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Migration remains high in 2018

Annual net migration has been provisionally estimated by Stats New Zealand to be at 50,200 for the year ended December 2018 compared with 52,600 in the previous year.
Posted on 23 July, 2019
Migration remains high in 2018

Annual net migration was provisionally estimated at 50,200 in the year ended December 2018 compared with 52,600 in the previous year, Stats NZ has revealed. 

“Net migration has remained high since 2014, with a peak in 2016,” says population indicators manager Tehseen Islam.

“Over the past four calendar years, 224,000 more people came to New Zealand than departed. That’s equivalent to the population of Wellington city, or about 150 more people every day."

More than half the net gain in migration came from Asia, especially India and China, with provisional net gains of 47,800 and 38,600 respectively over four years. In the same four-year period there was a net gain of 11,200 migrants from the United Kingdom.

“New Zealand is seeing a sustained period of high net migration relative to its population,” Islam adds.

“This has helped boost the total population, which has grown by an average of 2 per cent per year for the past four years. People are both arriving and leaving in large numbers each year, which reflects large numbers of migrants arriving on work and student visas.”

Every year, more New Zealand citizens leave the country than arrive back as migrants. However, the net outflow over the past four years, 22,600, was much lower than the previous four years 2011–14, 97,500.

In 2018 alone, around 142,900 migrants arrived, including 34,700 New Zealand citizens, while 92,800 left after living here for more than a year, making a net annual gain of 50,200 migrants.

Why are we talking about migration in the 2018 calendar year?

Annual arrival and departure data is subject to notably less revision at five to six months after the reference period. By this time there is more certainty about whether travellers are short-term or long-term, according to the 12 to 16-month rule.

“We are confident the new ‘outcomes-based’ measure of migration is more accurate than the previous ‘intentions-based’ measure. That’s because it’s based on what people actually do when they cross New Zealand’s border, rather than what they say they will do,” says Islam.