Subnational Population Projections



Subnational Population Projections

Alternate Title

Regional council population projections

Territorial authority population projections

Auckland local board population projections

Area unit population projections

Statistical area 2 population projections


Stats NZ


Subnational Population Projections provide projected populations of regional council areas, territorial authority areas, Auckland local board areas, and area units within 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 are typically updated every two to three years.


Subnational 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.

Significant events impacting this study series


Local Government Amendment Act No 3 provides for the constitution of 14 regional councils. The regional council areas cover every territorial authority area in New Zealand with the exception of Chatham Islands Territory (formerly Chatham Islands County). These replaced 22 local government regions.

1989 (1 November)

Local government reorganisation creates 74 territorial authority areas. These replaced 213 local authorities.


Classification of urban areas revised into a three-part classification consisting of main, secondary and minor urban areas differentiated by population size.

1992 (1 July)

The number of regions increased from 14 to 16 following boundary reorganisation in the northern South Island.


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.


On 6 March 2006, Banks Peninsula district merged with Christchurch city


On 1 November 2010, Auckland Council became a unitary authority, when Auckland regional council area and seven territorial authority areas – Rodney district, North Shore city, Waitakere city, Auckland city, Manukau city, Papakura district, and Franklin district – amalgamated.


From April 2021, first set of statistical area 2 (SA2) projections released. SA2 is a new output geography introduced for 2018 Census. They replaced the area unit boundaries. Area unit projections are discontinued.

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.

Demographic 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. Demographic projections are based on assumptions about future fertility, mortality, migration, inter-ethnic mobility, living arrangement type and labour force participation patterns of the population. Although the assumptions are carefully formulated to represent future trends, they are subject to uncertainty. Therefore, the projections should be used as guidelines and an indication of the overall trend, rather than as exact forecasts.

The projections do not take into account non-demographic factors (eg war, catastrophes, major government and business decisions, changes to the ethnic classification) which may invalidate the projections. Demographic trends are monitored regularly, and when it is necessary, the projections are revised to reflect new trends and to maintain their relevance and usefulness.

Demographic projections should not be confused with economic forecasts. Changes in the number of people, families and households do not necessarily relate to the social and economic well-being of an area. The number of people, families and households may change independently of local economic factors.


The accuracy of these projections is unknown at the time of release. An evaluation of previous Statistics NZ national and subnational population projections over the period 1996–2013 is available in How accurate are population estimates and projections?.

Main users of the data

Stats NZ, Ministry of Health, Government Planners/Local Body Planners, Ministry of Education, Consultants, Private Businesses.

  1. Other


How accurate are population estimates and projections?




Population, Subnational
Regional council areas, Territorial authority areas, Auckland local board areas, Area Units, Statistical Area 2

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Revision Date Responsibility Rationale
63 22/12/2022 9:08:37 AM
61 29/03/2022 10:45:42 AM
58 17/02/2022 8:45:20 AM
57 30/11/2021 4:26:24 PM