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Indicator 2: living density

Discussion

Living density is the number of people per square kilometre of land based on the place of usual residence, and is therefore measured on a geographical level. The key indicator for this topic is the ‘number of people per square kilometre’, which illustrates the distribution of the population across different regions and territorial authorities in New Zealand.

Between Census 1996 and Census 2006, 11 out of 16 regions had an increase in the number of people per square kilometre. The West Coast, Southland, Gisborne, Manawatu-Wanganui and Taranaki were the only regions to experience a decline in living density in the 10 years to 2006.

The West Coast Region had the lowest living density across the past three census years, while Auckland remained the most densely populated region for the same period. In 2006, the West Coast Region had an average of 1.3 people per square kilometre compared with 215.3 for the Auckland Region.

Overall, living density in New Zealand had increased slightly between 2001 and 2006, from 13.8 to 14.9 people per square kilometre.

The distribution of occupied private dwellings mirrors the distribution of the usual residential population throughout New Zealand. The map below shows the distribution of New Zealand’s occupied dwellings by territorial authorities.

Graph Living Density.

Tables

3.0 Number of people per km², for the census usually resident population, 1996, 2001 and 2006
3.1 Occupied dwellings per km², for private occupied dwellings, 1996, 2001 and 2006

Specifications

  • Data source: Statistics New Zealand, Census of Population and Dwellings
  • Frequency: five yearly (available from 1996 onwards)
  • Geographic level of data availability: New Zealand, regional council, territorial authority and urban area. Data may be available down to area unit level subject to confidentiality.
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