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Number of overseas-born tops 1 million, 2013 Census shows

Number of overseas-born tops 1 million, 2013 Census shows

15 April 2014

The number of New Zealanders who were born overseas had reached more than a million by the 2013 Census, Statistics NZ said today. This increase has led to more diversity in our ethnic, religious, and linguistic make-up.

“People born overseas now make up more than a quarter of New Zealand’s population, and results from last year’s census show that they’re coming from an increasingly diverse range of countries,” General Manager 2013 Census Gareth Meech said. “Back in 1961, two-thirds of overseas-born people came from the United Kingdom and Ireland. By 2013, that figure had dropped to just over a quarter.”

While England remained the most common overseas country of birth at the 2013 Census, with China second, India replaced Australia as the third most common. Australia dropped to fourth position, followed by South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, and the Philippines.

New Zealand’s Asian ethnic group population almost doubled over the last 12 years. In 2013, 471,708 people identified with at least one Asian ethnicity, compared with 238,179 in 2001. Within this grouping, the Indian ethnic group was among the fastest growing, increasing almost 50 percent since 2006. This compared with an increase of 16.2 percent for people of Chinese ethnicity, which remained the most common Asian ethnic group in 2013.

“The growing Asian population is reflected by a rise in the number of people identifying with non-Christian religions,” said Mr Meech. “The number of people who affiliated with the Hindu religion increased 39.6 percent since 2006, and Islam grew 27.9 percent.”

New Zealand is also becoming more multilingual. In 2013, 18.6 percent of us could speak more than one language, up from 15.8 percent in 2001. The Hindi and Northern Chinese languages had large increases, with the number of Hindi speakers almost tripling since 2001, and speakers of Northern Chinese languages (such as Mandarin) almost doubling.

“This kind of information helps organisations, researchers, and community groups better understand the cultural make-up of our society, and how this is changing over time,” said Mr Meech. “Combined with other census data, this information means organisations can target the services they provide to meet the needs of a growing range of communities.”

2013 Census QuickStats about culture and identity has more about the ethnic groups New Zealanders belong to, the countries they were born in, the languages they speak, and the religions they affiliate with.

Major ethnic groups in New Zealand – infographic shows some of the key features of New Zealand’s major ethnic group populations.


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