Census 2023 results

The first results of the Census were released at the end of May, and they show some interesting changes in New Zealand.

According to the Census, the population was 4,993,923. This is an increase of about 295,000, or 6.3%, since the previous Census in 2018. The population growth rate has slowed, however – it was 10.8% between the 2013 and 2018 Censuses. This drop is due to a fall in migration due to the Covid19 pandemic and a lower fertility rate.

New Zealand has a more diverse population now. People who identify as European or Pākehā make up 67.8 percent, Māori 17.8 percent, Pasifika 8.9 percent, people of Asian ethnicities 17.3 percent, and those from other backgrounds, including Middle Eastern, Latin American and African, make up 3 percent. The percentages of those identifying as Māori, Pasifika and Asian have all increased since the 2018 Census (16.5%, 8.1% and 15.1% respectively), whereas the percentage identifying as European or Pākehā has dropped (from 70.2%). Note that the percentages do not add up to 100%, because some people selected more than one ethnicity.

The population is continuing to age: the median age is now 38.1, up from 37.4 in 2018. That means that half the population are younger than 38.1, and half are older. Auckland and Gisborne regions had the youngest median age, 35.9 and 36.7 years respectively, whereas West Coast and Tasman regions had the oldest median age, 48.1 and 46.8 years respectively. The median age of Māori increased from 26 years in the 2018 Census to 27.2 years in 2023.

If you’d like to learn more about New Zealand’s population in the past, listen to New Zealand people are diverse, Cultural diversity, and Māori population, from 2014, based on the 2013 Census.


census – an official process of counting a country’s population and collecting information about the people

fertility rate – average number of children born to women over their lifetime

ethnicity – the fact of belonging to a particular ethnic group (= a group of people that share a cultural tradition)

median – the middle number in a set of numbers that have been arranged in order