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Almost 750,000 Mäori by 2021

Almost 750,000 Mäori by 2021

New Zealand's Mäori population is projected to reach 749,000 in 2021, according to Statistics New Zealand. This is an increase of 163,000 or 28 percent over the estimated resident population of Mäori ethnicity of 586,000 at 30 June 2001.

This is according to series 6 of the latest National Mäori Population Projections (2001-base). The annual growth rate of the Mäori population is projected to slow from 1.4 percent in 2002 to 1.2 percent in 2021.

However, the Mäori population will still grow at a faster pace than the total New Zealand population. Consequently, the Mäori share of the total population is projected to rise from 15 percent in 2001 to 17 percent in 2021.

The faster growth of the Mäori population compared with the total population is mainly due to the higher birth rates and younger age structure of the Mäori population. Although Mäori fertility rates are assumed to decline, Mäori births are projected to increase from 15,000 in 2002 to 16,800 in 2021 because of the increase in the number of Mäori women in the childbearing ages (15–49 years).

The number of Mäori deaths will also increase, from 2,500 in 2002 to over 3,400 in 2021. The age structure of the Mäori population will undergo changes reflecting the combined impact of reduced fertility, gains in longevity and the ageing of the Mäori population.

By 2021, half the Mäori population will be older than 27 years, compared with a median age of 22 years in 2001.

This is still significantly younger than the total New Zealand population, which is projected to have a median age of 40 years in 2021, up from 35 years in 2001.

The most rapid growth among the age groups will occur in the number of Mäori aged 65+ years, which is projected to almost treble – from 20,000 in 2001 to 57,000 in 2021.

The 65+ age group will comprise 8 percent of the total Mäori population in 2021 compared with 3 percent in 2001. The Mäori working-age population (defined as those aged 15–64 years) is projected to increase by 34 percent from 350,000 in 2001 to 468,000 in 2021.

Most of the increase will be in the older half of this age group (40–64 years) as the large number of people born in the 1950s to 1970s move into these ages. The Mäori population aged 40–64 years is projected to increase 62 percent from 115,000 in 2001 to 186,000 in 2021.

The number of Mäori children (0–14 years) is projected to remain stable between 2001 and 2016 before increasing to 225,000 in 2021. Their share of the Mäori population is expected to decrease from 37 percent to 30 percent over the 20-year projection period.

However, Mäori children will make up about 28 percent of all New Zealand children in 2021, compared with 25 percent in 2001. This increasing share reflects the higher birth rate of the Mäori population.

Series 6 of the Mäori population projections referred to above is one of 11 alternative series produced using different assumptions about future changes in fertility, mortality, migration and inter-ethnic mobility patterns.

The projections are subject to uncertainty and should be used as an indication, rather than exact forecasts, of future changes in Mäori population size and structure.

They are based on the concept of self-identification of ethnicity, and exclude those people who have Mäori ancestry but do not identify with the Mäori ethnicity.

Projections of the Pacific, Asian and European populations will be progressively released during May and June. People who identify with more than one ethnicity will be included in each ethnic population.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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