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National Pacific projections

For detailed projections see:

The latest projections of the Pacific population living in New Zealand have the estimated resident population of Pacific ethnicities at 30 June 2013 as a base. The Pacific population are people who identify with one or more Pacific ethnicities, such as Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island Maori, and Fijian, either solely or with other ethnic groups such as ‘European or Other’, Māori, and Asian.

Total Pacific people population

The projections indicate a 90 percent chance the Pacific population will increase from 0.34 million at 30 June 2013 to 0.44–0.48 million in 2025 and to 0.54–0.65 million in 2038. The median projection indicates the Pacific population will make up 10.9 percent of New Zealand’s population, compared with 7.8 percent in 2013.

Drivers of growth

Pacific population growth will be mainly driven by their high rate of birth which supports a high natural increase (births minus deaths). During 2012–14, the total fertility rate was 2.7 births per woman, compared with the overall New Zealand total fertility rate of 2.0 births per woman. Ethnic intermarriage (parents with different ethnicities) also makes an important contribution to Pacific population growth – about one-quarter of Pacific births (ie where the child is identified as Pacific) have a non-Pacific mother and a Pacific father.

Age structure

The number of Pacific children (aged 0–14 years) is likely to increase. The median projection indicates Pacific children will make up 19.6 percent of all New Zealand children in 2038, compared with 13.4 percent in 2013. While the New Zealand population aged 65+ comprises mainly ‘European or Other’ people, the Pacific proportion of this age group is projected to increase. By 2038, the Pacific share will be 4.1 percent, up from 2.6 percent in 2013.

The Pacific population overall will become older, but will continue to have a much younger age structure than the total New Zealand population due to higher Pacific birth rates. Half the Pacific population will be older than 26 years in 2038, compared with 22 years in 2013.

Page updated 19 February 2016

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