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National Population Estimates: At 30 June 2014
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  14 August 2014
Commentary

 

This information release contains:

  • estimates of the new 2013-base population at 30 June 2013 by age and sex, by subnational area, and by ethnic group
  • provisional estimates of the resident population of New Zealand at 30 June 2014
  • revised quarterly estimates of the resident population of New Zealand from September 2006 to March 2014.

New 2013-base population

This is the first release of population estimates based on the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings. All estimates in this release at 30 June 2013 and beyond use the 2013-base estimated resident population. We have also revised quarterly national estimates between 2006 and 2013 following the 2013 Census to provide a consistent time series.

Previously published estimates used the 2006 Census as their base. After a census, Statistics New Zealand updates the estimated resident population to take account of the latest information about the population. This is known as re-basing.

We derived the 2013-base estimated resident population using the 2013 census usually resident population counts adjusted for:

  • people missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount) based on the 2013 Post-enumeration survey
  • residents temporarily overseas on census night
  • births, deaths, and net migration between census night and 30 June 2013
  • reconciliation with demographic estimates for ages 0–9 years.
 Base estimated resident population at 30 June 2013
 Census usually resident population count at 5 March 2013  4,242,048
 Net census undercount  +104,200
 Residents temporarily overseas on census night  +81,700
 Population change between 5 March and 30 June  +9,300
 Demographic reconciliation (0–9 years)  +4,800
 Estimated resident population at 30 June 2013  4,442,100

See Estimated resident population 2013: data sources and methods for more information on the methods used to derive the 2013-base estimated resident population.

The estimated resident population at 30 June 2013 is the base for estimates labelled '2013-base'. Similarly, estimates labelled '2006-base' are based on the 2006 estimated resident population. By comparing the 2013 and 2006-base estimates, at June 2013, we can assess the effect of the new base and reflect on the accuracy of the intercensal estimates.

Uncertainty is inherent in the estimation process we use to produce the population estimates because no one data source accurately measures all population change from year to year. Uncertainty generally increases the further the population estimates are from their census base starting point, and as they are broken down by age, sex, and geographic area.

Intercensal change between 2006 and 2013

The estimated resident population of New Zealand at 30 June 2013 was 4,442,100. This represents an increase of 257,500 since 30 June 2006, or an average annual increase over the seven years of 36,800 (0.8 percent). This is considerably less than the average annual increase of 60,800 (1.5 percent) in the five years between 2001 and 2006. The higher rate of growth in that period was driven by higher levels of net migration, with an annual average gain of 23,300 between 2001 and 2006, compared with 7,500 in the seven years between 2006 and 2013.

The table below shows the annual components of change for each of the last three intercensal periods. Natural increase and net migration are based on birth and death registrations, and international travel and migration data, respectively. Intercensal discrepancy is the difference between population estimates produced before the census and population estimates rebased after the census. It is a measure of the accuracy of population estimates, and is the net combined effect of various factors including inaccuracies in:

  • the census counts at the beginning and end of the period
  • the adjustments to derive population estimates (from census counts) at the beginning and end of the period
  • the components of population change (births, deaths, migration) during the period.
 Average annual components of change 1996–2013
 Component Period (30 June to 30 June) 
 1996–2001 2001–06 2006–13 
 Natural increase (births less deaths) 29,600 28,800 34,000
 Net migration -2,600 23,300 7,500
 Intercensal discrepancy(1) 2,800 8,700 -4,700
 Total population change 29,700 60,800 36,800
 1. The difference between population estimates produced before the census and population estimates rebased after the census.

The average annual intercensal discrepancy between 2006 and 2013 was -4,700, indicating that the annual population change between the 2006 and 2013-base populations was 4,700 less than that implied by natural increase and net migration. This compares with an annual intercensal discrepancy of 8,700 between 2001 and 2006, and of 2,800 between 1996 and 2001 (in both cases natural increase plus net migration underestimated the population change).

An interactive map comparing the 2001, 2006, and 2013 estimated resident populations will be released on our website later this year. The map will include the proportions of the total population for broad age groups and five major ethnic populations by regional council area, territorial authority area, Auckland local board area, and area unit.

National ethnic population estimates at 30 June 2013

We have also produced estimates of the resident population at 30 June 2013 for five major ethnic groups. Ethnic population estimates are currently produced only for these broad ethnic groups and only in census years, with the exception of national Māori population estimates.

This limited availability reflects the difficulties in estimating ethnic populations, which include estimating net migration of ethnic populations and estimating inter-ethnic mobility (people changing ethnic identification).

Between 2006 and 2013:

  • the 'European or Other (including New Zealander)' ethnic population increased 3 percent (99,000) to 3,312,100
  • the Māori ethnic population increased 11 percent (68,000) to 692,300
  • the Asian ethnic population increased 34 percent (137,000) to 541,300
  • the Pacific ethnic population increased 14 percent (43,000) to 344,400
  • the MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African) ethnic population grew 38 percent (15,000) to 53,100.
Population of major ethnic groups 2001, 2006, 2013(1)
Ethnic population  Estimated resident population at 30 June Average annual population change (percent)(2)
 2001 2006 2013 2001–06 2006–13
 European or Other(3) 3,074,000 3,213,300 3,312,100  0.9  0.4
 Māori  585,900 624,300 692,300  1.3  1.5
 Asian 272,500 404,400 541,300  8.2  4.3
 Pacific 261,800 301,600 344,400  2.9  1.9
 Middle Eastern/Latin American/African 27,600 38,600 53,100  6.9  4.7
 Total population(1) 3,880,500 4,184,600 4,442,100  1.5  0.9

1. People who identify with more than one ethnicity are included in each ethnic population that they identify with. Therefore individual ethnic populations do not sum to the total population.

2. Calculated as constant rate of annual population change over each period.

3. Includes anyone identifying with either a European ethnicity or Other ethnicity (including New Zealander).

The ethnic population estimates are our best available measure of the size, structure, and geographic location of these broad ethnic populations. Each adjustment we applied to the census counts captures the differences for each ethnic population by age, sex, and geographic location.

See Estimated resident population 2013: data sources and methods for more information.

See NZ.Stat for national and subnational ethnic populations by age and sex at 30 June 2013. 

Comparison of 2006-base and 2013-base estimates

The 2013-base estimated resident population at 30 June 2013 (4,442,100) was 29,000 less than the 2006-base estimated resident population at the same date. This equates to a 0.7 percent revision relative to the 2013-base estimates. According to the 2006-base estimates, the population of New Zealand grew 6.8 percent between 2006 and 2013, while the new 2013-base estimates show growth of 6.2 percent over the same period.

We cannot attribute these differences to any one particular factor. Instead they reflect the uncertainty that exists in each of the data sources involved in producing population estimates.

A fuller assessment of uncertainty in the 2013-base estimated resident population is planned for publication at a later date.

Some ages more accurately estimated than others

The rolled-forward 2006-base estimates were higher than the new 2013-base estimates in some age groups and lower in others. The estimate for those aged 0–14 years was around 18,000 lower, and for those aged 40–64 years around 15,000 lower, in the previously published 2006-base estimates at 30 June 2013. In contrast, the 2006-base estimate for those aged 15–39 was overestimated by 53,000, and for those aged 65+ by 9,000. The graph shows the differences by single year of age.

Graph, Comparison of 2006-base and 2013-base estimated resident population by single year of age at 30 June 2013.

The larger revisions at ages 15–39 in particular reflect that population estimates for these ages have the most uncertainty. This uncertainty in turn reflects that these ages tend to have the highest rates of net census undercount, residents temporarily overseas on census night, and higher migration flows in general.

The difference between the 2006-base and 2013-base estimates for June 2013 was larger for males than for females. In the 2006-base estimates, males were overestimated by 1.3 percent of the 2013-base estimates, while females were underestimated by less than 0.1 percent.

Some areas more accurately estimated than others

In addition to the elements of uncertainty at a national level, estimates of subnational areas are also subject to uncertainty around movements between areas within New Zealand.

All 2006-base estimates for regional council areas were within 5 percent of the 2013-base estimated resident population. Five of the 67 territorial authorities were more than 5 percent away from the 2013-base estimates, with the largest discrepancies being in Carterton (underestimated by 9 percent) and Kaipara (underestimated by 7 percent).

The 2006-base estimated resident population for Auckland was 36,200 (2.4 percent) higher than the 2013-base estimate.

Within the Canterbury region, Christchurch city was overestimated in the 2006-base estimates by 9,300 (2.5 percent) while all other Canterbury territorial authorities were underestimated, including Selwyn by 2,600 (5.8 percent) and Waimakariri by 1,500 (3.0 percent).

A fuller assessment of the accuracy of population estimates is planned for publication at a later date.

Population growth highest since 2003

The New Zealand estimated resident population grew by 67,800 (1.5 percent) in the year to June 2014. This was the highest annual increase since 2003, and considerably higher than the 38,000 increase in the previous year. Population growth in the June 2014 year was due to a natural increase (births less deaths) of 29,500 and a net migration gain of 38,300. This is also the highest gain from net migration in a June year since 2003 and more than 30,000 higher than in the year to June 2013 (7,900). Natural increase, on the other hand, was the lowest since 2005, mainly due to a smaller number of births than in previous years. 

Graph, Components of annual population change 1994–2014.

Changing age structure evident

The age structure of New Zealand’s population has changed considerably over the last two decades. At 30 June 2014:

  • Children (aged 0–14 years) accounted for 20 percent (911,300) of the population, down from 23 percent in 1994. Despite this, the number of children has been increasing (an average of 0.3 percent each year between 2006 and 2014).
  • The younger working-age population (aged 15–39 years) accounted for 33 percent (1,481,100) of the population, down from 39 percent in 1994. This was the only age group to reduce in size between 2006 and 2013 (average of -0.1 percent a year). However, in the June 2014 year the 15–39 age group increased by 28,800 (2.0 percent) due to its high level of migration. This meant the younger working-age population was slightly larger than the older working-age population at 30 June 2014.
  • The older working-age population (aged 40–64 years) accounted for 33 percent (1,467,100) of the population, up from 26 percent in 1994.  Population growth was slightly lower in the year to June 2014 (0.8 percent) for this age group than in previous years (average of 1.5 percent a year between 2006 and 2013).
  • The population aged 65 years and over accounted for 14 percent (650,400) of the population, up from 11 percent in 1994. This age group has been consistently the fastest growing of the four broad age groups in recent years, growing an average of 2.9 percent a year between 2006 and 2013, and 3.9 percent in the June 2014 year.

 

Graph, Population by broad age groups 1994–2014. Graph, Share of population by broad age group 1994–2014.  

Revised quarterly national estimates 2006–14 now available

All national population estimates from September 2006 onwards were revised as part of this release. This ensures there is now a consistent time series between the 2006 and 2013-base populations. These revised estimates are available in Infoshare

Revised subnational population estimates for 2007–12 will be available in October 2014. Revised estimates of the Māori ethnic population will be available in November 2014.

 

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the 'Downloads' box.

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