New Zealand’s population grows 1.6 percent in June year

The estimated population of New Zealand reached 4.92 million at 30 June 2019, Stats NZ said today.

New Zealand’s population grew by an estimated 76,000 in the year, or 1.6 percent.

“New Zealand’s population growth rate remains high by historical and international standards,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said. “The world’s population is currently growing at 1.1 percent a year. New Zealand has exceeded this growth rate in each of the last five years.”

The largest driver of growth was net migration of 49,400, with 145,300 migrant arrivals and 95,900 migrant departures. Natural increase (births minus deaths) contributed 26,600.

Diagram of equation showing how we update population estimates.

Text alternative for diagram, How we update population estimates.

We update population estimates quarterly from the last census-base estimated resident population (ERP) with estimates of births, deaths, and migration.

The estimates released today reflect the new outcomes-based migration measure, but not 2018 Census data, which will be available from 23 September 2019.

New Zealand’s population revised down 50,000

National population estimates (NPE) from the September 2013 quarter to the March 2019 quarter (inclusive) have been revised to incorporate the outcomes-based migration measure. Stats NZ introduced this measure in 2017, which defined migrants’ travel histories by using the ’12/16-month rule’. Spread over six years, this change resulted in a downward revision of about 50,000 for New Zealand’s resident population, an average of about 8,400 a year. Over the same period the population has grown by over 450,000.

“Adopting the outcomes-based migration measure means we’re measuring actual passenger behaviour, rather than their intentions at the time of travel,” Mrs Theyers said. “Our new method also removed statistical reliance on the passenger departure card, which was removed in November 2018.”

Quarter Original Revised
Jun-13 4442100 4442100
Sep-13 4457700 4455000
Dec-13 4475800 4471500
Mar-14 4496000 4492200
Jun-14 4509700 4504500
Sep-14 4531600 4525400
Dec-14 4554600 4546700
Mar-15 4580000 4571200
Jun-15 4595700 4585600
Sep-15 4620600 4609400
Dec-15 4647300 4633700
Mar-16 4675900 4662000
Jun-16 4693200 4678100
Sep-16 4719800 4702000
Dec-16 4747200 4725300
Mar-17 4776500 4751600
Jun-17 4793900 4765400
Sep-17 4817800 4785100
Dec-17 4844400 4805400
Mar-18 4871600 4829200
Jun-18 4885500 4841000
Sep-18 4907700 4861000
Dec-18 4929700 4882500
Mar-19 4957400 4907100
Jun-19 4917000

The outcomes-based migration measure links traveller histories over time and classifies travellers as migrants according to whether they spend more than 12 of the next 16 months in, or out, of New Zealand following the border crossing. Migration Data Transformation project has more information.

Previously, national population estimates were calculated using the permanent and long-term migration (or intentions-based) measure, which classified travellers as migrants depending on their stated intentions on arrival and departure cards. When departure cards were discontinued in November 2018, we used the outcomes-based measure for population estimates from the December 2018 quarter on.

Quarter ended Original net migration estimate Revised net migration estimate
Sep-13 8900 6200
Dec-13 10200 8600
Mar-14 12500 13000
Jun-14 6700 5200
Sep-14 16000 15100
Dec-14 15700 13900
Mar-15 17900 17000
Jun-15 8700 7400
Sep-15 18900 17900
Dec-15 19400 16900
Mar-16 20600 20300
Jun-16 10200 9000
Sep-16 19800 17100
Dec-16 20000 16000
Mar-17 21900 18800
Jun-17 10500 7100
Sep-17 18500 14200
Dec-17 19100 12800
Mar-18 19900 16500
Jun-18 7500 5400
Sep-18 16200 14000
Dec-18 15100 14700
Mar-19 20300 17000
Jun-19 3700

Population estimates revision largest for young adults

Those in the younger working ages are more mobile than other population groups and tend to make up the bulk of migration flows. We can see small revisions across all ages, however, the largest revision is for those aged 20-34 years. The impact is greater for males than females.

Age group (years) Female Male
0-4 -860 -860
5-9 1170 1620
10-14 1300 1560
15-19 950 1220
20-24 -8610 -9320
25-29 -11080 -18870
30-34 -3030 -7820
35-39 1670 990
40-44 1980 1550
45-49 1080 860
50-54 -40 -320
55-59 -250 -420
60-64 -360 -370
65-69 -480 -520
70-74 -680 -630
75-79 -430 -480
80+ -420 -470

Population estimates provisional for 18 months

Previously, the migration component of the national population estimates was final six weeks after the reference period. Estimates of births and deaths are final after four months, which enabled us to finalise estimates four months after the reference period.

The outcomes-based migration measure requires observing travellers for up to 16 months after their initial border crossing, so we must use a model to provide timely estimates of migration. These provisional estimates are updated on a monthly basis. This is because the proportion of border crossings that can be classified with certainty increases over time.

We are investigating options for future population estimates updates to minimise volatility, while producing the best estimates possible using the most up-to-date migration information.

Impact on other official statistics

Population estimates affect other important statistics across a range of economic and social areas. From August 2019, publications in these areas will reflect the revised population estimates and comment on any impacts.

Future releases

Subnational population estimates: At 30 June 2019 (provisional) will be published on 22 October 2019. These estimates will be consistent with the revised national series.

The national population estimates series is still based on 2013 Census data. The population estimates will be revised when the 2018 Census-based estimated resident population is published in March 2020.

Text alternative for diagram How we update population estimates

Diagram showing an equation in words and boxes: Base population (2013 Census-base estimated resident population) plus births minus deaths plus migrant arrivals minus migrant departures equals new population estimates.

/Stats NZ Public Release. View in full here.