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The Social Report monitors outcomes for the New Zealand population. This section contains background information on the size and characteristics of the population to provide a context for the indicators that follow.

Population size and growth

New Zealand's resident population reached 4 million in April 2003 and was estimated to be 4.17 million at the end of December 2006.

During 2006, the population grew by 45,100 or 1.1 percent. This rate of growth was higher than that recorded in 2005 (36,700 or 0.9 percent) and higher than the average annual increase during the 10-year period to December 2006 (40,300 or 1.0 percent).

Under 2004-based medium population projection assumptions, the population is expected to grow by an average of 0.8 percent per year between 2006 and 2011. Natural increase (births minus deaths) will account for four-fifths of this growth, and net migration the remaining fifth. Assuming net migration of 10,000 people per year after that, the growth rate is expected to slow to an average of 0.7 percent per year for the next 15 years. Such a growth rate would add around 603,400 people to the population between 2006 and 2026.5

Figure P1 Estimated and projected resident population, 1991–2026

Figure P1

Source: Statistics New Zealand
Note: All three projections assume medium mortality. The medium projection series assumes medium fertility and a long-term annual net migration gain of 10,000