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Asia Minute: New Zealand’s Approaching Population Milestone

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Hawai‘i’s population has declined for two years in a row. According to Census figures released late last month, that’s mostly because of people moving to other states. But when it comes to other population centers in the Asia Pacific, one is likely to pass a milestone later this year.

The population of New Zealand could hit five million this year.

That’s according to government projections out this week reflecting a population growth of about two-percent a year.

That may not sound like much, but it skews to the high side of most countries — especially those in the developed world. By way of comparison, population growth in the United States is less than one percent. And for the entire world; it’s a little more than one-percent.

The World Bank puts the population growth of East Asia and the Pacific at roughly seven tenths of one percent. Growth is a little slower in China, South Korea and Thailand; faster in Indonesia. While Japan’s population is declining by two tenths of one-percent a year.

Closer to New Zealand, Australia also has unusually high population growth for a developed economy — about 1.6 percent a year.

Credit Phillip Capper / Flickr
Wellington, New Zealand | 2007

As for New Zealand, over the past five years, the country has grown by nearly half a million people — a result of more people moving there — net migration.

The population of the entire country hit one-million back in 1908, and took nearly another fifty years to cross two million. It got to three million in the early 70’s and about thirty years after that, to four million.

That’s now the number of annual visitors to New Zealand — which is up by a factor of four since 1990.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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