Over the last few weeks Stats NZ have updated their annual population and employment stats and there’s a couple of interesting trends to note.
In the year to 30-Jun, Auckland’s population is estimated to have risen by just under 40,000 to reach 1,695,900, and as we’re now in October, we’ll be over 1.7 million now. That means the region has increased by over 200k people in just 5 years and remains the fastest growing region in the country.
Auckland has been growing so fast that it was actually ahead of Stat’s previous ‘high growth’ projection and so last year those projections were updated. They suggest we’re likely to hit the 2 million mark in about a decade but could be sooner. I think that will be an important milestone in Auckland’s history and will be a catalyst to changing how many people perceive the city.
The graph below makes it easier to see just how strong the growth has been in recent years
With Auckland continuing to grow faster than the rest of the country, it means nearly 35% of the country’s population now lives in Auckland and that is expected to grow to about over the next 25 years.
Delving deeper we can see that Auckland’s City Centre remains the fastest growing area with almost another 5,000 now estimated to be calling the area home. That brings the total living in the city centre to 57,000 which is significantly ahead of even the high growth projections of a few years ago. This is important as many of our current plans were based on these projections and given most of these residents will be working and/or studying locally, we’re going to need a lot more improvements to walking and cycling than previously planned.
This graph uses the previous population projections, the more recent ones are in line with the current estimates.
It’s not just population that’s growing in the city centre, employment is too. Last week Stats released the latest employment data and it shows strong growth. As part of this years release they’re using their new Statistical areas. For most places they’re the same as the old Area Units but some areas, like the city centre, they’re now more granular, as can be seen below.
Employees in the city have risen by just over 6,000 to reach 118k, up from just 78k back in 2000, although as a percentage of all jobs in Auckland, it remains about the same at 15%. That number may seem low but to put it in context, many of the major employment areas in Auckland, such as East Tamaki, Manukau or the airport, all have about 25-30k jobs each, and over larger areas too.
It’s also worth considering the entire central area, which incorporates parts of Ponsonby, Eden Terrace, Grafton, Newmarket and Parnell – roughly the inner link. Another 69k jobs exist in these city fringe areas and bring the total for the central area up to 189k jobs or 24% of all Auckland jobs. The graph below shows how the number of jobs in the city centre and fringe have grown over the years.
With big projects like Commercial Bay well underway, we’re only going to continue to see city numbers continue to climb. But are we delivering enough improvements to support all of this growth, especially the likes of pedestrian amenity and priority?