June 13th, 2024

New Zealand sees slower population growth but increased diversity, 2023 Census reveals

Census reveals slowed growth but increased diversity

The latest census data shows that New Zealand's usually resident population increased by 294,168 people, reaching almost 5 million (4,993,923).
The latest census data shows that New Zealand's usually resident population increased by 294,168 people, reaching almost 5 million (4,993,923).

New Zealand's population has grown by nearly 300,000 people since 2018, but the growth rate has slowed, according to the first results from the 2023 Census released by Stats NZ.

Slower growth rate

The latest census data shows that New Zealand's usually resident population increased by 294,168 people, reaching almost 5 million (4,993,923). However, the growth rate of 6.3% between the 2018 and 2023 censuses is significantly lower than the 10.8% growth rate observed between 2013 and 2018.

Regional population trends

The census highlights regional variations in population growth:

  • North Island: Home to 76.3% of the population, with Auckland housing 33.2% of the country's residents.

  • South Island: Experienced the fastest growth rate at 7.3%, compared to the North Island's 5.9%.

  • Auckland: Growth rate dropped to 5.4%, whereas the Tasman region was the only one to exceed a 10% growth rate.

  • Wellington and Southland: Recorded the slowest growth rates at 2.8% and 2.7% respectively.

Demographic shifts

New Zealand's demographic profile continues to evolve, becoming more ethnically diverse and older:

  • Māori descent: Increased by 12.5%, with nearly 1 million people identifying as having Māori descent.

  • Ageing population: Median age rose to 38.1 years in 2023 from 37.4 years in 2018.

  • Ethnic diversity: European ethnicity still forms the majority at 67.8%, but significant growth was seen among Māori (17.8%), Asian (17.3%), Pacific peoples (8.9%), and Middle Eastern/Latin American/African (1.9%) groups.

Government Statistician and Stats NZ Chief Executive Mark Sowden commented, “The first release of data is a welcome milestone in the delivery of the 2023 Census. The data we have released will enable local authorities, iwi and hapū, community organisations, and the people of Aotearoa New Zealand to incorporate census data into their decision-making about the infrastructure and services needed by communities across the country.”