The number of New Zealanders who were born overseas had reached more than a million by the 2013 Census, Statistics NZ said when it released more data yesterday.
This increase has led to more diversity in our ethnic, religious, and linguistic make-up.
“People born overseas now make up more than a quarter of New Zealand’s population, and results from last year’s census show that they’re coming from an increasingly diverse range of countries,” General Manager 2013 Census Gareth Meech said. “Back in 1961, two-thirds of overseas-born people came from the United Kingdom and Ireland. By 2013, that figure had dropped to just over a quarter.”
While England remained the most common overseas country of birth at the 2013 Census, with China second, India replaced Australia as the third most common. Australia dropped to fourth position, followed by South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, and the Philippines.
New Zealand’s Asian ethnic group population almost doubled over the last 12 years. In 2013, 471,708 people identified with at least one Asian ethnicity, compared with 238,179 in 2001. Within this grouping, the Indian ethnic group was among the fastest growing, increasing almost 50% since 2006. This compared with an increase of 16.2% for people of Chinese ethnicity, which remained the most common Asian ethnic group in 2013.
“The growing Asian population is reflected by a rise in the number of people identifying with non-Christian religions,” Meech said. “The number of people who affiliated with the Hindu religion increased 39.6% since 2006, and Islam grew 27.9%.”
More overseas-born people live in Auckland than in any other region in New Zealand. The 2013 Census shows that 39.1% of Auckland residents were born overseas, compared with just 18.2% of people living outside the region.
“These results provide a fascinating picture of our most culturally diverse region,” Meech said.
Among the 517,182 Aucklanders born overseas, the most common birthplace reported at the 2013 Census was Asia, followed by the Pacific Islands, then the United Kingdom and Ireland.
“The Auckland region accounted for two-thirds of New Zealand’s Asian and Pacific ethnic group populations, and half of its Middle Eastern, Latin American, and African ethnic group population,” said Meech.
Auckland’s Asian ethnic population has seen significant growth since the last census. In 2013, 23% of people living in the Auckland region identified with one or more Asian ethnic groups, compared with 19% in 2006.
Across the Auckland region, 59.3% of people identified with a European ethnic group – the lowest proportion in the country. Nationwide, 74% of people identified with at least one European ethnicity.
Auckland was the only region with a decrease in the proportion of people identifying with Māori ethnicity, down slightly from 11.1% in 2006 to 10.7% in 2013.
“Auckland is also New Zealand’s most multilingual region, with nearly 30% of people reporting they spoke more than one language,” Meech said.
Following English, which was spoken by 93.7% of the region’s population, the most common languages in the Auckland region were Samoan (spoken by 4.4% of people) then Hindi (spoken by 3.8%).