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Population Growth Eases

Population Growth Eases

The resident population of New Zealand was estimated at 4,054,200 at 31 March 2004, according to the latest population estimates released by Statistics New Zealand. In the March 2004 year, the estimated population growth was 56,700 (1.4 percent) lower than the growth of 68,400 (1.7 percent) recorded in the March 2003 year. The population change recorded in the March 2004 year is still higher than the average annual increase of 44,500 (1.2 percent) for March years from 1994 to 2004.

The net gain from permanent and long-term migration accounted for almost half (49 percent) of the population growth in the March 2004 year, whereas in the March 2003 year, the relative gain from permanent and long-term migration reached a high of 61 percent. In the March 2004 year, permanent and long-term arrivals exceeded departures by 28,000. The remaining 51 percent of the population growth was due to natural increase (excess of births over deaths). Natural increase was 28,700 in the March 2004 year, a marginal increase of 1,200 when compared with the March 2003 year (26,900).

The population aged 65 years and over (65+) continues to be the age group with the highest population growth. The 65+ age group has grown by 70,800 (17.1 percent) over the last decade to reach 484,800 at 31 March 2004. The working-age population (15–64 years), which accounted for 66.2 percent of the population in the March 2004 year, was estimated at 2,683,700 in 2004, an increase of 319,700 (13.5 percent) when compared with the March 1994 year. The number of children aged under 15 years grew by a smaller margin of 52,300 (6.3 percent) during the same 10-year period, to reach 885,600 in the March 2004 year.

Ian Ewing

Acting Government Statistician

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