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Christchurch's population loss slows
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  23 October 2012

Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2012  –  Media Release

Christchurch city's population decreased by 4,600 people (1.2 percent) in the June 2012 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. This was due to a net migration loss (more departures than arrivals) of 6,000 people, partly offset by a natural increase (more births than deaths) of 1,400 people. In the previous year, Christchurch's population declined by an estimated 8,900.

Compared with the pre-earthquake population of 376,700 at 30 June 2010, Christchurch city's population has therefore declined by about 13,500 (3.6 percent).

"There are some interesting differences across age groups," population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said. "There was a net outflow of children and their parents from Christchurch after the earthquake, and fewer young adults arrived for study."

Over the two-year period, the population aged 0–19 years in Christchurch city decreased by an estimated 9,300 (9.6 percent), while the population aged 35–49 years decreased 5,700 (7.0 percent). The population aged 20–34 years decreased only 1,200 (1.5 percent) over the two-year period, indicating there had been some inflows of workers. In contrast, the population aged 50 years and over increased 2,700 (2.3 percent), due to people moving into this age group from younger ages. The estimates also indicated that people aged 50+ were less likely than people of other ages to have left Christchurch over this period.

Selwyn district remained the fastest growing territorial authority area, increasing 2.9 percent (1,200) in the June 2012 year. Part of this growth was due to the relocation of people from earthquake-affected areas. The next fastest growing areas were Hurunui district (up 1.8 percent), Ashburton district (up 1.7 percent), Hamilton city (up 1.7 percent), Queenstown-Lakes district (up 1.6 percent), and Auckland (up 1.5 percent).

However, growth was lower across most of New Zealand in the June 2012 year than in the previous year. "The patterns of population change have to be seen in the context of the nation's overall population growth, which at 0.6 percent was the lowest since 2001," Mrs Blackburn said. International migrant departures (people leaving New Zealand permanently or long-term) rose 9 percent, births fell 3 percent, and deaths rose 2 percent in the June 2012 year.

Population estimates are based on available information such as birth and death registrations, international travel and migration data, primary health care enrolments, and linked employer-employee data. The population estimates will be revised after the 2013 Census of Population and Dwellings.


For media enquiries contact: Authorised by:

Kim Dunstan 
Christchurch 03 964 8700

Published 23 October 2012

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
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