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2013 Census Usually Resident Population Counts
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  15 October 2013
Commentary

The 33rd New Zealand Census of Population and Dwellings was held on 5 March 2013. It was originally scheduled for March 2011 but was cancelled following the 22 February Christchurch earthquake. The national state of emergency and the likely impact on census results meant that the 2011 Census could not have been successfully completed at that time. The change in the data between 2006 and 2013 may be greater than in the usual five-year gap between censuses. Be careful when comparing trends.

This is a release of census usually resident population counts by regional council area, territorial authority area, and area unit. It also includes local board counts for Auckland.

The population number is lower than New Zealand’s estimated resident population, which includes residents temporarily overseas at the time of the census and an adjustment for people missed by the census (net census undercount).

New Zealand’s population increases by over 200,000

New Zealand’s 2013 Census usually resident population count was 4,242,048. This was a 5.3 percent increase from the 2006 Census, when New Zealand’s population was 4,027,947.

On average, the population grew by about 31,000 (0.7 percent) per year since the last census. This was about half the rate of growth between 2001 and 2006, when the population grew by about 58,000 per year (1.5 percent). The 2001 to 2006 growth rate was high for New Zealand historically.

Auckland still fastest-growing region in New Zealand

All regional council areas showed population growth or had steady populations between 2006 and 2013, except for Gisborne, which had a small decline.

Auckland was the fastest-growing region, increasing by 8.5 percent to 1,415,550 at the 2013 Census. Auckland accounted for over half of New Zealand’s population growth between 2006 and 2013.

Nelson was the second-fastest-growing region, up 8.3 percent to 46,437, followed by Waikato, which increased 6 percent to 403,638.

Southland’s population experienced an increase between 2006 and 2013, up 2.7 percent to 93,339. This was in contrast to being the only region to have a small decline between 2001 and 2006.  

Graph, Change in census usually resident population count, by regional council area, 2001–06 and 2006–13 Censuses.

Rapid growth in Canterbury outside Christchurch city

Canterbury is the second-largest region in New Zealand after Auckland, with a census usually resident population count of 539,433. Despite the series of earthquakes beginning in 2010, the Canterbury population grew between 2006 and 2013 – up 17,601 people (3.4 percent). This was a smaller increase than between 2001 and 2006, when the population grew by 40,401 (8.4 percent).

Eight of the 10 Canterbury territorial authority areas experienced population increase between 2006 and 2013.

Population counts(1) and change for the Canterbury region
By territorial authority area
2006–2013 Censuses
Territorial authority area Population count Change (%)
2006 2013 2006–2013
Kaikoura district 3,621 3,555 -1.8
Hurunui district 10,476 11,529 10.1
Waimakariri district 42,834 49,989 16.7
Christchurch city 348,456 341,469 -2.0
Selwyn district 33,642 44,595 32.6
Ashburton district 27,372 31,041 13.4
Timaru district 42,867 43,929 2.5
Mackenzie district 3,801 4,158 9.4
Waimate district 7,206 7,536 4.6
Waitaki district(2) 20,223 20,826 3.0
1. Census usually resident population counts.
2. Waitaki district is partly in the Canterbury region and partly in the Otago region. The figures stated in the table are for the whole district.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

The territorial authority areas closest to Christchurch city experienced the greatest population growth, partly due to movement out of the city. Selwyn district gained 10,953 people (up 32.6 percent) and Waimakariri district gained 7,155 people (up 16.7 percent).

Christchurch city’s population declined 2 percent to 341,469 people. Kaikoura district declined 1.8 percent to 3,555 people.  

Graph, Change in census usually resident population count, Canterbury region, 2001–06 and 2006–13 Censuses.

Selwyn fastest-growing territorial authority area

Forty-seven of the 67 territorial authority areas experienced population growth since the 2006 Census.

Selwyn district was the fastest-growing territorial authority area, increasing by a third (10,953 people) to 44,595. Queenstown-Lakes and Waimakariri were the next-fastest-growing districts, increasing 22.9 percent and 16.7 percent, respectively. These three districts were also the fastest-growing between 2001 and 2006.

Five of the top 10 areas with the largest population growth were in the Canterbury region. Four were in the North Island: Carterton district, Tauranga city, Waikato district, and Waipa district.

Top 10 territorial authority areas with increased populations
2013 Census

Territorial authority area Population count(1) Increase (%)
2006 2013 2006–2013
Selwyn district  33,642 44,595 32.6
Queenstown-Lakes district 22,959 28,224 22.9
Waimakariri district 42,834 49,989 16.7
Carterton district 7,098 8,235 16
Ashburton district 27,372 31,041 13.4
Tauranga city district 103,881 114,789 10.5
Waikato district 57,585 63,378 10.1
Hurunui district 10,476 11,529 10.1
Waipa district 42,501 46,668 9.8
Mackenzie district 3,801 4,158 9.4
1. Census usually resident population count.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Carterton district was the fastest-growing territorial authority area in the North Island, increasing its population to 8,235 people (up 16 percent). Carterton had the fourth-fastest population growth among territorial authority areas.

There were 20 territorial authority areas with lower census usually resident population counts in 2013 than in 2006. Of these, three-quarters were in the North Island. 

Order of New Zealand cities changes only slightly

The order of New Zealand’s cities, in terms of total population, only varied slightly between 2001 and 2013. Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington continue to be New Zealand’s largest cities. Tauranga city overtook Lower Hutt city to be ranked sixth largest city in 2006, while in 2013 Porirua city overtook Invercargill city to be ranked 10th.

Population counts(1) for New Zealand cities
2001–2013 Censuses
City 2001 2006 2013
Rank Count Rank Count Rank Count
Auckland 1 1,160,271 1 1,304,958 1 1,415,550
Christchurch 2 324,081 2 348,456 2 341,469
Wellington 3 163,824 3 179,466 3 190,956
Hamilton 4 116,604 4 129,588 4 141,615
Dunedin 5 114,342 5 118,683 5 120,246
Tauranga 7 91,143 6 103,881 6 114,789
Lower Hutt 6 95,490 7 97,701 7 98,238
Palmerston North 8 73,965 8 77,727 8 80,079
Napier 9 53,658 9 55,359 9 57,240
Porirua 11 47,370 11 48,546 10 51,717
Invercargill 10 49,830 10 50,328 11 51,696
Nelson 12 41,568 12 42,888 12 46,437
Upper Hutt 13 36,372 13 38,415 13 40,179
1. Census usually resident population counts.  Source: Statistics New Zealand

Graph, Change in usually resident population count, by North Island territorial authority area, 2006 to 2013 Censuses.

Graph, Change in usually resident population count, by South Island territorial authority area, 2006 to 2013 Censuses.

Auckland local board areas all grow

All Auckland local board areas experienced population growth between 2006 and 2013. Upper Harbour, Waitemata, and Howick experienced the fastest rates of growth.

The Auckland region makes up around a third of the New Zealand population. On 1 November 2010, Auckland Council became a unitary authority, when Auckland regional council area and seven territorial authority areas – Rodney district, North Shore city, Waitakere city, Auckland city, Manukau city, Papakura district, and Franklin district – amalgamated.

Because of Auckland’s large population, counts are provided below for 21 local board areas to provide lower level information about Auckland.  

Population counts(1) and change for Auckland local board areas 
2006–2013 Censuses
Local board area Population count Increase (%)
2006 2013 2006–2013
Rodney 49,359 54,879 11.2
Hibiscus and Bays 81,858 89,832 9.7 
Upper Harbour 42,873 53,670 25.2
Kaipatiki 79,131 82,494 4.2
Devonport-Takapuna 52,653 55,470 5.4
Henderson-Massey 98,787 107,685 9.0
Waitakere Ranges 45,498 48,396 6.4
Great Barrier 894 939 5.0
Waiheke 7,797 8,340 7.0
Waitemata 62,928 77,136 22.6
Whau 69,171 72,594 4.9
Albert-Eden 90,978 94,695 4.1
Puketapapa 50,805 52,938 4.2
Orakei 74,520 79,536 6.7
Maungakiekie-Tamaki 66,375 70,005 5.5
Howick 113,505 127,125 12.0
Mangere-Otahuhu 68,151 70,959 4.1
Otara-Papatoetoe 72,324 75,660 4.6
Manurewa 77,190 82,242 6.5
Papakura 41,559 45,633 9.8
Franklin 58,602 65,322 11.5
1. Census usually resident population counts.
Source: Statistics New Zealand

Graph, Change in usually resident population count, by Auckland local area board, 2006 to 2013 Censuses.

For more detailed data see the Excel tables in the ‘Downloads’ box.

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