The city's population is growing by just under 1% per year. By 2043 it is expected there will be an additional 84,000 people living in the city.

Population projections give an indication of future changes in the number of people living in and close to Christchurch City. This information can be used to help assess the demand for resources such as housing, land, water, and related services required to meet the needs of future residents, as well as planning for infrastructure needs.

Topic Status Key findings
Projected Population Growth in Christchurch City Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

By 2028, Christchurch City's population is projected to reach 424,000 (recommended medium projection). This is 42,000 more people than at June 2017 (estimated population was 381,500).

By 2043, medium projections suggest this figure will be around 459,000. However the possible range of population could be anywhere between 392,000 to 527,000. Further information.

Projected Rates of Growth (Christchurch City) Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

Christchurch City’s population is projected to grow by an average of 0.8% a year between 2013 and 2043, under the medium series.

During the 30-year period, around 50% of the city's growth is projected to occur between 2013 and 2023, after which the growth rate slows. Further information.

Projected Rates of Growth (Surrounding districts)
Increasing trendIncreasingTrend

Between 2013 and 2043, Selwyn District has the highest projected population growth rate in the whole country (an average annual increase of 2.6% over the 30-year period) and the population is expected to more than double from 46,700 to 99,500.

Waimakariri District is projected to grow by around 60% between 2013 and 2043, from 52,300 residents to 83,100. This is an average annual growth rate of 1.6%, which is the third highest in the country over this period. Further information.

Components of Change
Increasing trendIncreasingTrend
From 2013 to 2043, migration is the key contributor to population change, adding a further 59,000 people to the City's population. Natural increase is expected to add around 43,000 people. Further information.
Location of Population InformationInformation The majority of household growth will take place in priority greenfield areas. In Christchurch this is mainly in the northern and southwest areas. Further information.

Population change in Christchurch City, Selwyn and Waimakariri districts

In 2013, the combined population of Christchurch City, Selwyn and Waimakariri Districts was estimated to be 455,700. Christchurch City made up 78% of this population.

Population projections released in December 2016 suggest by 2028, there is expected to be around 120,000 more people than there were in 2013. By 2028, the combined population of the three territorial authorities will likely be around 575,000 people (based on the medium series), with Christchurch City making up 74% of this. There is uncertainty around these projections, and the combined population could range from 524,600 to 624,300.

By 2043, the combined population is expected to range between 533,100 and 751,700. The most likely figure will be closer to 641,700 (based on the medium series).

Over the 30 year period, growth per annum is projected to be at its highest until 2023, at around 7,500 additional people per year (combined for the three territorial authorities). Beyond 2023 the growth rate is likely to slow, reaching around 4,000 additional people per year by 2043.

The surrounding districts are growing at a faster rate than Christchurch City.  In 2013, Christchurch City made up 78% of the three territorial authority's population. By 2028 this figure will likely be 74% and by 2043 around 72%. Overall between 2013 and 2043, the City's average annual increase will be 0.8%. This is slightly lower than the average national growth rate of 1% a year. 

Between 2013 and 2043, Selwyn District has the highest projected population growth rate in the whole country (an average annual increase of 2.6% over the 30-year period) and the population is expected to more than double from 46,700 to 99,500.

Waimakariri District is projected to grow by around 60% between 2013 and 2043, from 52,300 residents to 83,100. This is an average annual growth rate of 1.6%, which is the third highest in the country over this period.

Components of population change

From 2013 to 2023, migration will be the main contributor towards Christchurch City's population growth, particularly in the period from 2013 to 2018 when migration is expected to contribute three times as many new residents than from natural increase. This is largely due to the City's rebuild and demand for skilled workers and labourers.

From 2023 until 2033, natural increase (births minus deaths) will be the largest contributor towards population growth, accounting for 58% of population growth during the 10 year period. 

As the population ages, once again migration will account for the majority of population growth (56%) for the 10 year period ending 2043.

Location of future population

Most of Christchurch City's population growth is expected to occur within the residential greenfield(external link) priority areas identified in the LURP(external link).

A map showing residential and business greenfield areas can be found here(external link) (pg 22).

In the south-west of the city this includes Halswell and Wigram, while to the north this includes Belfast, Prestons and Sawyers Arms.

The Central City(external link) is also projected to experience significant growth, increasing from 5,100 in 2013 to 18,100 in 2043. By 2043 it is expected that four% of the City's population will be living centrally (compared to less than two% in 2018). This will be within the three to six% recommended internationally for a vibrant and prosperous city centre.

In Selwyn district, the area units with the highest projected growth are West Melton, South East Rolleston and Lincoln. In Waimakariri District, the areas with the highest projected growth are Lehmans (fringe of Rangiora), Pegasus, and North East Kaiapoi.

 

Further information

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

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