The NZ Herald reports that latest population estimates show Auckland’s population increasing from the current 1.5 million to almost 2 million by 2031 – out of a total NZ population that will be over 5 million by that point:
New subnational population projections show Auckland will continue to be New Zealand’s fastest growing region, and account for three-fifths of the country’s population growth between 2011 and 2031.
In 2031, 38 percent of Kiwis will reside in Auckland, compared to 34 percent in 2011. It is projected Auckland would have almost 2 million of New Zealand’s 5.2 million people.
Natural increase (births minus deaths) is projected to account for two-thirds of Auckland’s growth, and net migration (arrivals minus departures) the remaining one-third.
Of New Zealand’s 16 regions, only Auckland will have more births in 2027-31 than in 2007-11, but all regions will have more deaths as the population ages.
“Auckland has a slightly younger population than other regions, and younger populations tend to have more births and relatively fewer deaths,” population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said.
I think there are a few key considerations in these numbers:
- Auckland accounts for well over half the country’s population growth in the next 20 years – which has some interesting implications in terms of requirements for new transport infrastructure.
- Auckland’s population growth is largely through natural increase, not just migration, meaning that such growth is more predictable than if it were more dependent on migration (migration tends to fluctuate enormously over time).
- Statistics NZ projections tend to be a bit conservative, with Auckland’s population often exceeding projections historically.
- Working out whether Auckland’s population growth will swamp the seeming decrease in per capita travel or not will be critical in getting an accurate idea around the amount of additional transport infrastructure Auckland might require in the future. Let alone what type of infrastructure might be needed.
I suppose the other big thing these numbers highlight is that growth in the rest of New Zealand will be pretty slow over the next 20 years. With the country’s current population not far off 4.5 million now, basically the whole rest of NZ will grow by only 280,000 over that time, around a 10% increase on current population. In contrast Auckland’s population will grow by around a third.