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Net migration provisionally at 56,100


Migrant arrivals were provisionally estimated at 152,200 (± 1,400) and migrant departures at 96,100 (± 1,200) in the 12 months ended March 2019, Stats NZ said today. This resulted in a provisional estimate of annual net migration of 56,100 (± 1,600).

“We’ve seen sustained high levels of net migration over the last five years,” senior population insights manager Brooke Theyers said.

“Annual net migration has ranged between 48,000 and 64,000 since the year ended December 2014. The only previous time it reached these levels was over a much shorter period over 2002 to 2003.”


Text alternative for graph, Migration estimates (thousands) by direction, rolling annual, year ended December 2001 to March 2019

Net migration revised down for year ended February 2019

Provisionally estimated net migration for the year ended February 2019 has been revised down to 55,100 (± 1,400) from 61,600 (± 1,800). Provisionally estimated migrant arrivals were lower, and migrant departures higher, than initial estimates. Consequently, the revised provisional net migration is 6,500 lower than initial estimates.

Migration estimates up to November 2017 are now final. Estimates after November 2017 are subject to further revision, especially months after October 2018.

Year ended October 2018

The provisional estimate of net migration for the year ended October 2018 is 51,200 (± 700). Migrant arrivals are provisionally estimated at 143,800 (± 600) and migrant departures at 92,700 (± 500).

These compare with the estimated 142,500 (± 1,100) migrant arrivals and 97,200 (± 1,000) migrant departures first published in January 2019. Net migration was estimated at 45,200 (± 1,200).

With each extra month of data, the migration estimation model has more information about the border crossings it is trying to estimate.

“When the October estimates were first published in January 2019, only 88 percent of border crossings were definitively classified,” Mrs Theyers said.

“Now, in May 2019, 98 percent can be classified and only 2 percent need to be modelled.

“Given there were 13.9 million border crossings in the October 2018 year, this 2 percent equates to 180,000 arrivals and 120,000 departures.”

Country of citizenship

In the year ended October 2018, estimated migrant arrivals were mostly citizens of Asian countries or Oceania (New Zealand, Australia, and Pacific countries). The largest groups were citizens of:
• New Zealand – 35,600 (± 300), 25 percent of total migrant arrivals
• China – 15,700 (± 200)
• India – 14,700 (± 100).

Estimated migrant departures in the October 2018 year were mostly citizens from Oceania or Asian countries. The largest groups were citizens of:
• New Zealand – 43,400 (± 400), 47 percent of total migrant departures
• China – 7,900 (± 100)
• United Kingdom – 6,200 (± 100).

There was a net loss of New Zealand citizens in the October 2018 year – 7,800 (± 500) more left the country long-term than returned.


Text alternative for diagram, Estimated migration (mean estimate), year ended October 2018

Text alternative for graph, Migration estimates (thousands) by direction, rolling annual, year ended December 2001 to March 2019

Three time-series line graphs show migration estimates for migrant arrivals, migrant departures, and net migration, from rolling annual years ended December 2001 to March 2019 – for experimental series and new series. The graphs show final estimates from May 2015 to November 2017, and provisional estimates from December 2017 to March 2019, for the new series outcomes-based measure of migration. An experimental outcomes-based series for December 2001 to June 2017 gives a longer time series. The new series follows from the experimental series and shows similar ups and downs for migrant arrivals, migrant departures, and net migration.

Text alternative for diagram, Estimated migration (mean estimate), year ended October 2018

Diagram shows migration estimates for migrant arrivals, migrant departures, and net migration, for the year ended October 2018. Arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens were 108,200 (± 500) and departures were 49,300 (± 300), making a net migration gain of 58,900 (± 600) non-New Zealand citizens. Arrivals of New Zealand citizens were 35,600 (± 300) and departures were 43,400 (± 400), making a net migration loss of 7,800 (± 500) New Zealand citizens. Result is a net migration gain of 51,200 (± 700). Note: The provisional estimates have 95 percent confidence intervals (±) alongside them - the wider the interval, the greater the uncertainty about the estimate. However, these intervals reflect the model uncertainty, not the extent of future revisions to provisional data.

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