Asians will outnumber Maori by the mid-2020s
New figures reveal the number of Asians who call New Zealand home will outnumber Māori living in the country in the not too distant future.
Statistics New Zealand’s Ethnic Population Projections outlines that, by 2038, there will be 1% more people who identify with an Asian ethnicity than those who identify as a Māori in New Zealand. (See graph below)
The proportion of the population identifying as Māori is projected to grow from 16% in 2013 to 17% in the mid-2020s, and to nearly 20% in 2038; while those identifying with an Asian ethnicity will grow from 12% in 2013 to 17% in the mid-2020s, and to 21% in 2038.
The number of people who identify with a Pacific ethnicity is forecasted to increase from 8% in 2013, to 9% by the mid-2020s and up to 11% in 2038.
The number of people who identify with a European ethnicity is declining.
The data shows the number of Europeans will drop from 75% in 2013, to 70% in the mid-2020 and then to 66% in 2038.
Statistics NZ population statistics manager Vina Cullum says there is considerable overlap of these ethnic populations.
"People can and do identify with multiple ethnicities, especially people aged under 30 years."
She says the different projected growth rates reflect a combination of different patterns of fertility, migration, age structure and ethnic identification.
She adds that ethnic projections are of more than just academic interest.
"They inform New Zealanders about our changing demographic picture. They help ethnic communities understand their own changing populations. And they assist planning in areas such as education and health where different ethnic populations can have different needs."
The numbers also show deaths are projected to increase for all ethnic groups despite assumed lower death rates and increasing life expectancy.
This increase reflects more people reaching the older ages where most deaths occur. In 2014, 90% of deaths in New Zealand occurred at ages 55 years and over, the report shows.