15 Apr 2014

Quarter of New Zealanders born overseas

2:34 pm on 15 April 2014

More than a quarter of New Zealand's population was born overseas according to the latest figures from the 2013 census.

They show more than 1 million New Zealanders were born somewhere else, and their countries of origin are more diverse than previously.

In 1961, two-thirds of foreign-born New Zealanders were from Britain, but that has now dropped to just over a quarter.

Still, Britain remains the most common overseas country of birth, followed by China and India.

India displaced Australia which came in fourth, followed by South Africa, Fiji, Samoa, and the Philippines.

The country's Asian population has almost doubled over the last 12 years, which is reflected in the growing number of people identifying with non-Christian religions including Hinduism and Islam.

Slowdown in Pasifika population growth

The Pasifika population grew by 11.3 percent compared with 14.7 percent the previous census period.

The slowdown between 2006 and 2013 affected all the major ethnic groups - Tongan, Samoan, Cook Islands Maori, Niuean and Tokelauan.

In the 2013 census, 295,941 people identified with one or more Pacific ethnic groups.

Pacific peoples were the fourth largest ethnic group, making up 7.4 percent of the population.

Nearly 182,000 (62%) were born in New Zealand, up slightly from the previous census.

Nine out of 10 Pasifika people lived in the North Island and almost two-thirds lived in Auckland.