A baby born this morning is likely to be New Zealand's 4.5 millionth person.
The country's population is now closer to five than four million people, according to Statistics New Zealand's population clock, which ticked over the halfway mark at 8.43am today.
The clock is based on the 2006 census, updated with births, deaths and migration data.
The population count from the census in March this year was 4,242,048, but Statistics NZ said the online clock is the most accurate population estimate available.
"The census number is used as a base to do the population projection. Census numbers do feed into that but it's not the only thing. We are right in saying it may hit 4.5 [million]," a spokeswoman said.
The first estimates to be based on the 2013 census would be for the year to the end of June 2014, and would be published next August.
After the 2006 census, which came during a period of high immigration, the national population estimate was revised up about 40,000, or 1 per cent.
In 2001, the change was fewer than 20,000.
New Zealand's population is now estimated to increase by one person every 7 minutes and 42 seconds.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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