Auckland top spot for net migration in 2016

Thursday February 16, 2017 Hugh Dixon

In the year to December 2016, Auckland was the top spot for net migration in New Zealand. Auckland had 33,900 net permanent migrants, with 55,300 permanent arrivals and 21,400 permanent departures.


net external migration2


Auckland in 2016 received 43 percent of total arrivals, while providing 38 percent of total departures, the largest net migration for any New Zealand region.


This information is gathered from the arrival and departure cards completed for New Zealand Customs Service.


Second to Auckland, was the Canterbury region with 6,800 net permanent migrants. Canterbury had 12,700 arrivals and 5,900 departures, in 2016.


Overall every region in New Zealand in 2016 experienced net inward migration, with the West Coast seeing the smallest net inward migration with a net of 80. In 2016 the West Coast had 310 arrivals and 230 departures.


net permanent migration graph


Examining how permanent arrivals into each region within New Zealand has changed in the last decade (2006 to 2016), shows that Auckland has seen an increase of 22,200 arrivals or 67 percent. Canterbury with 3,200 and Bay of Plenty with 2,100 saw the second and third largest increase in arrivals over the last decade, in terms of absolute numbers.


In 2016 the high recorded net inward migration was a substantial factor in the estimated population changes, both at a national and regional level. In the year to June 2016 the national population grew by an estimated 97,000 people of which migration contributed 71 percent of the growth.


Auckland region had the largest population growth in 2016, will an estimated 44,500 people added to the region in the year ending to June 2016. Of this growth 70 percent was as a result of net inward migration. Across regional New Zealand, only three regions had less than 50 percent of their population change in 2016, coming from migration. These three regions were Taranaki with 40 percent of population growth from migration, Gisborne with 25 percent and the West Coast where there was a decline in the regions overall population.


In the last year the net inward migration has contributed substantially to population growth throughout New Zealand. Overall the migration seen in 2016 has allowed many regions in New Zealand to experience population growth of around 1 to 2 percent, with a small number growing by just over 2 percent in 2016. Population growth fuelled by net migration, be it New Zealanders not leaving or non-New Zealanders arriving in regional New Zealand, is beneficial to regional New Zealand. These benefits can include larger pools of workers, increased demand for services and higher employment in services.