 67 2,616 66.8 315 17.1
Selwyn district 57 2.3 699 4.9 132 3.4  54 2.9
Rest of Canterbury 69 2.8 534 3.7  132 3.4 93 5.0
Total 2,451 100  14,286 100 3,915 100 1,845 100

1. This does not correspond to the residential red zone defined by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). See a definition of the most damaged red zone areas
2. Note that of Waimakariri district’s three most damaged areas (Kaiapoi East, Courtenay, and Pines-Kairaki Beach) Kaiapoi East was the only one to have a decrease of over 200 dwellings between 2006 and 2013.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Movement from Christchurch city to surrounding urban areas on the rise

Overall, 10,074 people who lived in Christchurch city in 2008 were at an address in Selwyn or Waimakariri districts at the 2013 Census, and had been there for two years or less. Of these:

  • 1,548 were in Rangiora
  • 1,425 were in Rolleston
  • 762 were in Kaiapoi.
At current greater Christchurch usual residence (2013) for two years or less
For people living in Christchurch city five years earlier (2008)
2013 Census
Destination greater Christchurch residence at 2013 Census Number at current residence for two years or less Percent of total population(1) at 2013 Census
Rangiora 1,548 10.3
Rolleston  1,425 14.9
Lincoln 474 12.1
Pegasus 378 36.0
Woodend 303 11.0
Oxford   159 8.3
Leeston  144 9.6
Darfield 138 7.1

1. Total census usually resident population count of each area.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Fall in migration to greater Christchurch from other areas

Of those who lived outside greater Christchurch in 2008 but had moved there by 2013, most came from:

  • Auckland – 5,454 people
  • Dunedin city – 2,256 people
  • Wellington city– 1,752 people
  • Ashburton district – 1,674 people.

These gains to greater Christchurch were all less than the gains from the same areas between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses.

 Map, People who moved to greater Christchurch from other New Zealand territorial authorities, 2013 Census.

More people move from greater Christchurch to Auckland

Of those who lived in greater Christchurch in 2008 but had moved away by the 2013 Census, most people moved to:

  • Auckland – 8,139 people
  • Dunedin city – 3,300 people
  • Wellington city – 2,754 people
  • Ashburton district – 1,863 people.

These losses from greater Christchurch were all more than the losses to the same areas between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses.

Map, People who moved from greater Christchurch to other New Zealand territorial authorities, 2013 Census.

Migration of more than 1,000 people to and from territorial authority areas
For greater Christchurch
2013 Census
Moved from greater Christchurch Moved to greater Christchurch
Destination territorial authority area of residence at 2013 Census Number Source territorial authority area of residence in 2008 Number
Auckland 8,139 Auckland 5,454
Dunedin city 3,300 Dunedin city 2,256
Wellington city 2,754 Wellington city 1,752
Ashburton district 1,863 Ashburton district 1,674
Timaru district 1,593 Timaru district 1,569
Nelson city 1,560 Marlborough district 1,509
Hurunui district 1,533 Hurunui district  1,167
Marlborough district 1,485 Invercargill city 1,116
Tasman district 1,389 Nelson city 1,062
Source: Statistics New Zealand
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