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Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2010
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  26 October 2010
Commentary

Background

This information release contains estimates of the resident population of regional council areas, territorial authority areas (cities and districts), and main and secondary urban areas in New Zealand, at 30 June 2010. Estimates by age and sex for regional council areas, territorial authority areas, and area units ('suburbs') will be available on the Statistics NZ website (via Table Builder) on 20 December 2010.

Population estimates give the best available measure of the size and age-sex structure of the population usually living in an area. Estimates are based on the latest census data and on births, deaths, and migration since the census. National population estimates are published quarterly and subnational population estimates are published annually.

The estimates in this release are provisional. They incorporate provisional estimates of the number of births and deaths that occurred in the June 2010 year. Final estimates will be available by 30 November 2010. In addition, population estimates after 30 June 2006 will be revised following results from the 2011 Census of Population and Dwellings.

National population change

New Zealand’s population grew by 51,900 (1.2 percent) in the June 2010 year to reach 4,367,700. This population growth resulted from a natural increase (excess of births over deaths) of 35,400, and a net permanent and long-term (PLT) migration gain of 16,500 people.

New Zealand's population growth from natural increase has been relatively high in recent times, exceeding 33,000 in each of the 2007–10 June years. These levels of natural increase were higher than in preceding June years because of an increase in the number of births. The level of natural increase in the June 2010 year (35,400) was New Zealand’s second highest natural increase for a June year since 1973. It was slightly lower than the level of natural increase in the June 2008 year (35,800).

New Zealand experienced a rise in net PLT migration during the 2009 and 2010 June years, largely because of fewer people departing the country on a permanent or long-term basis. The level of PLT departures in the June 2010 year was 13 percent lower than the 2009 figure, and was the lowest level for a June year since 2004. Because of the decrease in PLT departures, the population of many subnational areas grew faster in the June 2010 year than in the preceding June 2009 year. 

North and South Islands

The population of the North Island continued to grow at a slightly faster rate than that of the South Island. In the June 2010 year, natural increase was the main component in the North Island's population growth, accounting for about three-quarters of total growth. In contrast, natural increase and net migration each contributed around half to population growth in the South Island.

An estimated 3,328,700 people lived in the North Island at 30 June 2010, an increase of 41,100 (1.2 percent) from 30 June 2009. The estimated resident population of the South Island grew by 10,900 (1.1 percent) in the June 2010 year to reach 1,038,300. At 30 June 2010, 76 out of every 100 New Zealand residents lived in the North Island.

Regions

All of New Zealand's 16 regions had population growth during the June 2010 year. Rates of population growth ranged from 0.4 percent (West Coast) to 1.6 percent (Auckland). Waikato and Canterbury grew at a similar rate to the national average (1.2 percent), but Auckland was the only region that grew faster than 1.2 percent.

Auckland maintained its position as New Zealand's fastest-growing region, a position it has held for the last nine June years. Like most other regions, Auckland recorded a rise in estimated net migration during the June 2010 year. However, natural increase (excess of births over deaths) made the main contribution to Auckland's growth, accounting for 69 percent of growth in the June 2010 year.

Graph, Regional population change, year ended 30 June 2010.

In the June 2010 year, all 16 regions had population gains from natural increase and 12 regions had population gains from net migration (international and internal migration combined). Natural increase made the main contribution to population growth in many regions. The exceptions were Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough, and Canterbury (where natural increase and net migration made similar contributions to population growth), and Otago (where net migration accounted for 60 percent of population growth). Three regions recorded small net migration losses in the June 2010 year (Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui, and West Coast).

Auckland, with an estimated resident population of 1,459,700 at 30 June 2010, was home to about one-third of New Zealand residents. The four northernmost regions (Northland, Auckland, Waikato, and Bay of Plenty) contained just over half (53 percent) New Zealand's population. Canterbury, with an estimated resident population of 565,800, was home to 54 percent of South Island residents.

Cities and districts

New Zealand is made up of 73 territorial authority areas: 16 cities, 56 districts, and the Chatham Islands territory. In the June 2010 year, 68 of the 73 territorial authority areas had population increases, up from 64 in 2009 and 59 in 2008. The highest rates of growth in the June 2010 year were recorded in the Selwyn and Queenstown-Lakes districts (both up 2.5 percent).

Among the territorial authority areas there were contrasting changes. For many areas, net migration and population growth increased in the June 2010 year. However, several areas that had grown relatively quickly in recent times (including Selwyn district and Tauranga city) grew at a slower rate in the June 2010 year. The slower growth in these areas was largely due to a decrease in net migration.

Graph, Fastest growing territorial authority areas, year ended 30 June 2010.

Rodney district, which will soon be amalgamated into the new Auckland Council area, now has an estimated resident population of 100,000. In reaching this population milestone, Rodney district became New Zealand's eleventh territorial authority area with a population of 100,000 or more. In the ten-year period ended 30 June 2010, the population of Rodney district grew by 23,300. With an average annual growth rate of 2.7 percent, it was New Zealand's third fastest-growing territorial authority area in this decade.

Five territorial authority areas recorded slight population decreases in the June 2010 year (Kawerau, Opotiki, Ruapehu and Rangitikei districts, and the Chatham Islands territory). The largest rate of population decrease was in Ruapehu district (0.6 percent).

 Map, Population change, North Island territorial authority areas, year ended 30 June 2010.

Map, Population change, South Island territorial authority areas, year ended 30 June 2010. 

Urban areas

New Zealand continues to be a highly urbanised country, with 78 out of every 100 New Zealand residents living in either a main or secondary urban area. At 30 June 2010, the estimated resident population of the 16 main urban areas was 3,163,400 (72 percent of New Zealand's population). A further 253,500 people lived in secondary urban areas (6 percent of New Zealand's population). The main and secondary urban populations increased by 40,900 (1.3 percent) and 1,400 (0.5 percent), respectively, during the June 2010 year.

 Graphs, main and secondary urban area population change, year ended 30 June 2010. 

The four largest urban areas – Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch – were home to 54 percent of New Zealand residents at 30 June 2010. The population of the Wellington and Christchurch urban areas remained very close in size, at 389,700 and 390,300, respectively.

In the June 2010 year, the fastest-growing main urban areas were Auckland and Hamilton (both up 1.6 percent), followed by Tauranga (up 1.5 percent). Thirteen of the 14 secondary urban areas recorded positive growth rates during the June 2010 year, ranging from 0.1 percent (Whakatane, Levin, and Oamaru) to 2.4 percent (Pukekohe). Tokoroa had a small population decrease of 50 people (0.4 percent).

Boundary changes at 1 November 2010

A new unitary authority (the Auckland Council) becomes operational on 1 November 2010, and several related boundary changes come into effect.

At the regional council level, the boundary that demarcates the Auckland and Waikato regions will change. Because of this change, the estimated resident population of the Auckland region will increase by 2,200, while the population of the Waikato region will decrease by a similar amount. 

Estimated resident population at 30 June 2010 P
Selected regional council areas
Regional council area Boundaries at 30 June 2010  Boundaries at 1 November 2010 
Auckland region  1,459,700    1,462,000 
Waikato region  411,500   409,300
Symbol: P    provisional

At the territorial authority level, two districts (Rodney and Papakura) and four cities (North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, and Manukau) will become part of the new Auckland Council area. The Franklin district will be divided between three territorial authority areas: Auckland, Hauraki district, and Waikato district.

Following these changes, the estimated resident population of the Hauraki and Waikato districts will increase by 700 and 15,500, respectively. Waikato district, with a population of 63,800 at 30 June 2010, will be New Zealand's fifth most populated district (after the Whangarei, Hastings, New Plymouth, and Rotorua districts). Auckland will be New Zealand's most populated territorial authority area by a wide margin. Its population at 30 June 2010 (1,462,000) will be almost four times the size of New Zealand's second most populated territorial authority area (Christchurch city). 

Estimated resident population at 30 June 2010 P
Selected territorial authority areas
Territorial authority area Boundaries at 30 June 2010  Boundaries at 1 November 2010 
Hauraki district  17,900 18,650
Waikato district  48,300 63,800
Symbol: P    provisional

Future releases of subnational population estimates will incorporate these new boundaries. Subnational population estimates at 30 June 2001–10, based on boundaries at 1 November 2010, are available from the Subnational population estimates tables page on the Statistics NZ website (www.stats.govt.nz).

For technical information contact:
Alan Ambury or Esther Hogenhout
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: demography@stats.govt.nz

Next release ...

Subnational Population Estimates: At 30 June 2011 will be released on 25 October 2011.

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