NZ population tipped to reach 5 million by 2020




New Zealand's population is likely to hit the five million mark around 2020, and could get there sooner.

People in a crowd

In the year ended June, the country's population grew at its fastest rate since the early 1960s, up 2.1 per cent or 97,000, Statistics NZ says.

Senior demographer Kim Dunstan says the population was estimated to be 4.69 million at June 30, with net migration being 69,100 over the previous 12 months.

He says latest projections show a high chance of the total rising to between 4.9 million and 5.1 million by 2020.

The population is expected to be between 5.0 million and 5.5 million by 2025, and between 5.3 million and 7.9 million by 2068.

Mr Dunstan says projections that look out to 2068 are not exact forecasts or predictions, but a guide to help planning.

The projections also show growing numbers of older people

Those 85 and over will more than triple, from about 83,000 now to between 270,000 and 320,000 in the next 30 years.

Those 65 years and older will roughly double, from about 700,000 to between 1.3 million and 1.5 million in 2046.

Mr Dunstan says overall population growth is expected to slow in the longer term as the population ages and the gap between births and deaths narrows.

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