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Subnational population estimates

The following highlights are based on the estimated resident population and subnational boundaries at 30 June 2010:

  • All of New Zealand’s 16 regions recorded population growth in the June 2010 year. The fastest-growing region was Auckland (up 1.6 percent).
  • The fastest-growing territorial authority areas in the June 2010 year were Selwyn and Queenstown-Lakes district (both up 2.5 percent).
  • At 30 June 2010, 72 out of every 100 New Zealand residents lived in one of New Zealand’s 16 main urban areas.

Figure 6

 Map, Regional population change


Introduction

The estimated resident population of an area in New Zealand is an estimate of all people who usually live in that area at a given date. The latest population estimates available are based on the census usually resident population count of each area from the 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings (held 7 March 2006). These counts are then updated for residents who are missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount); residents temporarily overseas on census night; reconciliation with demographic estimates at ages 0–4 years; and births, deaths, and net migration between census night and the date of the estimate.

North and South Islands

In the June 2010 year, the population of the North Island continued to grow at a slightly faster rate than that of the South Island. An estimated 3,328,900 people lived in the North Island at 30 June 2010, an increase of 41,200 (1.3 percent) from 30 June 2009. The estimated resident population of the South Island grew by 10,800 (1.0 percent) in the June 2010 year to reach 1,038,200. At 30 June 2010, 76 out of every 100 New Zealand residents lived in the North Island.

Natural increase (excess of births over deaths) was the main component of the North Island’s population growth in the June 2010 year, 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.

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.

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 61 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 565,700, 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.

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 (0.5 percent).

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 3,163,300 (72 percent of New Zealand's population). A further 253,600 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 (0.6 percent), respectively, during the June 2010 year.

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 (Levin and Oamaru) to 2.4 percent (Pukekohe). Tokoroa had a small population decrease of 50 people (0.3 percent).

Boundary changes at 1 November 2010

A new unitary authority (the Auckland Council) became operational on 1 November 2010, and several related boundary changes came into effect. At the regional council level, the boundary that demarcates the Auckland and Waikato regions has changed. At the territorial authority level, two districts (Rodney and Papakura) and four cities (North Shore, Waitakere, Auckland, and Manukau) have become part of the new Auckland Council area, while the Franklin district has been divided between three territorial authority areas: Auckland, Hauraki district, and Waikato district.

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.

More information

The following information on subnational population estimates is available on the Statistics NZ website:

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