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100-year NZ Population Projections

New Zealand Population Projections: 1999(base)-2101

100-year NZ Population Projections

New Zealand's population is estimated to peak at 4.64 million in 2044 before dropping to 4.24 million in 2101, according to Statistics New Zealand projections. The figures, drawn from a new report New Zealand Population Projections 1999(base)-2101, are part of the first official set of 100-year population projections for New Zealand's resident population.

These projections complement those already available out to 2051 for the Mä ori, Pacific and total New Zealand populations, and the 20-year projections available for the Asian population. The projections were made by preparing a range of assumptions about future levels of fertility, life expectancy, and net migration and then calculating their impact on the size and age structure of the population.

The future demographic outlook for New Zealand given by these projections is remarkably different, in terms of growth patterns, population dynamics and structural make-up, than that of the previous 100 years. During the last century, the New Zealand population grew by almost three million at an average rate of 1.6 per cent a year. However, if fertility stays below replacement level and migration mirrors last century's average annual gain of 5,000, then the growth rate will tumble and the population is unlikely to reach the five million mark. There will also be fewer children, more older people, and a smaller and older workforce.

Age structure changes indicate that over the next 100 years the number of children (0-14 years) will decrease by almost one-quarter, or about 200,000, to 674,000 in 2101. The working age population (15-64 years) will initially increase - up 13 per cent (or 330,000) to reach 2.82 million in 2020 - and then will slowly decline to 2.41 million by 2101.

Over the next six decades the population aged 65 years and over will nearly treble, up from 0.45 million in 1999 to 1.23 million. It will then slowly decline to 1.15 million by 2101. Within this age group there will be many more centenarians (100 years and over age group) in the future - up from 300 in 1999 to 18,000 by 2101.

These compositional changes will have direct implications for our society in areas such as education, health spending and superannuation provision notes Acting Government Statistician Dianne Macaskill.

The future population prospects charted here are according to the medium projection series, which assumes that (a) on average, New Zealand women will have 1.9 children each, (b) life expectancy at birth will increase by about 6 years, and (c) there will be a net migration gain of 5,000 people a year. (A total of eight alternative projection series have been derived to show the effect different levels of fertility, mortality and net migration would have on the population.)

The report carrying these projections, New Zealand Population Projections, 1999(base)-2101, is available on the Statistics New Zealand website ( An analysis of the projection results and a discussion of the assumptions is provided at no cost, while a set of detailed tables costs $25.00.

Statistics New Zealand has organised two seminars on the demographics of population ageing in New Zealand, and its social and economic perspectives. These will be held in Wellington on 26 July and in Auckland on 27 July 2000. For further details, see Seminar - Population Ageing in New Zealand on the Statistics New Zealand website.

Dianne Macaskill
Acting Government
Statistician END

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