WELLINGTON, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Zealand's population growth slowed down with the largest city Auckland recording a population decline for the first time ever, the country's statistics department Stats NZ said on Friday.
New Zealand saw slowing population growth in all regions, population estimates and projections manager Hamish Slack said in a statement.
COVID-19 international travel restrictions continued to curb population increases from international migration in the June 2021 year, Slack said.
Nationally, the population growth rate dropped from 2.2 percent in the June 2020 year to 0.6 percent in the June 2021 year, the lowest it has been since the June 2012 year, statistics show.
The population decreased in the Auckland, West Coast, and Southland regions, and other regions experienced lower growth, Slack said, adding in contrast, all regions had population growth in the June 2020 year.
While the population decrease in the Auckland region was just 1,300 or 0.1 percent in 2021, this was still a significant change, he said, adding the Auckland region has averaged population growth of 1.8 percent a year over the previous 20 years, higher than the national average growth of 1.4 percent a year.
Auckland's population is provisionally estimated as 1.72 million at 30 June 2021, statistics show.
The fastest growing regions in the June 2021 year were Northland with a growth rate of 1.9 percent, and Tasman and Bay of Plenty, both growing at 1.5 percent. The population growth in these three regions was mainly driven by people moving there from other areas of the country, Slack said.