Discussions about migration usually focus on the inflows of people from foreign shores and the effect this has on population growth, as well as its impact on resources such as housing and services such as healthcare, education and transport.
But there are two other factors that have just as big an impact on population growth but receive far less coverage - emigration and the migration habits of New Zealanders themselves.
Emigration is the flow of people leaving this county long term. Over the years it has played an important role in New Zealand's migration trends and population growth.
New Zealanders have a long history of travelling overseas to live and work, particularly to Australia and the UK, and that trend continues today.
The table below shows the long term migration trends for New Zealand citizens from 2002 to 2019 based on Statistics NZ's migration figures (year to June).
It shows that more New Zealand citizens left the country long term than returned after an extended stay overseas, in every year since 2002.
That is leading to a net loss of NZ citizens every year.
The net loss peaked at 43,732 in 2012 when 72,383 NZ citizens left long term, and only 28,651 returned.
That net loss then declined steadily as fewer New Zealanders left the country and more returned home. By 2017 those flows were almost equally balanced, with a net loss of just 2892 for the year, just 7% of what it had been five years previously.
Then in 2018 and 2019 fewer New Zealanders were returning home and more were leaving. The net loss of NZ citizens therefore started to increase again and was sitting at 11,074 in the 12 months to June this year.
But it's not just NZ citizens that are leaving the country.
The table below also shows the migration trends for non-NZ citizens and it shows that slightly more non-NZ citizens left the country in the 12 months to June than NZ citizens.
There are many reasons why non-NZ citizens would leave the country long term. Some would have been on temporary student or work visas which came to an end, and others may have decided to move permanently to another country, or they may be away on an extended stay but intend to return at a later date.
However arrivals of non-NZ citizens have risen at a much faster rate than departures, which has pushed up the net gain on non-NZ citizens to 66,620 in the 12 months to June this year.
The table below also shows the combined effects of migration by NZ and non-NZ citizens, which is the total net population gain or loss from migration.
With a net gain of 66,620 non-NZ citizens in the year to June and a net loss of 11,074 NZ citizens, the total net gain was 55,547 in the year to June, which was the fourth highest it has been for that time period between 2002 and 2019.
As the table shows, the main driver for the recent migration trends was the substantial increase in the number of non-NZ citizens arriving in this country, the impact of which was substantially reduced by the number of NZ citizens leaving.
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|New Zealand Migration by Citizenship 2002-2019|
|Year to June|
|New Zealand Citizens||Non-NZ Citizens||Total All Citizenships|
|Arrivals||Departures||Net Gain/Loss||Arrivals||Departures||Net Gain/Loss||Arrivals||Departures||Net Gain/Loss|
|Source: Statistics NZ|