Auckland is New Zealand's largest city and central hub for transportation. Located in the North Island, it is also the most populous urban area in the country with a population estimated at 1.415 million in 2016.
The 2016 population of 1,415,550 in Auckland accounts for 33.4% of the country's population. The Auckland Council area has a larger population estimated at 1.57 million, and it is part of the larger Auckland Region, which includes many rural towns and areas to the south, along with the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. The urban population density is 1,210 people per square kilometer.
While 70% of the Auckland area is rural, 90% of Aucklanders live in urban areas.
Auckland is very multi-cultural. Most residents are of European descent, mainly British and Irish, but there are large communities of Asian, Pacific Islander, and Maori as well. Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population of any city on earth. It also has a much higher percentage of Asian people than anywhere else in New Zealand.
Auckland is the most cosmopolitan city in the country with ethnic groups from around the world. 40% of the city's population are born overseas.
According to the 2013 New Zealand census, the ethnic breakdown of Auckland was as follows:
- New Zealand European: 59.3%
- Pacific Islander: 14.6%
- Asian: 23.1%
- Maori: 10.7%
- Middle Eastern/Latin American/African: 1.9%
- Other: 1.2%
- "New Zealander:" 8.0%
More than 50% of people in Auckland are Christian, but less than 10% attend church regularly. Nearly 40% of the population claims no religious affiliation. Common denominations include Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Presbyterian.
The isthmus of Auckland was first settled by the Maori sometime around 1350. Fortified villages were created on the volcanic peaks, and the population reached nearly 20,000 before the Europeans first arrived. In 1832, Joseph Brooks Weller purchased land, including the sites of Auckland and North Shore. The area was chosen as the new capital in 1840 and named after George Eden, Earl of Auckland, then the Viceroy of India. The land of Auckland was given to the Governor by the Maori as a sign of goodwill, creating a British colonial settlement.
Within a year, the population was almost 2,000, which reached 3,500 by the mid-century. By 1900, Auckland was the largest city in New Zealand. It has remained the fastest growing city of New Zealand and the leading industrial center since this time.
Auckland Population Growth
Auckland is the main destination for immigrants to New Zealand, in part because of its strong job market. The number of non-European immigrants has grown dramatically in the last two decades because of the removal of restrictions based on race. Because so many people immigrate into Auckland, the New Zealand government's immigration services have started to award extra points toward visa requirements for people who intend to move to another area of the country.
Since 2006, Auckland has accounted for more than 50% of the country's population growth, adding 110,000 people during this time.