Latest Social Report 2016 | Previous reports | Regional Indicators | Downloads | Contact us


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 2003 and was estimated to be 4.35 million at the end of December 2009.

During 2009, the population grew by 55,600 or 1.3 percent. This was higher than the rate of growth recorded in 2008 (39,000 or 0.9 percent) and higher than the average annual increase during the decade ended December 2009 (49,600 or 1.2 percent).6

Under 2009-based medium population projection assumptions, the population growth rate is expected to drop from 1.3 percent in 2010 to 0.9 percent by 2013, then gradually slow to 0.7 percent a year between 2022 and 2026. Such growth rates would add around 676,100 people to the population between 2009 and 2026.7

Figure P1 Estimated and projected resident population, 1991–2026

Figure P1 Estimated and projected resident population, 1991–2026

Source: Statistics New Zealand
Note: All three projection series assume medium mortality (life expectancy at birth 85.6 years for males, 88.7 years for females by 2061). The low fertility series (total fertility rate of 1.7 births per woman by 2026) and the medium series assume a long-run annual net migration gain of 10,000 from 2013. The medium series and the high migration series assume medium fertility (total fertility rate of 1.9 births per woman by 2026).

» View technical details about the people section