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New Zealand net migration rate remains high

Migration in the past year increased New Zealand’s population by about 11 more people for every 1000 already living here, Stats NZ has said.

New Zealand’s net migration rate was 11.4 per 1000 people in the year ended June 2019 (time period used for international comparability), reflecting annual net migration of about 56,000 for a population of about 4.9 million.

This rate is similar to Australia's in 2017-18 but more than triple recent migration rates in the United States and United Kingdom.

In the United States, the net migration rate was 3 per 1000 people in 2018, which equated to an annual net migration of 978,800 on a population of 327 million.

"Countries like New Zealand and Ireland tend to have larger swings in net migration rates because they have small populations. In contrast, countries with larger populations tend to have low net migration rates and smaller swings in net migration rate," says population indicators manager Tehseen Islam.

Migration estimates for the year ended April 2019 are subject to smaller revisions now than when estimates were first released five months ago. At five to six months after a reference period, there is more certainty about whether travellers are short-term or long-term (migrants), according to the 12/16 month-rule.

In the year ended April 2019, annual net migration was provisionally estimated at 55,700 (± 900) compared with 49,600 in the previous year.

"Annual net migration has ranged between 48,000 and 64,000 since 2015, and remains at historically high levels," says Tehseen.

In the year ended April 2019, there were provisionally 149,200 migrant arrivals, up 7,400 from the year ended April 2018.

"Migrant arrivals are higher than when net migration peaked at almost 64,000 in the year ended July 2016," says Tehseen.

Migrant departures were 92,200, up 1400 from the previous year.

Migrant arrivals and departures include the flows of New Zealand citizens, as well as the flows of non-New Zealand citizens, as both affect the population living in New Zealand.

There were 113,900 migrant arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens in the year ended April 2019 (up 9,100) compared with the year ended April 2018.

The most common citizenships on arrival for non-New Zealand citizens were:

China (17,300)

India (13,200)

Philippines (9000)

Australia (8900).

Migrant arrivals of New Zealand citizens were down 1700.

There were 45,700 migrant departures of New Zealand citizens in the year ended April 2019 (up 3200) compared with the year ended April 2018.

Migrant departures of non-New Zealand citizens were down 1,800, for a total of 47,800.

Some users of migration data may still want to look at the most recent provisional data. These give a timelier indication of migration levels, although have higher uncertainty and are therefore subject to larger revisions than provisional estimates for earlier periods.

Provisional estimates for the year ended September 2019:

migrant arrivals – 150,000 (± 1500)

migrant departures – 95,300 (± 1300)

net migration gain – 54,600 (± 1800).

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