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Our predictions for the 2018 Census

John Polkinghorne

2018 will be a big year for anyone who relies on research and demographic information, with the 2018 Census scheduled for 6th March. The last census was in 2013, so this is a much-needed update on the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Census data will start to be released in October, and most of the information that our clients value will be available by December. That includes population counts and incomes – the two most important factors – as well as age groups, ethnicities, home ownership and other socio-economic indicators.

New Zealand’s “growth areas” are the most in need of a census update. At a macro level, that means Auckland and Christchurch; at a micro level, it means places like the Auckland city centre, anywhere new subdivisions are being built, and places where immigrants are likely to settle.

In the meantime, here are a few predictions on the 2018 census findings:

  • New Zealand’s population will have grown by around 9% or 400,000 people in the last five years.
  • 280,000 of that gain came from the migration boom, which has shattered all previous migration records.
  • 50-60% of new migrants have settled in Auckland. Many will have bought homes in new subdivisions.
  • The number of Aucklanders moving to other regions (mainly Waikato and Bay of Plenty) will also have reached record levels – maybe around 50,000 over the five years.
  • Even so, about half of New Zealand’s population growth will have been in Auckland.
  • Auckland’s CBD population will have grown substantially, but not as much as the latest Stats NZ population estimates suggest. We reckon the gain is around 10,000 people from new apartment buildings and higher occupancy in existing ones. If it’s much more than that, then there are probably some overcrowding issues.
  • Other growth areas include Hamilton, Tauranga, and Queenstown. With population growth so solid, many parts of NZ which previously had flat or declining populations have been growing again.
  • The housing shortage will be very apparent: New Zealand average household occupancy has risen to 2.8 people, a level not seen for 20 years. In Auckland, occupancy may have reached 3.2 people per household.
  • On that note, we’ll see the “boomerang generation” more apparent than ever before, with young(ish) adults living with their parents.
  • People at the low end of the income scale will be worst affected by the shortage – with severe overcrowding in parts of south Auckland.

Censuses are great, but they’re infrequent and they don’t cover all the subjects we’re interested in. As such, we use a raft of other data from Stats NZ and elsewhere. Most of it is monthly or quarterly, and some is released annually. We’re constantly tracking these data so we can give our clients the most up-to-date picture possible. Building consents, population estimates, incomes, migration and retail sales data are all in the mix.

Constructive Thought

Wellington Airport
Wellington Airport - Domestic and International Terminals

Wellington Airport passenger numbers have grown pretty consistently in the last 30 years – reflecting long-term growth in domestic flights, often from the other two major hubs of Auckland and Christchurch. Solid growth in the last couple of years has seen domestic passenger numbers pass 5,000,000 a year (it’s now close to 5.2 million), whereas international growth has been more sluggish (at around 900,000 a year).

Wellington Airport has pinned its hopes for international growth on a proposed runway extension. However, this is still “up in the air”, with a resource consent decision likely to be some time away, and no agreement as to how the extension will be funded. The airport is 66% owned by Infratil and 34% owned by the Wellington City Council, but the argument goes that the government and other stakeholders should chip in too as there will be wider economic benefits.


In the press

Local media highlights Monday 15 January to Monday 22 January 2018.


Tauranga beats Auckland as NZ's least affordable for housing

Tauranga has out-ranked Auckland as New Zealand's most unaffordable city, according to a major global study out today which showed Auckland's improving affordability meant the city moved from the world's fourth to the ninth most expensive city to buy a house out of 92 major city markets. The annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey showed Auckland's housing is not as unaffordable as it has been in previous years and eight other cities are more expensive.

(Source: NZ Herald)

Whanganui population growth biggest on record

The secret's out, Whanganui is the place to be. The city and district population has grown by 700 people in the last year - the biggest annual increase since population changes were first recorded in 1996. ​​​​​District population now stands at 44,500 and is the highest it's been in 18 years, the Whanganui District Council announced, citing latest Census test figures.

(Source: NZ Herald)

Andrea Moore collapsed owing millions to creditors

Kiwi fashion label Andrea Moore collapsed owing more than $2.5 million. The company went into liquidation and receivership on January 9, citing "highly damaging" late deliveries, "crippling" creditor payment defaults, and extensive roadworks for its downfall. On Wednesday, the liquidators' first report was released, which outlined Andrea Moore's initial financial position. It showed the label owed about $2.54m to its creditors.

(Source: Stuff)

Here's how you'll be shopping in the 21st century

Supermarkets without checkouts, trolleys that push themselves and shop assistants who know what you posted on Facebook this morning. The automation and radical evolution of bricks and mortar retail is here, and robots will soon be roaming grocery store aisles like, depending whether you're a shopper or a cashier, a helpful android from The Jetsons or a Dalek from Dr Who, built to "EXTERMINATE".

(Source: Stuff)


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