Tag Archives | Migration

Migrant inflow up as exit count adjusted down

Statistics NZ has created a highly confusing, and moving, picture of migration with its new formula, which became the official formula last month.

But the long & short of it is that emigration has risen sharply and immigration continues to decline.

Image above: The new series in figure 1 shows the final estimates from May 2015 to August 2017, and provisional estimates from September 2017 to December 2018, for the outcomes-based measure of migration. An experimental outcomes-based series is shown from December 2001 to June 2017 to give a longer time series.

The count for the year to December – a provisional estimate – is a net inflow of 48,300, ± 1,800, compared to 52,700(± 200) for the previous 12 months.

The ± symbol occurs a lot in these statistics, as initial figures are revised over the following months, to be finalised after 16 months.

That’s happened with the figures for the year to November, originally issued as a net inflow of 43,400 (± 1,500), now revised to an estimated 48,000 (± 1,200). Statistics NZ’s population insights senior manager, Brooke Theyers, said: “This is driven by changes in estimated migrant departures, from 100,600 (± 1,200) to 96,200 (± 1,000) for the year ended November 2018. Migrant arrivals remained relatively unchanged.”

For the December year, migrant arrivals were provisionally estimated at 145,800 (± 1,700) and migrant departures at 97,500 (± 1,400).

Mrs Theyers said that, compared with total border crossings, the number of migrants is very small: “Of every 50 people crossing our border, typically 49 are short-term movements and only 1 is a migrant arriving or departing.

“Of the 14 million border crossings in the December 2018 year, 81% are currently classified with certainty. The remaining 19% represent 2.6 million border crossings, so a small change can affect the migration estimates.

“The migration estimates become more certain after each subsequent month. In December, 1 in 4 arrivals are classified with certainty. This increases to 9 in 10 after 4 months. Therefore we expect the monthly revisions to become relatively small after about 5 months, as we can calculate the duration of stay/absence more definitively.”

Net inflow 270,000 over last 5 years

Mrs Theyers said the last 5 years – 2014-18 – had the largest net migration gains ever in New Zealand’s history, with an estimated 270,000 more migrant arrivals than migrant departures. An estimated 700,000 migrants arrived and 430,000 migrants departed over this period.

Most migrants arrived on work, visitor or student visas. However, by definition, they stayed for at least 12 months after extending their visa or transitioning to other visa types, including residence visas: “Even though many migrants arriving only stay for a year or 2, it’s important to count them as migrants and not short-term visitors. They are part of our resident population, which has implications for infrastructure & service provision.”

Using the new measure, annual net migration has gradually fallen from the record peak of 63,900 in the year ended July 2016, reflecting an increase in migrants leaving – in particular, non-NZ citizen departures.

Earlier story:
25 January 2019:
November net migrant inflow down 40%, annual rate down 19% as new measure kicks in

Attribution: Statistics NZ.

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Countdown to 5 million population is on

Statistics NZ expects New Zealand’s resident population to reach 5 million late this year or in 2020, based on recent trends, after hitting 4.9 million at the end of September.

New Zealand’s population growth is trailing close behind Australia’s 2 biggest cities – the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Melbourne’s population reached 5 million in September and Sydney’s was 5.2 million, although research by the independent Population Australia has Sydney above 5.6 million. Australia’s population rose by 1 million in 31 months to 25 million, reaching that mark on 7 August.

Statistics NZ said in a release yesterday: “It took 30 years to move from 3 million (in 1973) to 4 million (in 2003). But it is likely to take only about half that time to increase by another 1 million – about 16 years. In 1908 the country had just 1 million people living here.”

How fast is New Zealand growing now?

According to Statistics NZ’s population clock, New Zealand’s population is increasing by one person every 5 minutes & 26 seconds.

Population growth reflects both patterns of migration & ‘natural increase’ (the difference between births & deaths). In the year ended September 2018, the population increased nearly 90,000. Over two-thirds of that was from net migration, and the rest from natural increase, with 27,000 more births than deaths.

This 1.9% growth for the September 2018 year was down from a high of 2.1% in 2016.

Those rates are strong compared to the much slower 0.5% in 2012, which was driven by natural increase during a period when the net migration flow was outward.

Statistics NZ’s latest provisional estimate of annual migration in the year ended November 2018 was 43,400, plus or minus 1500. This was the first official release of estimates using the ‘outcomes-based’ measure, which replaces the previous ‘intentions-based’ method of measuring migration.

The organisation says the outcomes-based measure is more accurate and this will flow through into other data uses, including official population estimates.

But it recognises that migration is highly variable, both month to month and over the years: “While annual net migration has been high in recent years, there have been other periods when many more people left New Zealand than arrived here. For example, from the mid-1970s there was an annual net migration loss that went on for many years.”

One other feature apparent in Statistics NZ’s monthly migration figures is the level of churn – more NZ citizens leaving than returning, and far more non-citizens arriving. Total departures jumped from 82-88,000/year in 2009-10 to 100-102,000/year in 2011-12, then fell below 90,000/year for the next 5 years, dropping to 73,000 in 2014. In the year toNovember 2018, however, exits jumped from 89,000 to almost 101,000, led by a rise in departures of non-citizens.

How many new Kiwikids are born each year?

Statistics NZ said while net immigration had dominated population growth since 2013, births had been relatively steady at about 60,000/year for the last 6 years, despite a decline in birth rates. In other words, the number of births/1000 people has been falling, but the growing population means total births remain at relatively high levels, after reachinga recent peak of almost 65,000/year in the period 2007-10.

New Zealand’s total fertility rate in 2017 was down to 1.8 births/woman, its lowest recorded level. 

Despite a much smaller population almost 60 years ago, there was an even greater number of babies (over 65,000) born in 1961–62, when the birth rate/1000 people was higher. In 1961, the total fertility rate was 4.3 births/woman, more than double the replacement level of 2.1.

What’s the effect of our growing & aging population?

As New Zealand’s population grows & ages, generally slightly more people die each year (almost 33,000 in the year to September 2018) partly offsetting the population growth from babies & new immigrants.

Statistics NZ said the number of deaths/year exceeded 30,000 for the first time in 2011: “Deaths are likely to increase, despite increasing life expectancy, because of the growing population, especially in older age groups.”

Since the early 1950s, life expectancy for both men & women has increased by more than a decade. Based on death rates in 2015–17, life expectancy at birth is 80 for men & 83 for women.

When will we get to 6 million?

Further ahead, Statistics NZ said: “Our population projections are an indication of the overall trend, rather than exact forecasts year by year. They are not predictions – the actual population growth could be lower or higher than median projection, depending on factors including highly volatile migration.

“The latest 2016-base projections indicate that New Zealand will probably reach the 6 million mark in the mid-2040s. However, it could be as soon as the 2030s, particularly if migration remains at historically high levels.

NNZ population clock
Births & deaths: Year ended December 2017
New Zealand abridged period lifetable: 2015–17 (final)
How accurate are population estimates and projections?

Earlier stories:
25 January 2019: November net migrant inflow down 40%, annual rate down 19% as new measure kicks in
13 September 2018: Melbourne sees still higher land prices & shrinking house lots as population hits 5 million

Attribution: Statistics NZ release.

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November net migrant inflow down 40%, annual rate down 19% as new measure kicks in

If you mix 2 different methods of measuring migration – and even if you use only the new measure – New Zealand suffered an extreme decline in its population gain in November. Statistics NZ’s calculations for that month, out today, are the first where it measures everything by the outcomes-based measure, which fully replaces the intentions-based method.

The last figures using the old measure were a net inflow of 6668 for the month of October and 61,751 for the year to October – a drop of 14.7% from the migration peak inflow of 72,402 in the July 2017 year.

The new method starts with a provisional estimate, which is updated over 4 months. A feature of the new figures is the initial lack of precision, hence ± appears everywhere.

Migrant arrivals were provisionally estimated at 144,000 (± 1,300), migrant departures at 100,600 (± 1,200).

The provisional estimates of net migration, this November & year to year November, and the previous, using the new method:

Month: 2672 (4465), down 40.2%

November year: 43,416 (± 1,500), 2017:53,831, so a 19.3% fall assuming the numbers remain precisely as they are today.

Using either measure, therefore, the outcome is a very big drop in the net migrant inflow since the July 2017 peak.

Under the outcomes-based measure, annual arrivals have been in the range of 140-144,000/year for the last 4 years. In 2010-12, arrivals were around 94-95,000/year.

Departures jumped from 82-88,000/year in 2009-10 to 100-102,000/year in 2011-12, then fell below 90,000/year for the next 5 years, dropping to 73,000 in 2014. This year, however, exits have jumped from 89,000 to almost 101,000, so the big change in net inflow is the emigration rate.

Note: This is a basic story. I’ll write a fuller version once I’ve been through all the figures. If you want to see what all these statistics look like at the official end, click the link below.

Link: Statistics NZ, November migration details

Attribution: Statistics NZ release & tables.

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Migrant inflow continues to slide

New Zealand’s net migrant inflow continued to slide in October, by nearly 1000 for the month compared to the previous October, and by 10,651 over 12 months compared to the peak of 72,402 reached in the year to July 2017.

The annual net inflow was 61,751, which is around the level in 2015, the second year of a very large 5-year ramping up of immigration.

Over those 5 years, the net inflow of migrants fell just short of 313,000. Over the previous 6 years, which included 2 years of net outflows, the net population gain from immigration was just over 50,000.

Migrant arrivals into Auckland fell in October to 4815 (5250 a year ago), and are down by 3250 on a rolling 12-month basis at 56,451 (59,700).

The net inflow over the 12 months to October rose from 33,230 in 2016 to 36,357 last year, but fell to 30,973. That drop of almost 5400 is equivalent to about 1900 fewer houses needed/year.

The bald statistics, this October & October year compared last:

Net migrant inflow October: 6668 (7650)
Net migrant inflow October year: 61,751 (70,694); the peak was 72,402 in the 12 months to July 2017)
Migrants into Auckland in October: 4815 (5250)
Migrants into Auckland in October year: 56,451 (59,700)
Net Auckland inflow in October: 3265 (3709)
Net Auckland inflow in October year: 30,973 (36,357)
Net trans-Tasman flows in October: net outflow of 48 (inflow of 256); NZ citizens 452 (226) net outflow, non-citizens 404 (482) net inflow
Net trans-Tasman flows in October year: net outflow 1879 (22 outflow); NZ citizens  net outflow 6612 (5187), non-citizens net inflow 4733 (5165)
Overall net flows in October: NZ citizens net inflow 255 (632), non-citizens net inflow 6413 (7018)
Overall net flows in October year: NZ citizens net outflow 3144 (1417), non-citizens net inflow 64,895 (72,111)
Total arrivals, month & year: 10,881 (11,740); 128,123 (131,644)
Total departures, month & year: 4213 (4090); 66,372 (60,950).

Schedules change for different way of counting

Statistics NZ announced 2 new information release schedules today as a result of the ending of departure cards from 5 November.

It will publish statistics on short-term movements (including the current international visitor arrivals report) in a new international travel release, and long-term movements in a new international migration release.

Both releases will be published on the same day, up to 30 working days after the reference month. November data, previously published just before Christmas, will now be published in January, and December data in February.

The new release schedule largely reflects the need to use the integrated date infrastructure to provide place-of-residence in New Zealand for migrants & short-term resident travellers, which replaces information from the departure card. The timing is also affected by the new method to produce ‘provisional’ migration estimates.

Statistics NZ said the release in January would fully adopt the outcomes-based measure of migration, first released in May 2017. This measure looks at the travel history of a passenger over a 16-month follow-up period, and classifies a border-crossing according to how long they spent in New Zealand rather than relying on the stated intention on the passenger cards.

‘Final’ migration estimates, based on the ‘12/16-month rule’ and released today on Infoshare, are now updated to June 2017.

Explanation of new approach: Outcomes versus intentions: Measuring migration based on travel histories

Attribution: Statistics NZ release & tables.

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Migrants still coming, but more leaving

The big change in migration in the last month & the last 12 months is the rise in exits from New Zealand.

Statistics NZ’s latest figures, for May, show arrivals down by 240 compared to May last year, but departures up by 550. For the year, arrivals were down by 200 but departures were up by 5500.

The net results for the month are that migrant arrivals fell to 8140 (8386 a year earlier), departures rose to 5818 (5269) and the net inflow fell to 2322 (3117).

For the year to May, the inflow fell marginally to 130,209 (130,403), the exits rose to 63,966 (58,439) and the net inflow fell to 66,243 (71,964).

The net outflow to Australia was down from 486 in April to 340 in May. In May last year the net flow was 45 to New Zealand. For the year to May, there was a net outflow of 547 compared to a net inflow of 790 in the previous 12 months and 1739 inflow in the May 2016 year.

Australia was the only country where the flow turned negative, but net inflows from 2 other countries were well down – China by 1940 to a net 8278, and the UK by 1021 to a net 5513. The inflow from India was down by 826 to a net 6767.

As is most usual, more Kiwis left than came home in May and in the 12 months to May – net outflows of 1090 for the month, 1386 for the year.

The Kiwi departure rate topped 60,000 (61,849) in the May 2012 year, and the net Kiwi outflow that year was 39,413. 500 more Kiwis left that year than citizens of all other countries arrived. The net flow in those 12 months, all migrants, was outward by 3653.

Since then, the net inflow doubled in the May 2013 year to 6242, was 6 times higher in 2014 at 36,397, and hit 71,964 last year. The peak was 72,402 in the 12 months to July 2017.

The net outflow of NZ citizens to Australia was 39,460 in the May 2012 year, a few more than the total Kiwi outflow, so somebody must have come home. Since 2012, the Kiwi net outflow to Australia fell to 34,011, then slumped to 13,587, and in the last 4 years has been a trickle – 6169, 3664, 4423 & 5559.

In Auckland, arrivals were down slightly in May to 3691 (3787) and departures up slightly to 2136 (1888) for a net inflow of 1555 (1899) for the month, and down for the year to 33,695 (36,270).

With changes to house-buying laws imminent through the Overseas Investment Bill now before Parliament, the kind of visa people are on becomes more important. The annual statistics show holders of residence visas down at 14,109 (16,736), student visas down slightly to 23,670 (23,740), work visas up to 46,536 (44,459).

Attribution: Statistics NZ.

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Treasury paper questions Auckland’s actual population growth

An analytical paper published by the NZ Treasury last week raises questions about the accuracy of migration figures, largely because of the hard-to-analyse internal migration.

The paper’s author, senior Treasury modelling analyst Keith McLeod, said in its introduction: “Our estimate of Auckland population growth due to net migration between 2013-16 is about half the official figure.”

The paper describes new sub-national New Zealand population measures that Treasury has developed using integrated administrative data. They’re in an interactive online form in Treasury’s Insights tool.

The paper doesn’t accuse others of getting things wrong – and Treasury says of its own work that it can’t be trusted yet. It’s more a case of additional information giving a more accurate picture of population movements.

Mr McLeod: “New Zealand has a robust system of population estimates, and the data described in this paper has the potential to complement this system. Nevertheless, the results are exploratory in nature, and further work is required to better understand the strengths & limitations of the data. The findings are not official statistics and should be treated with caution.

“A particular strength of the analysis outlined here is the ability to measure & describe patterns of internal migration within New Zealand, something that has previously been largely reliant on the 5-yearly census.

“The analysis not only describes patterns of internal migration, but sets these alongside other key dimensions of population change: ageing, natural increase & international migration.”

Estimates aren’t immediately available for release, and results for a particular calendar year are only likely to be able to be produced 9 or more months after the end of that year.

The Auckland question

On the question of Auckland’s growth, the paper says: “Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, has experienced year-on-year growth since 2008. This has been driven largely by migration from overseas, with foreign migrants more than offsetting net losses of New Zealanders moving away.

“Since 2012, increasing numbers of people have been leaving Auckland to move to other areas, especially Tauranga, Waikato District, Whangarei & the Far North. This has slowed population increase in Auckland over that period.

“Although the case studies presented here tell a similar story to official population estimates, there are some differences, particularly in Auckland, where our estimates show much lower population growth in recent years.

“Our estimate of Auckland population growth due to net migration between 2013-16 is about half the official figure.

“More work is required to better understand these differences. The difference could derive from the difficulty in determining people’s location of residence after their arrival in New Zealand in either or both of the sources, or may relate to the different residence definitions adopted.”

  • For me, this research is very welcome because information on internal migration has long appeared to be lacking.

Treasury Insights analytical paper, 18 April 2018: Where we come from, where we go – describing population change in NZ

Attribution: Treasury Insights.

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Over half net migrant inflow is into Auckland as destination

New Zealand’s migrant inflow rose slightly in January, has fallen by 1200 over 12 months but is still running at just above 70,000/year.

Statistics NZ’s monthly tally showed arrivals in January totalled 14,889 (14,457 in January last year), exits 6312 (6011) for a net inflow of 8577 (8446).

For the January year, arrivals were 131,998 (128,290), exits 61.851 (56,985) for a net inflow of 70,147 (71,305).

From a high point of 72,402 last August, the net inflow fell to 70,016 in the December year.

The net flow of migrants across the Tasman has been negative (ie, to Australia) this January & last, and the annual net flow was only slightly – by 38 – positive in this direction.

The net outflow for the month rose from 246 last year to 317, and the annual net flow to New Zealand fell from 1264 last January to 38 this January.

The annual flow of migrants from both China & India dipped, but the numbers from the Philippines, South Africa & the UK rose. The annual flow from China was 9308 (10,197 the previous 12 months), India 6707 (8560), the Philippines 4775 (4580), South Africa 4946 (4533) & the UK 6136 (5981).

Non-citizen arrivals continue to comfortably exceed exits – 8750 versus 2570 for a net inflow of 6180 for the month, but 30 more departures than arrivals by NZ citizens (2730 versus 2700).

The flow into Auckland as a destination remained high – 6833 for the month (6871 in January last year, 5962 2 years ago) – while departures remained low at 2382 (2335). The net inflow was down slightly for the month at 4451 (4536) but up for the year at 36,067 (34,660).

The number of Indians arriving on student visas continued to decline, to 5811 for the last 12 months (6457 the previous year and 10,558 2 years ago). Chinese arriving on student visas have also fallen in the last 12 months, to 5263, after rising from 5497 to 5612 in the previous 12 months.

Outcomes-based migration measurement updated

Stats NZ updated its outcomes-based measure of migration – the 12/16-month rule – last week, taking the series forward to September 2016.

It was introduced in May 2017 and identifies an individual’s migrant status when Stats NZ observes their travel history, and their length of stay in New Zealand, after a 16-month follow-up period.

Population insights senior manager Peter Dolan said: “It differs from the traditional method of classifying permanent & long-term migrants (PLT) that we base on their stated intention on arrival & departure cards.

“The 12/16-month rule showed net migration in the September 2016 year was 64,500, compared with 70,000 as defined by the PLT migration measure. September 2016 is the most recent available period for outcomes-based migration, due to the 17-month lag to produce migration figures by the 12/16-month rule.

“Migrant statistics that rely on passengers’ stated intentions are affected by uncertainty around people’s assumptions about how long they will be in New Zealand.

“Using an outcomes-based measure of defining migrants gives us a clearer picture of the actual migration patterns in New Zealand, and aligns with the approach taken in Australia.”

For more information on the 12/16-month rule, see:
Defining migrants using travel histories and the ’12/16-month rule’
Outcomes versus intentions: Measuring migration based on travel histories

Attribution: Stats NZ releases & tables.

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Migration – quick numbers

Below are the basic migration numbers for the month of August & 12 months to August. I’ll fill in some gaps this afternoon with a longer story, including a few inputs likely to change the trend.

The bald statistics:

Net migrant inflow August: 5120 (5450 in August last year)
Net migrant inflow August year: 72,072 (69,119; 72,402 in the 12 months to this July)
Migrants into Auckland in August: 4683 (4430)
Migrants into Auckland in August year: 59,700 (53,365)
Net Auckland inflow in August: 2754 (2711)
Net Auckland inflow in August year: 36,796 (32,187).
Net outflow to Australia in August: 330 (22 inflow)
Net outflow to Australia in August year: 1464 (2588).

Attribution: Statistics NZ tables & release.


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Immigrants drive 2%/year population growth, 10-14yos decline

New Zealand’s population grew by over 2% in each of the last 2 June years, and by a record 100,400 in the last 12 months.

Over the last 5 years, the population grew by nearly 390,000 – exceeding the population of Christchurch.

At 30 June, Statistics NZ estimated the resident population at 4.79 million. By tonight, it exceeded 4.8 million – 4,805,505 on the Statistics NZ population clock as I write.

Over the last 4 years the natural increase has been under 30,000/year, compared to annual increases up to 36,200 during the previous 7 years.

The migrant figure went negative in the June 2012 year – 3200 more people leaving than arriving – but in the last 4 years the net migrant inflow has totalled 238,000, of whom 72,300 have arrived in the last 12 months.

Statistics NZ said the current gain from net migration equated to 15 people:1000 population. Population statistics senior manager Peter Dolan said much higher net migration rates were experienced in the late 1870s, and similar rates to today were also experienced in the early 1900s & early 2000s.

“Our current net migration rate is high by New Zealand standards, but historically it has fluctuated more than other countries. At the moment we’re experiencing rates similar to Australia’s in 2009.

“Most migrants are arriving on short-term work & student visas. However, many of them extend their visas, or transition to other visa types including residence visas. It makes sense to count long-term stayers as part of our population, rather than as short-term visitors.”

Mr Dolan said half of last year’s growth was in the 15–39 age group: “This reflects the contribution of migration to our population growth, with net migration of 50,000 among those aged 15–39 years.”

As a result of recent migration flows, the share of New Zealand’s population aged 15–39 years rose from 33% in 2013 to 34% in 2017. This was a reversal of the trend that saw that bracket’s share drop from 41% in the mid-1980s.

Growth of the broad 65+ age group has continued to accelerate, up 25,000 in the last year, as the large birth cohorts of the 1950s-early 1970s begin to reach those ages.

The population at the oldest ages is also growing, reflecting decreasing death rates at all ages over a long period of time. The 90+ population is now 30,000, compared with 20,000 in 2007. It’s projected to reach 40,000 in the late 2020s and 50,000 in the early 2030s.

One group that has increased more slowly is the under 5s – up by just 800 in the last year and by 12,720 over 10 years. The 10-14 age group’s numbers rose in the last year, but both the last 2 years were lower than 10 years ago – 306,380 in 2007, 294,330 last year, 301,360 this year.

Link, and links to graphs:
National population estimates at 30 June 2017

Attribution: Statistics NZ release & tables.

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Half the record net migrant inflow is into Auckland

The net inflow of migrants continued to rise in June, reaching a record 72,305 for the June year – and 50% of that total was into Auckland.

Immigrants giving Auckland as their destination rose by 6142 to 59,076 for the 12 months, rising from 42.3% to 45% of all immigrants. The number not giving a final destination fell from 21,244 (17%) to 18,840 (14.3%).

The meteoric rise in net immigration over the last 5 years – from a net outflow of 3191 in the June 2012 year – has resulted from a combination of rising immigrant numbers and declining emigrant numbers. But in the last 12 months that picture has changed slightly.

For June, the number of immigrants was up by 950 to 9158, continuing a steady rise since 2010. On the departures side of the ledger, emigrants dropped to 4534 last June but rose to 5145 last month.

For the June year, arrivals rose from 82,305 in 2010 to 131,355 in the last 12 months, with big jumps in 2014-216, slipping back to a rise of 6300 in the last months. Departures declined from 87,593 in the June 2012 year to 55,965 in the June 2016 year, but bumped up to 59,050 in the last 12 months.

For Auckland, the net inflow in June was 2106 (1726 & 1571 in the previous 2 years). For the June year, the net inflow rose from 26,834 to 31,778 to 36,650 – 50.7% of the total net inflow.

The number of immigrants from Australia dropped slightly for both month & year – by 70 for the month to 1612, and by 262 for the year to 25,441.

Exits to Australia rose for both month & year – by 160 to 1781 for the month, and by 1111 to 24,881 for the year. The net gain shrank from 1933 to 560 for the year.

Other major immigrant sources for the year were China with a net inflow of 10,351 (9688 the previous year), India 7409 (12,118, down chiefly because student visa numbers declined), the Philippines 4646 (5010), the UK 6728 (4138) & South Africa 4867 (3054).

Attribution: Statistics NZ tables & release.

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