Stats NZ has a new website.

For new releases go to

www.stats.govt.nz

As we transition to our new site, you'll still find some Stats NZ information here on this archive site.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
New Zealand’s population is drifting north

For many years, the drift of people northwards has been a topic of interest. More people were moving towards the north of New Zealand than were moving south. The northerly drift was often couched in terms of the attraction of Auckland. But it was more than just a drift to Auckland. There was also a drift northwards within both the North Island and the South Island, with gains, for example, to the sunny Nelson region from regions to the south.

Since 1986, however, the South Island has had small but increasing gains from the North Island. Auckland continued to draw internal migrants for most of the 1990s, but by 2001 the net flow had reversed. The Auckland region was contributing slightly more people to other regions than it was gaining from them overall. By 2006, internal migration flows resulted in a significant net southward flow of population from Auckland to regions such as Waikato and Bay of Plenty.

This does not mean that people have stopped moving north. Between 2001 and 2006, nearly 60,000 people moved to Auckland from other parts of New Zealand. However, this was offset by 76,700 people who moved away from Auckland. Consequently, Auckland region lost a net 16,700 people due to internal migration. This gives some indication of the very high level of mobility among New Zealand's population.

Conclusion

This myth is busted; the information is out of date.

Although the population was once drifting northwards, this is not currently the case.

How did this myth arise?

There was a general drift north before 2001, as people moved to Auckland in particular. However, the North Island has been losing population to the South Island since 1986. Auckland has lost population to other regions since 1996. Now, population growth in Auckland is from natural increase (births minus deaths) and migration from overseas (including returning New Zealanders), rather than from people moving there from other parts of New Zealand. Despite the shifts in internal migration, the northern North Island, especially Auckland, still grows faster than the rest of New Zealand.

For your information

Internal Migration 
Information about where New Zealanders are moving to, including a topic on the drift north and south.

Published 22 June 2012, based on information previously published on 18 July 2008.

  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+
Top
  • Share this page to Facebook
  • Share this page to Twitter
  • Share this page to Google+