01 February 2012

New Zealand immigration boosts Auckland’s population to milestone number

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New Zealand's largest city, Auckland, has reached a significant landmark as its population reached 1.5 million people for the first time.

New Zealand immigration

Auckland's population has grown in size by 50% since 1996.

While a better quality of life leading to people living longer and an increased birth rate remain the dominant sources of the city's population rise, the increasing range of diversity and mix of cultures in the city indicates another factor: New Zealand immigration.

The University of Auckland's Associate Professor Elsie Ho said Auckland attracted large numbers of migrants, particularly those of Asian origin, due to its metropolitan lifestyle, great environment and good schools.

"Immigration policies favour the young, affluent and qualified - and starting a family or raising a family is why many of them choose to come to New Zealand".

As much as the population, the growing number of foreign nationals applying for a New Zealand visa has contributed to the changing ethnic makeup of the country; diversity trends suggest that by the end of the current decade, Europeans will make up just half of Auckland's population, compared to 60% today.

Even 60% of Auckland's population today demonstrates the diversity of Auckland's population as the national average is well over 70%.

By 2021, statistics indicate that almost 30% of the population will be Asian, 17% Pacific Islanders and just 12% will be Maori.

Auckland's population milestone means that the city ranks in fifth place across Australia and New Zealand behind Sydney (4.6 million people), Melbourne (4 million), Brisbane (2 million) and Perth (1.7 million).

Population Statistics Manager Andrea Blackburn said Auckland reached 500,000 people in 1961 and took a further 35 years to reach the 1 million landmark at the 1996 Census.

"The 1.5 millionth person [in Auckland] could be a migrant coming from overseas" said Ms Blackburn.


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