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Census offers post-quake snapshot of greater Christchurch

Image, 2013 census banner.

The earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 have changed the face and shape of greater Christchurch – the area that covers the city, and Waimakariri and Selwyn districts.

This area now has more young men, Māori, and empty dwellings than in 2006, while construction is the biggest employer, according to results released by Statistics NZ today.

2013 Census QuickStats about greater Christchurch focuses on population, housing, and economic information.

“This information gives a picture of how the city has changed since the earthquakes, which will be invaluable to those planning the region’s future,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said.

Today’s results show that while people did move out of the central city following the 2010/11 earthquakes, most stayed in the greater Christchurch area.

The greater Christchurch population increased slightly (up 2.6 percent). However, where people were living at census time in March 2013 changed, and the number of unoccupied dwellings increased significantly (up 9,381 to 20,949).

Since the 2006 Census, the number of people living in Christchurch city has dropped 2.0 percent. In contrast, Waimakariri district has grown by 7,000 people (16.7 percent) and Selwyn district by 11,000 (32.6 percent).

The face of greater Christchurch has changed, with more young men and fewer young women living there in 2013 than in 2006. There were 1,974 more men aged 15–29 years, and 1,335 fewer women in the same age group. Overall, there were more young men (52.3 percent) than young women in the greater Christchurch area in 2013.

The proportion of Māori living in greater Christchurch increased 12.4 percent between 2006 and 2013, to reach 34,371.

The number of people from Ireland, the Philippines, and India who were living in the area also increased significantly from 2006.

On the jobs front, construction replaced manufacturing as the biggest industry in greater Christchurch. The area had 9,500 more construction jobs than in 2006.

The number of people working in the central city halved between the censuses. The number was down 50.5 percent, from 39,213 to 19,419, as jobs moved out to the suburbs.

“This census information will be important to the people and organisations planning and working on greater Christchurch’s rebuild. It will also help the people of Christchurch to understand how their city has changed since the quakes,” Ms MacPherson said.

This media release uses information from 2013 Census QuickStats about greater Christchurch.

Spotlight on greater Christchurch – infographic visualises changes in greater Christchurch.

2013 Census has more census results.


For media queries, contact:
Colin Marshall, Senior Media Advisor
Wellington 04 931 4600

Published 18 February 2014

Authorised by:
Liz MacPherson
Government Statistician

Highlights from 2013 Census QuickStats about greater Christchurch


  • Central Christchurch population down (35.9 percent), Christchurch city down (2.0 percent), Selwyn up (32.6 percent), and Waimakariri up (16.7 percent).
  • 36.6 percent fewer occupied dwellings in central Christchurch than in 2006.
  • Two-thirds moved out of damaged areas of Christchurch but remained in greater Christchurch.


  • 52.3 percent of people aged 15–29 years were male.
  • 4.0 percent fewer children aged 5–14 years – down 3.2 percent nationally.


  • Bigger percentage increase for Māori (12.4 percent) than in Wellington or Auckland.


  • Of people in greater Christchurch who were born in Ireland, 54.5 percent arrived after the earthquakes.
  • 31.1 percent arrived from the Philippines after the earthquakes.
  • 37.0 percent arrived from India after the earthquakes.


  • 9.4 percent drop in adult students since 2006.
  • Around 22 percent drop in Asian students.


  • Unemployment in greater Christchurch was 4.7 percent in 2013 – national rate was 7.1 percent.
  • Construction replaced manufacturing as most common industry – 1 in 8 adults worked in construction at census time, and there were 9,500 more construction jobs since 2006.
  • Number of people at work in central Christchurch halved.
  • Increased workforce in Middleton, Riccarton South, Addington, Yaldhurst, Islington, Russley, Hornby North, and Avonhead West.
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