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Birthplace and people born overseas
  • The number and proportion of people who were born overseas and are now living in New Zealand has continued to increase. In 2006, 22.9 percent of people usually living in New Zealand (or 879,543 people) were born overseas, compared with 19.5 percent in 2001 and 17.5 percent in 1996.

Population born overseas 

  • Areas from which overseas-born people (now living in New Zealand) came from are changing. In 2001, almost one-third (32.2 percent) of people born overseas were born in the United Kingdom and Ireland (New Zealand's most significant source of migrants historically), but by 2006, the proportion from this area had dropped to 28.6 percent. In contrast, the proportion of overseas-born people who were born in Asia increased from 23.7 percent in 2001 to reach 28.6 percent in 2006, and equalled the proportion born in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
  • Source countries of people born overseas have also changed. In 2006, England remained the most common overseas birthplace, but the People's Republic of China moved from the fourth most common birthplace in 2001, to the second most common in 2006 (after England) – with the number of people born there more than doubling during this period. Australia and Samoa have dropped one place each to third and fourth, respectively in 2006.
  • The number of people born in India who were living in New Zealand, more than doubled between 2001 and 2006. The number of people born in the Republic of Korea, South Africa and Fiji also increased significantly.
Rankings of Nine Most Common Overseas Birthplaces in the 2006 Census, Compared with Selected Censuses 
2006, 2001, 1981 and 1956 Censuses
Birthplace 2006  2001  1981   1956  
Count   Rank  Count  Rank  Count   Rank  Count   Rank 
England 202,401 1 178,203 1 173,181 1 144,030 1
People's Republic of China(1) 78,117  38,949 4 4,269  16 3,882  9
Australia(2)  62,742  3 56,259  2 43,809 2 35,916 3
Samoa  50,649   47,118  3 24,141  4 2,994   11
India 43,344  20,892  9 6,018  12 4,467 
8
South Africa  41,676  26,061 6 3,996  17 1,701   19
Fiji  37,746  25,725  7 6,372  9 2,274   13
Scotland  29,016   28,680  5 39,138  3 46,401  2
Republic of Korea  28,806   17,931  11 87   89 ..   ..

1. The 1981 figure includes Taiwan.
2. Includes Australian External Territories.

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Location

  • Over one-third (37.0 percent) of people who lived in the Auckland Region were born overseas, compared with the Southland Region, where around 1 in 13 people (7.6 percent) were born overseas.
  • The Auckland Region had the highest proportion of usual residents born in the Pacific Islands (8.1 percent) and Asia (13.5 percent). Nelson Region had the highest proportion of usual residents born in the United Kingdom and Ireland (9.1 percent).
  • Of the cities and districts, Manukau City had the highest proportion of usual residents born in the Pacific Islands (16.0 percent), while Kapiti Coast and Rodney Districts had the highest proportions born in the United Kingdom and Ireland (12.7 and 12.6 percent, respectively). Almost 1 in 5 people (18.4 percent) usually living in Auckland City were born in Asia. Queenstown-Lakes District had the highest proportion of usual residents born in Australia (4.2 percent).

Population born overseas by region

Characteristics of people born overseas

  • There were more new migrants in New Zealand at the time of the 2006 Census than at the time of the 2001 Census. In 2006, almost one-third (32.3 percent) of people born overseas had been living in New Zealand for four years or less, compared with 27.5 percent in 2001.
  • In 2006, one-third of those born overseas (33.0 percent) had been living in New Zealand for 20 years or more.
  • The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of people arriving to live in New Zealand differed, depending on the area they were from. In 2006, the median age of both people born in Asia and of people born in the Pacific Islands who had been living in New Zealand for four years or less, was 26.2 years. Those from the United Kingdom and Ireland tended to be older, with a median age of 32.4 years.
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