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Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2016 (provisional)
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  21 October 2016
Commentary

This information release contains provisional estimates of the resident population of New Zealand's 16 regional council areas (regions), 67 territorial authority areas, and 21 Auckland local board areas at 30 June 2016. Population estimates give the best available measure of the size and age-sex composition of the population usually living in each area. This is published on an annual basis.

Migration boost to New Zealand's population growth contributes to new record

New Zealand's population grew by 97,300 (2.1 percent) during the June 2016 year, to reach 4,693,000. This follows an increase of 86,000 (1.9 percent) in the previous June year. The last time New Zealand grew at a rate over 2 percent was 42 years ago.

Population growth in the latest year was due to a net international migration gain (more departures than arrivals) of 69,100, and a natural increase (more births than deaths) of 28,200. The net migration gain was the highest ever in a June year, and 10,800 higher than in the year to June 2015 (58,300).

Population growth in most regions 

Fifteen of New Zealand's 16 regions experienced population growth during the June 2016 year. The Auckland (2.8 percent), Canterbury and Waikato (both 2.3 percent), and Bay of Plenty (2.2 percent) regions grew above the national average (2.1 percent).

Auckland was both the largest and fastest-growing region. At 30 June 2016, Auckland's population (over 1.6 million) accounted for more than one-third of New Zealand's total population. Auckland grew by 2.8 percent, with about 70 percent from net migration and the remaining from natural increase.

Net migration was the main contributor to growth in 13 of the regions, and contributed almost four-fifths to growth in South Island regions. The West Coast was the only region that had a net migration loss (more departures than arrivals). This resulted in a small population decrease (down 0.5 percent).

Graph, Regional population change, year ended 30 June 2016.

Three in four New Zealanders live in North Island

At 30 June 2016, the North Island was home for about 3.60 million people, which accounted for 77 percent of New Zealand's total population.

Overall, the North Island grew at a faster rate (2.2 percent) than the national average (2.1 percent). Most fast-growing territorial authority areas are concentrated in large cities and their surrounding neighbours. Tauranga city had the highest growth rate in the North Island during the June 2016 year (2.9 percent), followed by Auckland, Kaipara district, and Hamilton city (all 2.8 percent).

Graph, Natural increase / decrease and net migration, for fastest-growing areas in North Island, year ended 30 June 2016.

Fastest-growing districts are in South Island

The South Island had the fastest-growing districts in the June 2016 year. Queenstown-Lakes experienced the highest growth (7.1 percent), followed by Selwyn (6.7 percent).  Their growth rates were much higher than in the rest of the country. Net migration gain contributed 85 percent and 86 percent, respectively, to the total growth.

Overall, the South Island population grew by 20,100 (1.9 percent) in the year to June 2016. The growth rate for the South Island has continued to increase for the last five years since a 0.3 percent decrease due to the Christchurch earthquakes. The South Island's total increase was made up of natural increase of 4,300 and net migration of 15,800.

Of the 23 territorial authority areas in the South Island, only two had population decreases: Buller (down 1.2 percent) and Grey (down 0.6 percent).

Graph, Natural increase and net migration, for fastest-growing areas in South Island, year ended 30 June 2016.

Faster growth across Auckland local boards

The population increased in all 21 local board areas within Auckland. Waitemata was the fastest-growing local board area, increasing by 7,100 (7.5 percent). The next fastest-growing areas were: Upper Harbour (4.0 percent), Rodney (3.5 percent), Orakei (3.3 percent), and Papakura and Waiheke (both 3.1 percent). The remaining areas grew at a rate between 1.2 and 3.0 percent.

All 21 local board areas experienced gains from natural increase. All but one had net migration gain. Mangere-Otahuhu had a small net migration loss.

Graph, Natural increase and net migration, for fastest-growing Auckland local board areas, year ended 30 June 2016.

 Map, Population change for North Island territorial authority areas, year ended 30 June 2016.

Map, Population change for South Island territorial authority areas, year ended 30 June 2016.

Map, population change by Auckland local boards 2016.

Median age differs by over 20 years across the country

Median age varies across New Zealand from 31.8 years (Hamilton) to 52.4 years (Thames-Coromandel). Of the 67 territorial authorities, 14 had a younger median age than the national average (37.1 years).

Areas with young median ages can indicate a high proportion of children living in the area. For example, Kawerau has over one-quarter of its population (25.1 percent) aged under 15 years. The national average is 19.6 percent. In other areas, such as Wellington city, which has tertiary education facilities and young working professionals, a younger median age can indicate a net inflow of young adults (aged 15–29 years).

Areas with an older age structure have a higher proportion of people aged 65 years and over (65+), and are likely to have more deaths. In the June 2016 year, the Kapiti Coast, Thames-Coromandel, and Horowhenua districts were the only areas with natural decrease (more deaths than births).

Graph, New Zealand population at 30 June 2016 (population pyramid showing age distribution). Graph, Kawerau population, at 30 June 2016 (population pyramid showing age distribution).

Graph, Wellington city population, at 30 June 2016 (population pyramid showing age distribution). Graph, Thames-Coromandel population, at 30 June 2016 (population pyramid showing age distribution).

Find data tables and information about the estimates

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

See DataInfo+ for information on definitions and data quality. These sections were previously included in this release.

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