National Population Projections

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National Population Projections provide projected populations of New Zealand, based on different combinations of fertility, mortality, and migration assumptions.

Demographic projections provide an indication of future trends in the size and composition of the population, labour force, families and households. The projections are used for community, business and government planning and policy-making in areas such as health, education, superannuation and transport. The projections, along with the assumptions for fertility, mortality and migration, are typically updated every two to three years.


National population projections are produced to assist businesses and government agencies, in planning and policy-making. The projections provide information on the changing characteristics and distribution of the population, which are used to develop social policies in areas such as health and education. For example, the ageing population, population projections can help identify likely future service needs. The projections are neither predictions nor forecasts. They provide an indication of possible future changes in the size and composition of the population. While the projection assumptions are formulated from an assessment of short-term and long-term demographic trends, there is no certainty that any of the assumptions will be realised.

Citation Information


National Population Projections


Statistics New Zealand: Population Statistics


Statistics New Zealand


Statistics New Zealand

Coverage Information

Temporal Coverage

  • 2017 to 2068

Topical Coverage

  • Population and migration

Significant events impacting this study series


Population concept for all demographic estimates, projections and indices changed from 'de facto' to 'resident'. Population estimates based on the de facto population concept (the estimated de facto population) include visitors from overseas, but made no adjustments for net census undercount or residents temporarily overseas. Population estimates based on the resident population concept (the estimated resident population) include adjustments for net census undercount and residents temporarily overseas, but exclude overseas visitors. The reference date for projections is shifted from 31 March to 30 June.


For the first time, Statistics NZ applied a stochastic (probabilistic) approach to producing population projections. Stochastic population projections provide a means of quantifying demographic uncertainty, although it is important to note that estimates of uncertainty are themselves uncertain. By modelling uncertainty in the projection assumptions and deriving simulations, estimates of probability and uncertainty are available for each projection result. No simulation is more likely, or more unlikely, than any other. The simulations provide a probability distribution which can be summarised using percentiles, with the 50th percentile equal to the median.

Usage and limitations of the data

Nature of Projections

These projections are not predictions. The projections should be used as an indication of the overall trend, rather than as exact forecasts. The projections are updated every 2–3 years to maintain their relevance and usefulness, by incorporating new information about demographic trends and developments in methods.

The projections are designed to meet both short-term and long-term planning needs, but are not designed to be exact forecasts or to project specific annual variation. These projections are based on assumptions made about future fertility, mortality, and migration patterns of the population. While the assumptions are formulated from an assessment of short-term and long-term demographic trends, there is no certainty that any of the assumptions will be realised.

The projections do not take into account non-demographic factors (eg war, catastrophes, major government and business decisions) which may invalidate the projections.

Main users of the data

Statistics New Zealand, Ministry of Health, Government Planners/Local Body Planners, Ministry of Education, Consultants, Private Businesses.


11) Other

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