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Population Increase for Cities High

Population Increase for Cities High

There is an increasing concentration of New Zealand's population in cities and larger districts, according to the latest subnational population estimates for regional councils and territorial authorities released by Statistics New Zealand. The combined population of New Zealand's cities grew by 53,900, or 2.4 percent during the June 2003 year to reach 2,304,700. In comparison, the combined population of the districts increased by 16,600 or 1.0 percent to reach 1,703,700. Cities are now home to 57.5 percent of all New Zealanders, compared with 56.8 percent in 2001.

At 30 June 2003, the estimated resident population of the North Island was 3,047,900 (up 56,100 or 1.9 percent on June 2002), while that of the South Island was 961,600 (up 14,300 or 1.5 percent). The North Island is now home to 76.0 percent of New Zealand residents, compared with 75.3 percent in 1996.

The Auckland Region experienced the largest growth in population during the past 12 months. Its resident population increased by an estimated 39,300 or 3.1 percent to reach 1,291,000 people at 30 June 2003. About 32 percent (or roughly one in three) of all New Zealanders now live in the Auckland Region.

Three other regions experienced an estimated population growth rate either equal to or exceeding the national average of 1.8 percent: Tasman (2.7 percent), Nelson (2.1 percent) and Canterbury (1.8 percent). Another four regions recorded growth rates just below the national average. They were Bay of Plenty (1.5 percent), Marlborough (1.4 percent), and Waikato and Otago (both 1.2 percent). Four regions – three in the North Island and one in the South Island – had estimated increases below 1 percent, whereas the Gisborne Region had no growth and the West Coast Region had a decrease of 0.3 percent.

In general, the percentage changes in regional population were larger during the June 2003 year than during the June 2002 year because of a larger natural increase (excess of births over deaths) and a larger net external immigration (excess of arrivals over departures) during the June 2003 year. Natural increase and net external immigration were 27,900 and 42,500, respectively, during the June 2003 year, compared with 25,800 and 32,800, respectively, during the June 2002 year.

Of the 74 territorial authorities, 49 (all 15 cities and 34 of the 58 districts) were estimated to have experienced population growth in the year to 30 June 2003. Auckland City recorded the largest increase (13,700), followed by Manukau City (10,200), Christchurch City (6,800), North Shore City (6,100), Waitakere City (4,900), Wellington City (4,500), and Rodney District and Hamilton City (both 3,000). Other areas to show significant growth were Tauranga, Queenstown-Lakes, Tasman and Franklin Districts, and Palmerston North City, which recorded population increases ranging between 1,200 and 2,900. The population of four territorial authorities (Gisborne, Horowhenua, and Timaru Districts, and Chatham Islands Territory) were estimated to have remained unchanged.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician

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