Young people from overseas boosting New Zealand’s population

by Ray Clancy on August 14, 2017

More young people than ever before are moving to New Zealand with the country seeing its population grow by more than 100,000 in the 12 months to June 2017.

Overall the population grew by 100,400, the largest ever increase for a June year, according to the date from Statistics New Zealand, taking the number of people resident to 4.79 million.


Net migration, that is arrivals minus departures, contributed 72,300 people to the growth, along with 28,100 from natural increase and the current gain from net migration equates to 15 people per 1,000 population.

‘Our current net migration rate is high by New Zealand standards, but historically it has fluctuated more than other countries. At the moment we’re experiencing rates similar to Australia’s in 2009,’ said population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan.

He explained that while most migrants are arriving on short term work visas and student visas, many of them extend their visas, or transition to other visa types including residence visas.

‘It makes sense to count long term stayers as part of our population, rather than as short term visitors,’ Dolan said.

The data also shows that over the last five years New Zealand’s population grew by nearly 390,000, more than the population of Christchurch.

Dolan revealed that half of last year’s growth was in the 15 to 39 age group. ‘This reflects the contribution of migration to our population growth, with net migration of 50,000 among those aged 15 to 39 years,’ he pointed out.

As a result of recent migration flows, the share of New Zealand’s population aged 15 to 39 years rose from 33% in 2013 to 34% in 2017. This is a reversal of the trend that saw the share drop from 41% in the mid-1980s.

Dolan also pointed out that growth of the broad 65 plus age group continues to grow too, up 25,000 in the last year, as the large birth cohorts of the 1950s and early 1970s begin to reach those ages.

The population at the oldest ages is also growing, reflecting decreasing death rates at all ages over a long period of time. The 90 plus population is now 30,000 compared with 20,000 in 2007. It is projected to reach 40,000 in the late 2020s and 50,000 in the early 2030s.

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