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Asian Population Projections to 2021

10 June 2003 Media Statement

Asian Population Projections to 2021

Latest projections show New Zealand's Asian population is likely to double in the next couple of decades, Statistics Minister John Tamihere says.

National Asian Population Projections to 2021 issued by Statistics NZ today show New Zealand's Asian population is projected to reach 604,000 by 2021 – more than double the Asian population of 272,000 at June 30, 2001.

That compares with a projected increase of 28 per cent in the Maori population, and 58 per cent increase in the Pacific Island population by 2021.

The projections show increases in the New Zealand Asian population are likely to be largely driven by net migration. During the projection period, net migration is expected to contribute 2.4 times as much growth as natural increase (through higher number of births over deaths).

However the growth rate of the Asian population is projected to slow over the projection period, mainly due to a drop in assumed migration from 119,000 during 2002-2006, to 55,000 during 2007-2011, and to 30,000 during 2017-2021. The annual growth rate of the Asian population is projected to fall fom 13 per cent in 2002 to 4 per cent in 2007, and to under 2 per cent by 2021.

The Asian population will become older, but will still have a younger age structure than the general population. The median age of the Asian population is projected to reach 36.1 years in 2021, compared with a median age of 28.6 in 2001. This compares with a median age of 39.8 years for the overall New Zealand population by 2021, and 34.7 years in 2001.

While the number of Asian children (0-14 years) is projected to nearly double by 2021, from 61,000 in 2001 to 118,000 in 2021, children will make up a smaller proportion of the Asian population – dropping from 23 per cent in 2001 to 19 per cent in 2021.

The working-age Asian population (15-64 years) is projected to more than double from 200,000 in 2001 to 431,000 in 2021, comprising 71 per cent of the Asian population (down slightly from 73 per cent in 2001).

The number of Asians aged 65 and over is projected to reach 55,000 by 2021, up from 11,000 in 2001. Those aged over 65 will comprise 9 per cent of the Asian population by 2021, up from 4 per cent in 2001.

Mr Tamihere said the Asian population projections, in conjunction with the Maori and Pacific Island population projections issued in the last few weeks, provided valuable information that would help the Government and a variety of sectors meet the various challenges created by population change.

"We must recognise the fact that New Zealand society is becoming ethnically diverse, and ensure that we plan to cope with the additional pressures these changes may bring to different sectors, such as education, employment, housing and health."

Projections figures are available in more detail on Statistics NZ's website:


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