Like the rest of New Zealand, Christchurch has an ageing population.

The age of Christchurch City's population influences many aspects of the city as well as community and political preferences. Different age groups may have different preferences for housing, recreation, socialising, transport, education and employment, as well as have different health care needs.

Topic Status Key findings
Median age Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

In 2013, the median age of Christchurch City's population was 38 years.

This was slightly higher than the national median age of 37.5 years.

By 2043, the city's median age is projected to be 42.6 years. Further information.

Ageing population Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

The number of older people (aged 65 years and over) is projected to more than double between 2013 and 2043, increasing from 52,100 to 105,700.

The population aged 85 years and over is expected to almost triple, from 7,400 to 20,100 over the same period. Further information.

Ratio of dependents vs workers  Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

In 2013, there were 48 dependents (<15 years and 65+ years) for every 100 people of working age (15-64 years).

By 2043 there will be 62 dependents for every 100 people of working age. Further information.

Ratio of younger people vs older people Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

In 2013, there were more children than older people (1.2 children for every older person).

By 2043 there will be more older people than children (0.7 children for every older person). Further information.

Median age

Christchurch City's median age was 38 years in 2013, similar to the national median of 37.5 years. The City's median age has been steadily increasing since 1996. By 2043, the median age(external link) is projected(external link) to increase to 42.6 years (compared to the projected national median age of 43 years).

Waimakariri District has an older population overall than Christchurch (median age for Waimakariri was 42.6 years in 2013) and is projected to remain higher than Christchurch City's by 2043, reaching a median age of 47.6 years.

Whereas Selwyn District has a similar aged population to Christchurch (median age for Selwyn was 38.2 years in 2013) and is projected to be slightly lower than Christchurch City's by 2043, reaching 41.6 years.

In the 2013 Census, the parts of the city with the highest median ages were located in Banks Peninsula, where each area unit(external link) had a median age of at least 45 years. Akaroa had the city's highest median age at 56.2 years. The area units spanning across the Port Hills all had median ages of at least 40 years.

The city's lowest median ages were located close to the university (Ilam had the city's lowest median age at 22.9 years), followed by Riccarton West, Upper Riccarton and Riccarton.

  • View Excel table [XLSX, 31 KB] containing estimated and projected median age by area unit, for Christchurch City, Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts.

Ageing population

The number of older people in Christchurch aged over 65 years is projected to more than double between 2013 and 2043, increasing from 52,100 to 105,700.

Meanwhile, as a proportion of the total population, the 65 years and over age group will increase from 15% to 23%. 

The number of people in the working age group(external link) (15 to 64 years) is projected to increase from 240,600 to 284,000 between 2013 and 2043. As a proportion of the total population, the working age group is projected to decrease from 67% to 62%.

The number of children (aged under 15 years) is projected to slightly increase to from 64,000 in 2013 to 69,400 by 2043. However, as a proportion of the total population, this cohort will decrease from 18% of the population to 15%. 

Information about the age structure of a population is important as it has implications for the provision of appropriate services such as housing, healthcare and education.

  • View Excel table [XLSX, 52 KB]  containing the most recent population projections by age groups and by area unit, for Christchurch City, Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts.

The greatest differences between males and females will occur in two distinct broad age groups.

In the 40 to 59 year age group, there were 2,300 (5%) more females than males in 2013. By 2043 it is expected there will be 7,100 more males than females in this age group (12% more males than females).

In the 70 years and over age group, there were 5,350 (35%) more females than males in 2013. By 2043, women will continue to outnumber men - by around 9,750 (26% more) -  in large part because overall women have longer life expectancies than men.

Dependency ratio

The dependency ratio is a measure of the balance between dependents (those who are typically too young or too old to work) and those of working age in the city's population. The ratio is expressed as the combined number of people aged under 15 years and people aged 65 years and over (the dependent, ‘non-working age’ population), divided by those aged 15 to 64 years (the ‘working age’ population).

In 2013, for every 100 people of working age, there were 48 dependents. This will increase rapidly over the next 30 years, reaching 62 dependents per 100 people of working age by 2043.

Even though the number of people in the working age population will increase by 43,400 between 2013 and 2043, as a proportion of the whole population this cohort will decline from 67.5% to 62% in the next 30 years to 2043.

A rising dependency ratio illustrates an increasing imbalance in the size of the non-working population ('dependents') versus the working population. It gives an indication of the burden on those of working age to provide for those who are typically not of working age (although people are increasingly working into older ages). 

Child to older person ratio

The Child : Older Persons ratio is a measure of the composition of the portion of the population that is made up of ‘dependents’: those who are typically too young and those who are typically too old to work. This may inform and influence the types of services provided for in the community.

The ratio is expressed as the number of children aged 0-14 years, divided by the number of those aged 65 years and over. A decreasing ratio illustrates a shift in the type of dependents, from more children to more older people.

In 1996, there was 1.5 children for every 1 older person and this decreased to 1.2 children for every 1 older person in 2013. By 2023, for the first time there will be fewer children than older people (69,000 and 70,500 respectively). The ratio will be approximately 1 child for every 1 older person.

By 2028, as the growth of older people accelerates, the ratio will be 0.8 children for every 1 older person. This ratio is projected to decrease further, reaching 0.7 children for every 1 older person by 2043.

 

Further information

Please email monitor@ccc.govt.nz for further information.

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Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in processing, analysing and reporting the information provided in these web pages and reports. However, the Christchurch City Council gives no warranty that the information in these web pages and reports contain no errors. The Council shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered consequent upon the use directly, or indirectly, of the information supplied in this publication.