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People born overseas, 1881–2013

In 2013, around one-quarter of New Zealand’s population was born overseas. This was about the same proportion as in 1921.

Graph, proportion of population bortn in New Zealand and overseas, 1881–2013 Censuses.

We can trace the increasing diversity of the New Zealand population through place of birth.

However, it is difficult to generate a completely consistent time series for birthplace, as some countries have changed in name (or political existence) over time. So the most straightforward time series is whether the population was born in New Zealand or overseas.

In 1911, around 7 out of 10 people in New Zealand were New Zealand-born, up from around half of the population 30 years earlier. The proportion increased steadily during the 20th century, reaching a high of 86.3 percent in 1951 (census night population).

From 1981, most census statistics are presented for the usually resident population, rather than the total or census night population. By the 1990s, the proportion of the usually resident population who were New Zealand–born started to fall.

In 2013, 74.8 percent of New Zealanders who stated a birthplace said they were born in New Zealand.

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