Wellington's 2023 population is now estimated at 421,624. In 1950, the population of Wellington was 132,654. Wellington has grown by 2,537 in the last year, which represents a 0.61% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Wellington, which typically includes Wellington's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.
Wellington is the capital city and second most populous urban region of New Zealand. It is actually comprised of 4 cities: Wellington city located between Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour with about 50% of the population; Porirua on Porirua Harbour; Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt to the northeast. In 2018, Wellington has a population estimated at 418,500, growing slightly from the 397,000 estimated in 2013.
The urban area has a fairly low population density of 2,300 people per square mile, or 900 per square kilometer. The larger metropolitan area has a population of about 403,000, with a density of 750 people per square mile (290/square kilometer). The urban area has 99% of the population, with the remaining areas being mostly sparse farmland and mountains.
The city of Wellington covers a surface area of approximately 442 km2 (171 sq mi). The metro area expands outward to a total of 1,388 km2 (536 sq mi).
Wellington city contains both the business district and nearly half of Wellington's population. Porirua, meanwhile, is known for the large Pacific Island and Maori communities. The population breakdown of the four cities, according to the 2006 census, was:
Interestingly, Wellington is the southernmost capital city of any country in the world. The city was also ranked as the 4th among the Top 10 Cities to Visit in 2011 by Lonely Planet, which called it the "coolest little capital in the world."
Wellington has a sizable Maori ethnic population with about 55,500 Maori living in Wellington, up more than 8% from 2001. The Maori population of Wellington is the 4th largest out of 16 New Zealand regions, and 10% of all Maori in the country live in the Wellington area.
Wellington is second only to Auckland in terms of its ethnic variety. In 2006, the area had the second-highest Asian population in the country at 8.4% (Auckland: 18.9%), and the second-highest Pacific Islander population at 8% (Auckland: 14.4%). More than 26% of Wellingtonians were born outside of the country. In 2013, almost 73% of the population identified as European in Wellington City.
Wellington also has a higher-than-average percentage of residents with a degree (21%), and the highest number of households that do not have a car at 11%.
Wellington is expected to continue steady growth over the next decade, although growth is picking up in Wairarapa as population growth slows in the Wellington area. Between 2006 and 2011 , Wellington City alone increased by more than 10,000 people. The region is expected to grow by more than 13% by 2031.