New Zealand's population is growing at its slowest rate in more than a decade.
Statistics New Zealand today said the country's population increased by 28,000 or 0.6 per cent in the year to June.
That took the estimated resident population to 4,433,100.
Births outnumbered deaths by 31,100 during the year, but there was a net migration loss of 3200. It was the only migration loss in the past decade.
By comparison, the population grew 37,400 or 0.9 per cent in the previous June year. That year natural increase was 2400 higher than in the latest year and there was a net migration gain of 3900.
"The population growth was relatively slow in the June 2012 year," population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said.
"In fact, growth hasn't dropped to this rate since the June 2000 and 2001 years."
The population continued to age during the decade, with the median age rising from 34.8 years to 37 years.
The median age for males rose to 35.7 years from 34, and for females it rose to 38.2 from 35.6.
There were 2.18 million males and 2.25 million females in the country, meaning 97 males for every 100 females.
People aged 65 and over now make up 14 per cent of the population, an increase of 2 per cent in the past decade.
The proportion of the population aged 85 years and over rose from 1.3 per cent to 1.7 per cent, while the proportion aged 0-14 years decreased between the June 2002 and 2012 years, from 22 per cent to 20 per cent.
The younger working age group, those aged 15 to 39, was down to 34 per cent of the population from 36 per cent a decade earlier, while the older working-age group, those 40 to 64, rose to 32 per cent of the total from 30 per cent.
Over the 10 years, New Zealand's estimated resident population increased by about 500,000 from 3.9 million, with the increase approximately equivalent to the population of the Wellington region, Statistics NZ said.
The population was expected to continue growing, with a median assumption indicating a population of 5.4 million in 2036.
Natural increase in the year to June 2012 was the lowest since 2005, while in every other year of the past decade the country has had a net migration gain ranging from the June 2011 year's 3900 to the 42,500 added in the 2003 year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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