Number crunchers projecting population will hit 4,444,444 milestone tomorrow. Amanda reads the charts

Number crunchers projecting population will hit 4,444,444 milestone tomorrow. Amanda reads the charts

By Amanda Morrall

We like numbers here at interest.co.nz so I could hardly pass up the opportunity of sharing this one with you:

Tomorrow, with the arrival of a returning New Zealand citizen or perhaps the unfurling of a new little Kiwi frond, the population clock will hit the auspicious landmark number of 4,444,444.

Given the mobility of bodies, entries, exits, births and death, it won't sit there for long. According to Statistics New Zealand's population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn, it'll be a fleeting time stamp; probably a quarter of an hour only.

I'm not a numerologist or an actuarial, but as a Buddhist who's into numbers and also a personal finance writer, I think it's rather interesting, if for no other reason than the symmetry.

When I was pregnant with my youngest I remember turning to the clock at exactly 3:33 a.m. and thinking to myself that number would prove significant. The next day I predicted junior would stage his entry into the world at that time.

About a month later, on December, 3, 2003, at 3:53 p.m., my second little bundle of joy popped into the world. Had it not been for a frightening little episode known as shoulder dysplasia I reckon he would have made it on the nose at 3.33.

Apparently, it's not only me who ponders these numerical curiosities as Blackburn uttered a similar suggestion about lucky number 4,444,444 making their presence known at 4:44.

Call me crazy but I've also had a recent fascination with 111. The numbers and permutations thereof seem to follow me around. I can't count how many times (probably 111) that I've looked at the clock, or emails, and seen that number flash before my eyes. 

One of my favourite magazines, Harper's (no not Bazaar) also loves number play. Each month, in their legendary index, they come up with a remarkable list of fun facts based around numbers, ratios and equations. Here's a sample to whet your appetite.

Percentage change since 2010 in the per-pound cost of a Thanksgiving turkey : +22

Portion of the total U.S. corn crop that goes to make ethanol : 2/5

Estimated number of chickens killed after a drunk man accidentally shut off power at a Maryland poultry farm in August : 70,000

Average number of square miles by which Arctic sea ice decreased each day this summer : 36,400

Date on which it reached its lowest size on record : September 16, 2012

Estimated number of gallons of raw sewage spilled off the coast of Tijuana following an August pipeline break : 5,000,000

Amount three New York men owe in restitution for stealing rock lobsters off the coast of South Africa : US$54,900,000

Amount the U.S. Department of Education spent on loan collection and guarantees last year : US$1,400,000,000

Factor by which employee claims of wage and hour violations have increased in the past decade : 3:5

Statistics New Zealand does a great job collating information and putting together bulletins and reports containing a range of data current and historical. It's not quite as bizarre as what you'll find in the Harper's Index but imminently readable. (Note they are a recipient of the Plain English Award).

For instance, Blackburn notes that the Australian state of Queensland reached a similar symmetrical population milestone three years ago.

Also of interest perhaps is that the population expansion tomorow will put New Zealand in the same league as both Ireland and Croatia. 

In case you were wondering, the estimate for tomorrow's big day is based on births, deaths, and migration since the census was last taken in 2006.

The numbers that many of us are hanging out for (movements related to the Christchurch earthquakes) are yet to come.

The census that was planned for last year (but got bumped as a result of the quakes) has been rescheduled for March 5, 2013; eight days ahead of my brother's birthday March 13, 1973.

I'll have both marked on my calendar.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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4 Comments

the timing of that number also depends on how many trans-tasman flights there are leaving NZ for Oz tomorrow... ;-)

4 is an unlucky number in Chinese.

that could explain why in my apartment block full of chinese students who are only supposed to be four to a room,  they are actually 6-10 to a room then!

Here's how it's done
Many years ago, worked in a factory with a "pacific islander" who had been sponsored (bankrolled) by his (extended) family to get to nz. Got a good paying labouring job, saved his money and as soon as he could, bought a house (with a substantial mortgage) in Morningside/Kingsland. Once in the house, with next load of savings he paid for his brother to come down. Brother paid rent and when the phone bill came in the brother copped that. As soon as funds permitted, they got the next brother down, moved him in, charged rent, and next brother copped the rates bill. As soon as funds permitted they got the father, then the mother. They copped the food bill. As soon as funds permitted he bought another house. Then he got the sisters and the uncles, and aunts, and repeated the process. Then another house, then the cousins.
 
It's a cultural thing. If you are a kiwi with normal kiwi aspirations of wanting a home of your own out in the suburbs for you and your wife and children, then, next time you are at an auction and there is a competing asian buyer bidding against you, you are (more than likely) competing against not one but 2 families plus 2 sets of parents. Four groups who can and will  financially out-muscle you.
 
This is not new. It's been going on for years.