New Zealand continues to rise in population, although at a slower rate than in years past. By the end of the century, the population is estimated to level off around a peak of just over 6 million. Of course, with estimates so far into the future, changes in fertility rates or migration could dramatically alter these projections.
The current UN estimates have the population surpassing the 5 million person plateau towards the end of the next decade.
New Zealand Population Growth
Like its neighbor Australia, New Zealand publishes its own online population clock and in late 2016, the estimated figure is shown as 4,723,562. Government statistics draw on their estimated levels of natural growth, and are slightly higher than the UN's estimates.
The New Zealand population clock projects from the June 2016 estimated population using the following factors:
- One birth every nine minutes
- One death every fifteen minutes
- One net migration gain every six minutes and twenty-nine seconds
New Zealand was actually losing citizens to migration as recently as 2012, but now has a significant positive net migration. This, coupled with the difference between births and deaths, contributes to a healthy rise in population that is expected to continue throughout the 21st century.
The most recent New Zealand census was taken in 2013. This census counted 4,242,048 people, up from 4,027,947 in 2006. This represents a 5.3% gain in the 7 years between censuses. The census is usually held every five years, but in 2011 New Zealand suffered from a major earthquake, which pushed the 2011 census back to 2013. The next census is scheduled to be taken in 2018.
New Zealand Population Projections
The declining population is expected to continue in the years to come in New Zealand, but the population will still be growing- just at a slower rate. Current projections believe that the annual growth rate will peak in 2020 at 0.94% before gradually decreasing toward 0.34% in 2050. With growth rates this small, it is unlikely that New Zealand will see large changes in their numbers. The same set of predictions believe that the population of New Zealand will be 4,834,420 in 2020, 5,213,103 in 2030, 5,502,172 in 2040, and 5,711,484 by 2050.