NZ’s population has grown at fastest rate in over 50 years, newly released Census results reveal

New Zealand's population has officially grown to 4,699,755, according to the latest figures from the 2018 census, released today by Statistics New Zealand.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Government Statistician Liz MacPherson announced the results of the 2018 census today. Source: 1 NEWS

The growth is up nearly half a million (457,707) on the previous census five years ago. It's the biggest ever population growth by number and the fastest rate since the 1961 census.

Since 2013, the number of people living in New Zealand has increased at 2.1 per cent a year – much higher than the previous census period of 0.7 per cent annual growth. The growth reflects relatively high net migration and Statistics New Zealand says it suggests the population is expected to reach five million next year.

Today's data is the first tranche of information released from the botched 2018 census which was mired in delays, a low response rate and problems with IT. One in six New Zealanders failed to respond to the 2018 census, which Statistic New Zealand has called unacceptably low. The Government statistician Liz Macpherson announced her resignation over the debacle last month.

A new electorate 

The population increase means there will now be a new electorate in next year's general election. The number of electorates will increase from 71 to 72, and the new addition will be in the North Island although where that will be still has to be confirmed by the Representation Commission.

The new electorate means there will be boundary changes for about one third of electorates in the North Island. The last time boundaries were set was in 2014. There will be no change to the number of Maori electorates.

The extra electorate will result in 48 list seats being allocated – one less than in the 2017 General Election.


Both islands had about 10 percent population growth over the five years to last year’s census. The biggest growth was in the Queenstown-Lakes and Selwyn districts, where the populations surged by 6.8 and 6.3 per cent respectively.