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Net migration remains around 50,000 – Stats NZ

Annual net migration was provisionally estimated at 50,900 (± 900) in the year ended January 2019 compared with 52,700 in the previous year, Stats NZ reports.

Despite the fall in net migration, provisional estimates of migrant arrivals increased in the year ended January 2019, up 4,000 to 144,200.

The top source countries for arrivals were:

Australia (25,100 – 15,200 of which were NZ citizens)
China (14,700)
India (12,600)
United Kingdom (10,200)

Provisional estimates of migrant departures were also up 5800 to 93,300. The larger increase for departures meant net migration for the year ended January 2019 was down 1800 when compared with the year ended January 2018.

"Net migration continues to remain at historically high levels," population indicators manager Tehseen Islam says.

"This has been the case since 2014, with a peak in 2016."

In the year ended January 2019 there were 109,800 migrant arrivals for non-New Zealand citizens and 47,800 migrant departures for a net gain of 62,000 non-New Zealand citizens.

The number of non-New Zealand citizen departures was higher than that of departures for New Zealand citizens (45,600), but New Zealand citizens had much fewer arrivals (34,300) leading to a net loss of 11,200 New Zealand citizens.

Annual arrival and departure data are 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 (migrants), according to the 12/16-month rule.

The first provisional estimate of net migration for the January 2019 year (published in March 2019) was 58,400 (± 1,600). Over the past five months, this figure has been revised down to 50,900 (± 1,300). The uncertainty bounds reflect the model uncertainty, not the extent of future revisions to the estimates.

Some users of migration data may still want to look at the most recent provisional data.

Provisional estimates for the year ended June 2019:

migrant arrivals – 145,300 (± 1400)
migrant departures – 95,900 (± 1400)
net migration gain – 49,400 (± 1700)

Migration estimates for the year ended February 2018 have now been finalised with a net migration of 51,500.

This month, Stats NZ has resumed international migration statistics by New Zealand place of residence.

These statistics previously relied on address information supplied on passenger cards, but now use geographic information from the Integrated Data Infrastructure. For the first time, statistics for Auckland can now be disaggregated further to the 21 local board areas.

Subnational estimates of final migrant arrivals and departures and net migration, are available for years ended May 2015 to February 2018 and monthly back to June 2014. The geographic breakdowns of migration are available for New Zealand’s 16 regional council areas, 67 territorial authority areas, and 21 Auckland local board areas.

"Differences in net migration between the two measures have been more significant for Auckland where they appear to have been overstated by the PLT measure," says population indicators manager Tehseen Islam.

"This was true for New Zealand overall, where the old measure overstated net migration by about 34,000 between 2015 and 2017."

Over the three-year period ended February 2018, estimated net migration for Auckland based on the outcomes measure was 85,600 (187,800 migrant arrivals and 102,200 migrant departures).

In comparison, net migration based on the intentions-based measure was 101,300 (168,200 PLT arrivals and 66,900 PLT departures).

"Other regions like Northland and Bay of Plenty, however, have been understated.

"This reflects the difference in where people say they are migrating to and where they actually end up going."

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