Population growing fast, but slower than expected
New Zealand's population has been growing at its fastest rate in a decade, boosted by high levels of immigration.
But Statistics New Zealand population estimates published today, and based on the 2013 census for the first time, show the population increase since 2006 was not as big as previously thought.
It estimated the country's resident population was 4,442,100 at the end of June 2013. That was 29,000 fewer people than had been estimated for that date when figures were based on the 2006 census.
In the year to June 2014, Statistics estimated the population grew by 67,800 people, or 1.5 per cent - the highest annual increase since 2003.
The rise during the past year was due to a natural increase - births less deaths - of 29,500, and net migration of 38,300.
The migration gain was the highest since 2003, while the natural increase was the lowest since 2005, mainly due to a smaller number of births than in previous years, SNZ said.
The 4.44 million estimated population in June 2013 was made up mainly of the usually resident population count at the March 2013 census of 4.24m, plus a census undercount of 104,200, plus 81,700 residents temporarily overseas on census night.
"Uncertainty is inherent in the estimation process we use to produce the population estimates because no one data source accurately measures all population change from year to year," SNZ said.
The 4.44m estimated population at June 2013 was an increase of 257,500 since June 2006. The average annual increase over the seven years was 36,800 or 0.8 per cent, considerably less than the annual figure of 60,800 or 1.5 per cent between 2001 and 2006 when the rate was driven by higher levels of net migration.
Natural increase was higher in the latest period at 34,000 a year, compared to 28,800 from 2001-06 and 29,600 from 1996-2001. The number of children aged 0-14 had increased an average of 0.3 per cent a year between 2006 and 2014, but that age group now accounted for just 20 per cent of the population, down from 23 per cent in 1994.
While the 2006-base population estimates for regional council areas were all within 5 per cent of the 2013-base estimates, the 2006-base estimate for Auckland was still 36,200 or 2.4 per cent lower than the 2013-base estimate.
The ethnic group with the biggest increase between 2006 and 2013 was the Asian group, which rose at an estimated annual rate of 4.3 per cent to 541,300 at June 2013.
The Pacific group rose 1.9 per cent a year to 344,400, Maori were up 1.5 per cent a year to 692,300, and the European or other category added 0.4 per cent a year to 3.3m.
The Middle Eastern/Latin American/African group increased by 4.7 per cent a year to 53,100.