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One Million South Islanders by 2021

One Million South Islanders by 2021

The population of the South Island is expected to reach the one million mark by 2021, according to Statistics New Zealand. This represents an increase of 60,000 or 7 percent over the 2001 figure of 940,000. The North Island’s population is projected to grow by 560,000 from 2.94 million in 2001 to 3.51 million in 2021. This means that 90 percent of New Zealand's population growth over the next two decades will occur in the North Island and only 10 percent in the South Island.

By 2021, the North Island will be home to 78 percent of New Zealanders, up from 76 percent in 2001. These results are according to the medium series of the 2001-base subnational population projections.

Among the regions, Auckland is projected to have the largest growth, up 430,000 from 1.22 million in 2001 to 1.65 million in 2021. Auckland Region will be home to 37 percent of New Zealanders and 47 percent of North Islanders in 2021, compared with 31 and 41 percent, respectively, in 2001. Other regions with large projected increases in population between 2001 and 2021 are Bay of Plenty (up 61,000), Canterbury (up 54,000), Waikato (up 40,000) and Wellington (up 29,000). Six regions are projected to have fewer people by 2021: Southland (down 14,000), Taranaki (down 10,000), West Coast (down 4,000), Gisborne (down 3,000), Manawatu-Wanganui (down 2,000) and Hawke's Bay (down 2,000).

The four northernmost regions (Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty) combined will account for almost all of the North Island's growth. These four regions will contain 56 percent of New Zealand's population in 2021 compared with 51 percent in 2001.

Of the 74 territorial authority areas, 35 are projected to increase in population during 2001–2021.

The highest growth rates are projected in Queenstown-Lakes District (up 64 percent), Rodney District (up 50 percent), Tauranga District (up 46 percent), Selwyn District (up 42 percent), Manukau City (up 37 percent), Auckland City (up 36 percent), Western Bay of Plenty District (up 36 percent), Waimakariri District (up 36 percent), Waitakere City (up 35 percent), Franklin District (up 33 percent) and North Shore City (up 31 percent). Of the 39 areas projected to lose population, 12 are projected to decline by over 15 percent during the next 20 years.

Most areas will have fewer children, more older people and further ageing of their population in the future. However, there will be considerable variation between areas largely because of each area's current population age structure, future fertility levels and migration patterns. By 2021, 16 territorial authority areas will have at least 25 percent of their population aged 65 years and over, and two areas will have at least 30 percent (Central Otago and Waitaki districts).

For New Zealand overall, the median age (half the population is younger, and half older, than this age) is projected to increase from 35 years in 2001 to 40 years by 2021. However, six territorial authority areas will exceed a median age of 50 years in 2021: Central Otago, Waitaki, Thames-Coromandel, Buller, South Wairarapa and Banks Peninsula districts. Another twelve districts will have a median age between 48 and 50 years.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

END


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