New Zealand’s resident population tops 5 million

Stranded New Zealand nationals arrive to board a repatriation flight back home in New Delhi last month. (AP pic)

SYDNEY: New Zealand’s resident population has climbed above 5 million, with the milestone to be the fastest million to be added in the country’s history, according to data released by Statistics New Zealand on Monday.

The Pacific nation’s population rose significantly since 2013, with half a million people added in just over the last six years to hit a provisional 5,002,100 at March 31, 2020, it said in a statement.

New Zealand’s population topped 4 million in 2003, taking it 30 years to add one million to its tally, but ticked up 1.8% a year on average since 2013, driven by net migration.

Statistics NZ said the new coronavirus outbreak has also contributed to a rise in residents over the last few months with net migration getting a boost by more New Zealand citizens returning home after living overseas and fewer New Zealanders moving offshore.

New Zealand closed its borders to all foreigners in mid-March but allowed citizens and permanent residents to return to the country, to contain the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.