N.Z. Population Boosted By Asian and Pacific Influx

NZ population boosted by Asian and Pacific influx

12.35pm Wednesday December 6, 2006
The New Zealand Herald

The Asian ethnic group is growing faster than any other in New Zealand and will eventually overtake that of Maori, census results released today show.

An influx of immigrants from Asia and the Pacific Islands helped push the population to 4,027,947 on census day 2006, in March.

All regions showed positive population growth since 2001, apart from Southland.

Maori had a strong population increase since 2001 (up 7.4 per cent), and with 565,329 remained the second largest ethnic group, behind Europeans.

The Asian ethnic group out-grew all others with a huge 48.9 per cent increase, putting its population at 354,552. At that rate it was predicted to pass Maori within 20 years.

Growth in the Pacific Island population was also strong rising 14.7 per cent, pushing the population of that group to 265,974.

Europeans now make up 67.6 per cent of the population, followed by Maori (14.6 per cent).

Those who identified themselves as “New Zealanders” – a new option on Census forms – made up 11.1 per cent of the population, followed by Asians (9.2 per cent) and Pacific Islanders (6.9 per cent).

Auckland had the strongest population growth (12.4 per cent), while Canterbury also showed strong growth (8.4 per cent).

Census results also showed the population was continuing to get older, with the median age now close to 36 as opposed to 35 in 2001 and 33 in 1996.

Those aged over 65 made up 12.5 per cent of the population, which compared to 4.6 per cent a century ago, and 9.1 per cent 50 years ago.

The privately occupied dwelling count increased significantly from 1,359,843 in 2001 to 1,471,746, with two thirds of those dwellings either owned by the householders or by family trusts.

The number of New Zealanders born in Britain remained steady at 6.6 per cent, a figure fast being caught up with by those born in Asia (6.5 per cent).