New Zealand sees record annual population growth, boosted by immigration

by Ray Clancy on August 17, 2016

New Zealand’s population grew by 97,300, or 2.1%, to 4.69 million in the year to the end of June 2016, the largest annual increase ever.

The data from Statistics New Zealand show that the last time the country experienced population growth over 2% was in 1974 and before that it was at the peak of the baby boom in the 1950s and early 1960s.

movingtonewzealandIMAGEStatistics New Zealand population statistics senior manager Jo-Anne Skinner explained that the record increase in population was driven by record levels of international migration.

Net migration was 69,100 over the year to June 2016, with 125,100 migrant arrivals less 56,000 migrant departures. Natural increase, births minus deaths, contributed the remaining 28,200.

‘To put this in context, the average annual net migration over the last decade has been 21,800 and average annual natural increase has been 32,300. Annual population growth over 2% is high by New Zealand standards,’ Skinner added.

The large net inflow of migrants meant the younger working age population aged15 to 39 years grew by 3.6% to reach 1.58 million. The older segment of the population of 65 and over also grew by 3.6% to reach 700,000.

More people are also staying in New Zealand with the data showing that for June 2016 compared with June last year, domestic guest nights in the North Island rose 13.9% following a 5.7 percent fall in May. Total national guest nights for June 2016 were up 11.9% from June 2015, with North Island domestic guest nights accounting for half of this increase.

‘Domestic and international guest nights in both main islands reached record levels for a June month. Although June is in the off-season for most accommodation providers, guest nights this June are the highest recorded for any June month,’ said business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly.

A breakdown of the figures show that North Island total guest nights were up 13.3% and South Island total guest nights were up 9.5%. Domestic guest nights were up 10.9% and international guest nights were up 13.7%.

All 12 regional areas had more guest nights and all four accommodation types had more guest nights. For the year ended June 2016, national guest nights were up 5.8% from the June 2015 year.

The trend for national guest nights continued to rise in June 2016. Seasonally adjusted guest nights rose 8.9% after falls in April and May.

The Accommodation Survey collects data for guests staying in hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, and holiday parks in New Zealand each month. Private accommodation is excluded.

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