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National population estimated at 4.93 million


The estimated resident population as at 31 December 2018 is 4.93 million, up from 4.84 million in December 2017, Stats NZ said today.

The annual population growth rate was 1.7 percent.

We used the new official outcomes measure of migration to update the estimate of the population for the first time, in the December quarter 2018 national population estimates.

“Migration data is an essential component of population change, and from November 2018 onward will only be available using the new outcomes measure,” population insights senior manager Brooke Theyers said.

The outcomes-based migration measure is a more accurate measure of migration than the previously used intentions-based ‘permanent and long-term’ (PLT) measure (which concluded in October 2018 with the removal of the departure card).

It is more accurate because the outcomes measure reflects actual – not intended – durations of stay/absence.

The data we used to update the population estimates for the December quarter 2018 is consistent with migration data released on 15 February 2019 in International migration: December 2018. Before this quarter data may not be consistent as updates to the population were based on the previous intentions measure.

The December 2018 quarter update to the population estimates includes data for all three months of the quarter using the new migration measure.



The new outcomes migration measure only affects the most recent published quarter of population estimates. The historic series will be revised, at a date yet to be decided.

We will advise users of population estimates about the timetable for upcoming revisions when available. These revisions will incorporate new migration estimates and 2018 Census data, however these revisions may be done separately.

The national population estimates in today’s release are based on 2013 Census results and estimated population change since 2013.

International migration uses new official measure has more information on the outcomes-based measure of migration.

Are we there yet? Heading for a population of 5 million explains how we measure population.

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