Ethnic composition of the population

The ethnic diversity of New Zealand’s population will continue to increase, according to ethnic population projections for the period 2006–2026 released in 2010. The projections referred to here use medium assumptions about fertility, mortality and migration, and medium changes in ethnic identity over that period.8

While the European or Other population (which includes the category “New Zealander”) will continue to grow and retain the largest share, this share is projected to fall from 77 percent in mid-2006 to 70 percent in 2026. The declining share of the European or Other population reflects a relatively low average annual growth rate of 0.4 percent.

The increase in the Asian population share is largely driven by levels of net migration (a net inflow of about 250,000 migrants over the 20-year period, under medium projection assumptions). The slow growth of the European or Other population is an outcome of lower fertility and an older age structure than the other major ethnic groups, as well as of a net migration outflow of around 40,000 over the 20-year projection period.

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