Net migration high but down from peak

Today’s release of updated migration estimates indicates New Zealand’s annual net migration for the year ended May 2019 was 46,100 (± 800), Stats NZ said today. This is down 9,400 from the estimate released in December 2019 due to improved linking.

“The latest net migration estimates indicate we are about 20,000 below the peak of 63,900 reached in the year ended July 2016,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

“Annual net migration has been above 40,000 since late 2014 and remains at a historically high level.”

Month published Arrivals published Dec 2019 Arrivals published Jan 2020 Departures published Dec 2019 Departures published Jan 2020 Net migration published Dec 2019 Net migration published Jan 2020
Dec-01 115365 115365 84243 84243 31122 31122
Jan-02 118811 118811 81100 81100 37711 37711
Feb-02 120385 120385 77729 77729 42656 42656
Mar-02 123461 123461 76141 76141 47320 47320
Apr-02 125122 125122 75249 75249 49873 49873
May-02 126709 126709 73395 73395 53314 53314
Jun-02 128471 128471 73158 73158 55313 55313
Jul-02 129896 129896 72990 72990 56906 56906
Aug-02 131744 131744 72938 72938 58806 58806
Sep-02 132763 132763 72896 72896 59867 59867
Oct-02 133259 133259 73098 73098 60161 60161
Nov-02 133966 133966 73382 73382 60584 60584
Dec-02 134642 134642 74006 74006 60636 60636
Jan-03 134766 134766 74260 74260 60506 60506
Feb-03 134787 134787 74084 74084 60703 60703
Mar-03 133788 133788 74474 74474 59314 59314
Apr-03 132967 132967 74180 74180 58787 58787
May-03 132186 132186 74143 74143 58043 58043
Jun-03 130759 130759 74032 74032 56727 56727
Jul-03 129451 129451 74769 74769 54682 54682
Aug-03 127586 127586 75518 75518 52068 52068
Sep-03 125537 125537 75935 75935 49602 49602
Oct-03 123843 123843 76348 76348 47495 47495
Nov-03 121548 121548 77735 77735 43813 43813
Dec-03 120269 120269 79316 79316 40953 40953
Jan-04 117870 117870 79897 79897 37973 37973
Feb-04 115684 115684 81024 81024 34660 34660
Mar-04 113077 113077 81536 81536 31541 31541
Apr-04 111341 111341 82611 82611 28730 28730
May-04 110376 110376 83798 83798 26578 26578
Jun-04 109242 109242 85149 85149 24093 24093
Jul-04 107706 107706 86244 86244 21462 21462
Aug-04 106445 106445 86498 86498 19947 19947
Sep-04 105504 105504 87355 87355 18149 18149
Oct-04 104443 104443 87843 87843 16600 16600
Nov-04 103635 103635 88478 88478 15157 15157
Dec-04 103378 103378 89577 89577 13801 13801
Jan-05 102547 102547 90231 90231 12316 12316
Feb-05 102065 102065 90814 90814 11251 11251
Mar-05 102183 102183 91512 91512 10671 10671
Apr-05 102795 102795 92373 92373 10422 10422
May-05 103127 103127 92621 92621 10506 10506
Jun-05 103298 103298 92642 92642 10656 10656
Jul-05 102901 102901 93350 93350 9551 9551
Aug-05 103260 103260 93608 93608 9652 9652
Sep-05 103664 103664 93620 93620 10044 10044
Oct-05 103985 103985 93982 93982 10003 10003
Nov-05 103780 103780 93209 93209 10571 10571
Dec-05 103909 103909 92925 92925 10984 10984
Jan-06 103892 103892 92761 92761 11131 11131
Feb-06 104552 104552 92262 92262 12290 12290
Mar-06 105139 105139 91642 91642 13497 13497
Apr-06 105154 105154 91664 91664 13490 13490
May-06 104994 104994 91784 91784 13210 13210
Jun-06 105413 105413 92221 92221 13192 13192
Jul-06 106478 106478 91614 91614 14864 14864
Aug-06 107156 107156 92231 92231 14925 14925
Sep-06 108003 108003 92885 92885 15118 15118
Oct-06 108632 108632 93469 93469 15163 15163
Nov-06 110037 110037 93722 93722 16315 16315
Dec-06 110487 110487 94222 94222 16265 16265
Jan-07 110963 110963 94820 94820 16143 16143
Feb-07 111511 111511 95959 95959 15552 15552
Mar-07 112377 112377 96978 96978 15399 15399
Apr-07 112605 112605 97547 97547 15058 15058
May-07 112955 112955 98652 98652 14303 14303
Jun-07 113396 113396 99399 99399 13997 13997
Jul-07 113126 113126 100000 100000 13126 13126
Aug-07 113863 113863 100644 100644 13219 13219
Sep-07 113915 113915 101081 101081 12834 12834
Oct-07 113930 113930 101280 101280 12650 12650
Nov-07 113812 113812 102029 102029 11783 11783
Dec-07 113392 113392 102741 102741 10651 10651
Jan-08 113089 113089 103348 103348 9741 9741
Feb-08 114461 114461 104134 104134 10327 10327
Mar-08 114691 114691 104468 104468 10223 10223
Apr-08 115453 115453 104888 104888 10565 10565
May-08 116847 116847 105285 105285 11562 11562
Jun-08 117711 117711 105865 105865 11846 11846
Jul-08 119072 119072 106530 106530 12542 12542
Aug-08 119537 119537 107257 107257 12280 12280
Sep-08 119442 119442 107293 107293 12149 12149
Oct-08 120067 120067 107972 107972 12095 12095
Nov-08 120006 120006 108502 108502 11504 11504
Dec-08 120254 120254 108108 108108 12146 12146
Jan-09 120750 120750 107922 107922 12828 12828
Feb-09 120347 120347 106682 106682 13665 13665
Mar-09 119707 119707 105696 105696 14011 14011
Apr-09 118732 118732 103904 103904 14828 14828
May-09 117436 117436 101842 101842 15594 15594
Jun-09 115952 115952 99764 99764 16188 16188
Jul-09 114946 114946 98059 98059 16887 16887
Aug-09 113344 113344 96091 96091 17253 17253
Sep-09 112427 112427 94714 94714 17713 17713
Oct-09 111104 111104 93114 93114 17990 17990
Nov-09 109795 109795 91739 91739 18056 18056
Dec-09 108361 108361 90288 90288 18073 18073
Jan-10 106944 106944 89156 89156 17788 17788
Feb-10 105191 105191 89336 89336 15855 15855
Mar-10 104304 104304 89825 89825 14479 14479
Apr-10 103504 103504 90466 90466 13038 13038
May-10 102543 102543 91662 91662 10881 10881
Jun-10 101786 101786 92895 92895 8891 8891
Jul-10 101348 101348 94008 94008 7340 7340
Aug-10 101388 101388 95249 95249 6139 6139
Sep-10 101281 101281 96447 96447 4834 4834
Oct-10 101374 101374 97959 97959 3415 3415
Nov-10 101022 101022 99047 99047 1975 1975
Dec-10 100645 100645 100776 100776 -131 -131
Jan-11 100248 100248 102633 102633 -2385 -2385
Feb-11 100669 100669 103610 103610 -2941 -2941
Mar-11 100782 100782 106135 106135 -5353 -5353
Apr-11 101013 101013 108122 108122 -7109 -7109
May-11 101150 101150 109486 109486 -8336 -8336
Jun-11 101026 101026 110299 110299 -9273 -9273
Jul-11 101271 101271 112166 112166 -10895 -10895
Aug-11 101319 101319 113176 113176 -11857 -11857
Sep-11 101066 101066 113595 113595 -12529 -12529
Oct-11 100411 100411 114331 114331 -13920 -13920
Nov-11 100659 100659 115161 115161 -14502 -14502
Dec-11 100255 100255 116194 116194 -15939 -15939
Jan-12 100112 100112 116513 116513 -16401 -16401
Feb-12 100290 100290 117111 117111 -16821 -16821
Mar-12 100833 100833 116149 116149 -15316 -15316
Apr-12 100251 100251 115630 115630 -15379 -15379
May-12 100278 100278 115116 115116 -14838 -14838
Jun-12 100966 100966 115464 115464 -14498 -14498
Jul-12 100249 100249 114560 114560 -14311 -14311
Aug-12 100043 100043 114306 114306 -14263 -14263
Sep-12 100387 100387 114183 114183 -13796 -13796
Oct-12 100940 100940 113336 113336 -12396 -12396
Nov-12 101321 101321 112684 112684 -11363 -11363
Dec-12 102136 102136 112234 112234 -10098 -10098
Jan-13 102792 102792 111211 111211 -8419 -8419
Feb-13 102511 102511 109819 109819 -7308 -7308
Mar-13 102862 102862 108590 108590 -5728 -5728
Apr-13 104071 104071 107378 107378 -3307 -3307
May-13 105032 105032 106885 106885 -1853 -1853
Jun-13 106322 106322 105493 105493 829 829
Jul-13 107852 107852 104342 104342 3510 3510
Aug-13 108860 108860 102788 102788 6072 6072
Sep-13 109436 109436 101238 101238 8198 8198
Oct-13 110757 110757 99949 99949 10808 10808
Nov-13 111901 111901 98412 98412 13489 13489
Dec-13 113396 113396 96084 96084 17312 17312
Jan-14 114497 114497 94378 94378 20119 20119
Feb-14 116701 116701 92964 92964 23737 23737
Mar-14 118026 118026 91342 91342 26684 26684
Apr-14 119062 119062 89977 89977 29085 29085
May-14 120042 120042 88553 88553 31489 31489
Jun-14 120538 120538 87482 87482 33056 33056
Jul-14 122344 122344 86089 86089 36255 36255
Aug-14 124547 124547 85405 85405 39142 39142
Sep-14 126783 126783 85097 85097 41686 41686
Oct-14 128239 128239 84408 84408 43831 43831
Nov-14 129530 129530 84040 84040 45490 45490
Dec-14 130107 130107 83444 83444 46663 46663
Jan-15 132338 132338 83296 83296 49042 49042
Feb-15 132821 132821 83343 83343 49478 49478
Mar-15 134037 134037 83482 83482 50555 50555
Apr-15 134673 134673 83554 83554 51119 51119
May-15 135381 135381 83277 83277 52104 52104
Jun-15 135944 135944 83255 83255 52689 52689
Jul-15 137194 137194 83343 83343 53851 53851
Aug-15 137854 137854 83248 83248 54606 54606
Sep-15 138775 138775 83038 83038 55737 55737
Oct-15 140167 140167 83266 83266 56901 56901
Nov-15 141154 141154 82969 82969 58185 58185
Dec-15 142164 142164 83112 83112 59052 59052
Jan-16 142826 142826 82932 82932 59894 59894
Feb-16 144661 144661 82722 82722 61939 61939
Mar-16 144858 144858 82475 82475 62383 62383
Apr-16 145321 145321 82784 82784 62537 62537
May-16 145939 145939 82760 82760 63179 63179
Jun-16 146336 146336 82488 82488 63848 63848
Jul-16 146563 146563 82657 82657 63906 63906
Aug-16 145832 145832 82570 82570 63262 63262
Sep-16 145783 145783 82709 82709 63074 63074
Oct-16 145403 145403 82542 82542 62861 62861
Nov-16 145391 145391 82984 82984 62407 62407
Dec-16 145461 145461 83383 83383 62078 62078
Jan-17 145645 145645 84081 84081 61564 61564
Feb-17 145339 145339 84645 84645 60694 60694
Mar-17 145025 145025 84596 84596 60429 60429
Apr-17 144662 144662 84782 84782 59880 59880
May-17 144454 144454 85505 85505 58949 58949
Jun-17 144754 144754 86248 86248 58506 58506
Jul-17 144735 144735 86956 86956 57779 57779
Aug-17 144873 144873 87780 87780 57093 57093
Sep-17 144212 144212 88567 88567 55645 55645
Oct-17 143913 143913 89378 89378 54535 54535
Nov-17 143518 143518 89745 89745 53773 53773
Dec-17 143080 143080 90531 90531 52549 52549
Jan-18 143109 143109 90651 90651 52458 52458
Feb-18 141973 141973 90711 90711 51262 51262
Mar-18 142167 142167 91851 91851 50316 50316
Apr-18 141816 141816 92179 92179 49637 49637
May-18 141704 141704 92198 92198 49506 49506
Jun-18 140950 140950 92329 92329 48621 48621
Jul-18 140689 140661 92359 92386 48329 48275
Aug-18 141084 141022 92349 92391 48734 48631
Sep-18 141528 141358 92105 92074 49422 49284
Oct-18 142575 141072 92388 91838 50186 49234
Nov-18 144503 140672 92413 91474 52089 49198
Dec-18 147210 140216.992 92814 90919 54395 49298
Jan-19 148857 138682 93613 91147 55243 47534
Feb-19 149767 138149.962 93602 90958 56163 47192
Mar-19 149152 137171 93429 90446 55721 46725
Apr-19 148799 136137 93090 89741 55707 46396
May-19 148867 135644 93288 89501 55577 46143
Jun-19 149123 135533 93512 89876 55609 45657
Jul-19 149615 135072 92802 89711 56812 45362
Aug-19 149442 134987 92836 90299 56606 44688
Sep-19 149145 134893 92954 91676 56191 43218
Oct-19 148420 135984 92806 93003 55614 42981
Nov-19 137000 95521 41479

Update to provisional estimates from improved linking

The latest migration estimates include an improvement to the linking of 15,000 arrivals and departures. These links were missed previously and make up 0.1 percent of the total 15.3 million border crossings from October 2018 to October 2019. This linking is fundamental to identifying whether travellers crossing the border are migrants or visitors when arriving or leaving New Zealand.

“An additional 1 in every 1,000 border crossings has now been linked to a subsequent arrival or departure,” said Mr Islam.

“This helps us classify those 15,000 border crossings as visitors rather than migrants.”

As a result of this change, provisional estimates of migrant arrivals and departures are generally lower than previously published estimates. Because arrivals have been revised down more than departures, net migration is lower than previously published estimates. Final migration estimates are unaffected however. Migration estimates for the year ended July 2018 have now been finalised with a net migration of 48,300.

One year since new migration estimates began

The new outcomes-based measure of migration was first published as the official migration measure in January 2019, covering the period up to November 2018.

Before November 2018, the classification of travellers was based on the intentions they stated on their passenger cards when they crossed the border.

Since November 2018, the new approach uses passport data to link arrivals and departures and accurately measure how long people spend in, or out of, New Zealand after their initial border crossing. To be confident a traveller is a migrant and not a visitor, we need to observe up to 16 months of their travel history (according to the 12/16-month rule).

With this new approach, it takes 17 months before final migration estimates are available. To provide timely results, we use a statistical model to produce provisional migration estimates. Statistics produced using these provisional estimates have uncertainty for 16 months; after this time, we can finalise the classification of all border crossings.

The improved linking noted above enables a more accurate classification of travellers as migrants or non-migrants. There is no change to the model that classifies border crossings for provisional migration estimates; simply an improvement to the ongoing linking of border crossings.

For example, arrivals that are not linked to a subsequent departure are most likely to be travellers who have stayed in New Zealand and are therefore classified as a ‘migrant arrival’. Conversely, departures that are not linked to a subsequent arrival are most likely to be travellers who have stayed overseas and are therefore classified as a ‘migrant departure’.

“Travellers often make repeated trips into and out of New Zealand, which makes it challenging to differentiate migrants from visitors,” Mr Islam said.

“However, calculating actual travel duration is a more accurate way of measuring migration than relying on passenger card intentions.”

Fewer migrant arrivals for year ended May 2019 in latest estimates

In the year ended May 2019, there were provisionally 135,600 migrant arrivals, down 6,100 from the year ended May 2018 and down 10,900 from the year ended July 2016 peak (146,600).

Migrant departures were 89,500, up 2,700 from the previous year and up 6,800 from the year ended July 2016.

Migrant arrivals and departures include the flows of New Zealand citizens as well as the flows of non-New Zealand citizens as both affect the population living in New Zealand.

Provisional migration estimates for year ended November 2019

Migration estimates for the year ended May 2019 are given above because these are subject to smaller month-to-month revisions than estimates for more recent periods. We can define travellers as visitors or migrants with more certainty 5-6 months after a reference period.

Some users of migration data may want to look at the most recent provisional estimates. These give a more timely indication of migration levels, although they have higher uncertainty and are therefore subject to larger month-to-month revisions than provisional estimates for earlier periods.

Provisional estimates for the year ended November 2019:

  • migrant arrivals – 137,000 (± 1,400)
  • migrant departures – 95,500 (± 1,300)
  • net migration gain – 41,500 (± 1,600).

The uncertainty reflects the number of migrant outcomes that need to be modelled, compared with those that can be definitively classified according to the 12/16-month rule.

Impact on population estimates

Updates to migration estimates are reflected in regular updates to national and subnational population estimates. National population estimates: At 31 December 2019 will be released on 18 February 2020 and, as usual, will include revisions to the previous six quarters to reflect revised migration estimates.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.