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

Period-specific information
This section contains information that has changed since the last release.

General information
This section contains information that does not change between releases.

Period-specific information

National population estimates – revised

We revised the quarterly national population estimates from 30 September 2006 to 31 March 2014 following results from the 2013 Census and derivation of the 2013-base estimated resident population.

See Infoshare for the revised quarterly estimates, and provisional population estimates at 30 June 2014 for New Zealand.

Provisional population estimates at 30 September 2014 for New Zealand will be available on 12 November 2014.

Subnational population estimates – revised

Annual subnational population estimates at 30 June 2013 for regional council areas, territorial authority areas, Auckland local board areas, and area units were revised following results from the 2013 Census and derivation of the 2013-base estimated resident population.

See NZ.Stat for the revised subnational estimates.

On 22 October 2014, revised population estimates at 30 June 2007–12 for these subnational areas will be available. We will also release provisional population estimates at 30 June 2014 for regional council areas, territorial authority areas, and Auckland local board areas on this date.

On 19 November 2014, final population estimates at 30 June 2014 for regional council areas, territorial authority areas, and Auckland local board areas will be available in NZ.Stat.

Ethnic population estimates – new

See NZ.Stat for national and subnational population estimates at 30 June 2013 for major ethnic groups. The ethnic groups are:
1. European or Other (including New Zealander)
2. Māori
3. Pacific
4. Asian
5. Middle Eastern/Latin American/African (MELAA).

Note: these ethnic groups are not mutually exclusive because people can and do identify with more than one ethnicity. People who identify with more than one ethnicity are included in each ethnic group they identify with.

The 'European or Other (including New Zealander)' group includes people who belong to the 'European' or 'Other’ ethnic groups defined in Level 1 of the Standard Classification of Ethnicity 2005. If a person belongs to both the 'European' and 'Other ethnicity' groups, they are counted only once. Almost all people in the 'Other ethnicity' group belong to the 'New Zealander' subgroup.

General information

Base population

The estimated resident population at 30 June 2013 forms the base population for deriving post-censal population estimates.

The estimated resident population of New Zealand at 30 June 2013 (4.442 million) is derived from the 2013 census usually resident count, 5 March 2013 (4.242 million), with adjustments for:
  • residents missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount) (+104,200)
  • residents temporarily overseas on census night (+81,700)
  • births, deaths, and net migration between census night and 30 June 2013 (+9,300) 
  • reconciliation with demographic estimates at ages 0–9 years (+4,800).

Quarterly national population estimates from September 2013 onwards are derived by updating the estimated resident population at 30 June 2013 for births, deaths, and net migration during the following period. 

Net census undercount
Given the size and complexity of the census, it is inevitable that some people will be missed, and some people will be counted more than once. Typically in New Zealand, more people are missed than are counted more than once. Net census undercount is modelled by age, sex, major ethnic group, and geographic area using the results of the 2013 Post-enumeration survey.

Residents temporarily overseas 
Residents temporarily overseas (RTOs) are people away from New Zealand for a period of less than one year. They are not included in the census usually resident population counts. However, it makes sense to include these people in the population estimates because they are away for a short period of time and are usually living in New Zealand. The numbers of civilian RTOs is estimated using international travel and migration data by age and sex, while the numbers of military RTOs are supplied by New Zealand Defence Force. Ethnicity and geographic location for each RTO are then imputed using multiple data sources, including census and international travel and migration information.

Population change between census night and 30 June
Between census date and the estimated resident population reference date, 30 June 2013, the population will have changed due to both natural increase (the difference between births and deaths) and net migration (the difference between those leaving an area and those arriving). 

Demographic reconciliation
Demographic estimates of population aged 0-9 years at the national level were derived from births, deaths and international travel and migration data, independently of census. At the national level the demographic estimates are considered more accurate than census-based estimates because birth and death registrations, and international travel and migration data, currently have virtually complete coverage. By comparison, the accuracy of census coverage at individual ages cannot be reliably estimated from post-enumeration surveys because of the limitations of sample size and associated sampling errors. However, beyond ages 0-9 years the demographic estimates become increasingly susceptible to migration category jumping – migrants changing their status because of differences between intended and actual length of stay/absence as reported on the passenger arrival/departure cards. The ratio of demographic estimates to census-based estimates at the national level was used to weight subnational and ethnic population estimates at ages 0-9 years.

See Estimated resident population 2013: Data sources and methods for more information about the adjustments.

Accuracy of the data

Official national population estimates give the best available measure of how many people usually live in New Zealand. We produce national population estimates using a component methodology, where a base population is updated for the components of population change (births, deaths, and international migration).

All population estimates have some uncertainty around them. Generally, the uncertainty associated with population estimates increases as the estimates move further away from the base (starting point). Uncertainty also increases as population estimates are disaggregated (eg by age or subnationally).

The uncertainty is the net combined effect of:

  • uncertainty in the census-based estimates of the population at 30 June of the current or previous census year, including uncertainty in the census counts (eg from respondent errors or census processing) and uncertainty in the adjustments (eg for net census undercount and residents temporarily overseas)
  • uncertainty in the estimates of any of the components of population change (births, deaths, and migration) since the previous census.

It is not possible to verify the ongoing accuracy of current national population estimates, as no other independent or authoritative measure of the resident population exists. However, we can derive retrospective measures of accuracy following the periodic Census of Population and Dwellings.

  • Following the 2013 Census, we revised national population estimates at 30 June 2013 down by 29,000 (0.7 percent relative to revised estimate).
  • Following the 2006 Census, we revised national population estimates at 30 June 2006 up by 44,000 (1.0 percent).

International migration estimates

International migration statistics are based on electronic arrival and departure records supplied to Statistics NZ for each international passenger. All arrivals and departures are processed so they can be allocated to one of three passenger types: overseas visitors, New Zealand-resident travellers, and permanent and long-term migrants. The net number of permanent and long-term migrants provides the estimate of international migration that we use in deriving the national population estimates.

Uncertainty arises due to changes in passenger intentions; a person may change their intentions after their arrival or departure, which may mean the recorded passenger type becomes incorrect.
We do not revise published statistics to adjust for such changes.

Birth and death estimates

There is some uncertainty associated with birth and death data. We use birth and death registrations to estimate the number of births and deaths that occurred during each quarter. Not all births and deaths that occur in a quarter are registered by the end of the quarter, and this delay in registration is taken into account when estimating the number of births and deaths in the current quarter.

Provisional and final estimates

We publish provisional national population estimates in quarterly table updates about six weeks after the end of the reference quarter. An annual information and media release accompanies the June quarter release in mid-August.

Final national population estimates are published in quarterly table updates about five months after the end of the reference quarter. We derive these final estimates when an extra quarter of births and deaths data is available. Changes between the provisional and final estimates are most apparent at the younger and older age groups, due to delayed registrations of births and deaths.

Birth estimates

Final estimates of births in a quarter are less accurate than deaths, as deaths are usually registered more quickly than births. Around 5 percent of births are not registered either in the quarter when the baby was born or in the subsequent quarter. As a result, the birth estimates differ slightly from published birth registrations.

Death estimates

The final estimate of deaths in a quarter is taken as those deaths that occurred in the reference quarter, either registered in the reference quarter or in the subsequent quarter. Final estimates of deaths are very accurate as very few deaths (about 1 death in every 1,000) are registered later than one quarter after they occurred. As a result, the death estimates differ slightly from published death registrations.

Population clock

Statistics NZ's online population clock gives a real-time approximation of the estimated resident population of New Zealand. The population clock uses the latest quarterly estimated resident population, and estimates of the expected number of births, deaths, and net migration for the coming quarter. The settings for each component (births, deaths, and net migration) are determined in advance of each quarter, based on recent trends, and will not necessarily reflect actual population change. The quarterly settings are converted into a 'per minute' figure, making allowance for the number of days per quarter.

Rounding

All figures in this release were rounded independently. Estimates of the total population, natural increase, net migration, and broad age groups are rounded to the nearest 100. National population estimates of five-year age groups are rounded to the nearest 10.

All derived figures in this release use data of greater precision than that published.

More information

See Information about the population estimates for more detailed information on the methods used to calculate the estimates.

Statistics in this release have been produced in accordance with the Official Statistics System principles and protocols for producers of Tier 1 statistics for quality. They conform to the Statistics NZ Methodological Standard for Reporting of Data Quality.

Liability

While care has been used in processing, analysing, and extracting data and information in this publication, Statistics NZ gives no warranty it is error-free and will not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by the use, directly or indirectly, of any information in this publication.

Timing of published data

Our information releases are delivered electronically by third parties. Delivery may be delayed by circumstances outside our control. Statistics NZ does not accept responsibility for any such delay.

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