Largest ever annual drop in net migration

Net migration saw the largest drop on an annual basis in the year ended March 2021, Stats NZ today.

Net migration was provisionally estimated at 6,600 in the year ended March 2021 compared with 91,900 in the year ended March 2020, a drop of 85,400. Net migration in the year ended March 2020 was the highest ever.

COVID-19-related border and travel restrictions have resulted in record annual falls in both migrant arrivals and migrant departures.

The net gain of 6,600 in the year ended March 2021 was made up of 36,400 migrant arrivals and 29,800 migrant departures.

“On an annual basis, these are the lowest numbers for migrant arrivals since 1986, and for migrant departures since 1969,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

“However, we still have a net migration gain as migrant arrivals exceed migrant departures.”

Year endedMigrant arrivalsMigrant departuresNet migration
Dec-20011145978433230265
Jan-20021180128105336959
Feb-20021195467752242024
Mar-20021226217583346788
Apr-20021242937478549508
May-20021258987287153027
Jun-20021276097252955080
Jul-20021290567234456712
Aug-20021309317226058671
Sep-20021319897222859761
Oct-20021325157242460091
Nov-20021332927262460668
Dec-20021340467325560791
Jan-20031342747353060744
Feb-20031344017345360948
Mar-20031334707405459416
Apr-20031327047376258942
May-20031320107379258218
Jun-20031306857373856947
Jul-20031294727453854934
Aug-20031276527531552337
Sep-20031256487569149957
Oct-20031239537609947854
Nov-20031217447752844216
Dec-20031205917917541416
Jan-20041181857970238483
Feb-20041159528082135131
Mar-20041133298110832221
Apr-20041115798223429345
May-20041105148342327091
Jun-20041093318477524556
Jul-20041077508582121929
Aug-20041064498608620363
Sep-20041055918700918582
Oct-20041046198753917080
Nov-20041037778821615561
Dec-20041034968935614140
Jan-20051027089010512603
Feb-20051022889071811570
Mar-20051024049142210982
Apr-20051030509228510765
May-20051034319250210929
Jun-20051036399254011099
Jul-20051033509324810102
Aug-20051036929351810174
Sep-20051040009348410516
Oct-20051042229384810374
Nov-20051039819306210919
Dec-20051039829271611266
Jan-20061039139253311380
Feb-20061045679197212595
Mar-20061051759139613779
Apr-20061052039142713776
May-20061050089154413464
Jun-20061053989192713471
Jul-20061063589132315035
Aug-20061070609192815132
Sep-20061079329262415308
Oct-20061086819320015481
Nov-20061101719343916732
Dec-20061106879397416713
Jan-20071111229448116641
Feb-20071116229559416028
Mar-20071124769659515881
Apr-20071127119714815563
May-20071131049824314861
Jun-20071135329901314519
Jul-20071132769959313683
Aug-200711401510034013675
Sep-200711406410078513279
Oct-200711400710097113036
Nov-200711387310175912114
Dec-200711345010241311037
Jan-200811319210308410108
Feb-200811460810392810680
Mar-200811481710425010567
Apr-200811551210462310889
May-200811685210503211820
Jun-200811765910561912040
Jul-200811901110622812783
Aug-200811938210683712545
Sep-200811928610688312403
Oct-200811986210756612296
Nov-200811975710808611671
Dec-200811999410772312271
Jan-200912045310753012923
Feb-200912000310627513728
Mar-200911936210531914043
Apr-200911838810356814820
May-200911712010149815622
Jun-20091157239945516268
Jul-20091147719781616955
Aug-20091132439588617357
Sep-20091123559444917906
Oct-20091110249284118183
Nov-20091097079145118256
Dec-20091082658999618269
Jan-20101068198886117958
Feb-20101051078906016047
Mar-20101042508961814632
Apr-20101034679034713120
May-20101024969158310913
Jun-2010101756927878969
Jul-2010101257939607297
Aug-2010101310952256085
Sep-2010101131964514680
Oct-2010101238979843254
Nov-2010100912990921820
Dec-2010100499100776-277
Jan-2011100149102614-2465
Feb-2011100595103639-3044
Mar-2011100702106185-5483
Apr-2011100902108087-7185
May-2011101051109448-8397
Jun-2011100885110289-9404
Jul-2011101150112156-11006
Aug-2011101159113152-11993
Sep-2011101039113659-12620
Oct-2011100416114484-14068
Nov-2011100611115280-14669
Dec-2011100206116350-16144
Jan-2012100039116837-16798
Feb-2012100184117444-17260
Mar-2012100721116405-15684
Apr-2012100063115895-15832
May-2012100061115354-15293
Jun-2012100734115717-14983
Jul-201299982114784-14802
Aug-201299791114469-14678
Sep-2012100034114225-14191
Oct-2012100554113258-12704
Nov-2012100941112612-11671
Dec-2012101762112170-10408
Jan-2013102394110938-8544
Feb-2013101971109389-7418
Mar-2013102204108015-5811
Apr-2013103317106621-3304
May-2013104062105422-1360
Jun-2013104368103559809
Jul-20131056021021193483
Aug-20131064061003756031
Sep-2013106839987228117
Oct-20131079679727610691
Nov-20131089529553313419
Dec-20131102829299117291
Jan-20141111949113020064
Feb-20141133588956623792
Mar-20141146468786126785
Apr-20141157618648629275
May-20141168598562531234
Jun-20141182748481233462
Jul-20141202658348436781
Aug-20141225528285739695
Sep-20141247818251242269
Oct-20141263008183144469
Nov-20141276028141846184
Dec-20141281808076747413
Jan-20151303988060349795
Feb-20151308418062850213
Mar-20151320408077451266
Apr-20151326658083451831
May-20151333888052852860
Jun-20151339178049053427
Jul-20151351848058054604
Aug-20151358598047655383
Sep-20151367868028956497
Oct-20151381918049357698
Nov-20151391678019858969
Dec-20151401258031659809
Jan-20161407338005760676
Feb-20161425827991062672
Mar-20161427777962263155
Apr-20161432597989663363
May-20161438027980863994
Jun-20161441827956964613
Jul-20161443587968664672
Aug-20161435787954464034
Sep-20161435377966163876
Oct-20161431487950363645
Nov-20161431117991763194
Dec-20161431248023562889
Jan-20171433338086462469
Feb-20171429438131961624
Mar-20171425888123961349
Apr-20171421658134960816
May-20171419458202159924
Jun-20171422578272459533
Jul-20171421668342158745
Aug-20171422858425158034
Sep-20171415698503356536
Oct-20171411248577155353
Nov-20171406088609054518
Dec-20171401028682253280
Jan-20181400318694753084
Feb-20181388578699151866
Mar-20181390038807150932
Apr-20181386298843850191
May-20181386528873949913
Jun-20181380558906048995
Jul-20181380328942048612
Aug-20181385658968548880
Sep-20181390048957649428
Oct-20181390098964149368
Nov-20181389618972349238
Dec-20181390168944749569
Jan-20191389228981549107
Feb-20191392078969549512
Mar-20191390368935149685
Apr-20191389898900049989
May-20191399038878251121
Jun-20191415178941652101
Jul-20191429208911453806
Aug-20191451088855356555
Sep-20191478968876959127
Oct-20191529318933363598
Nov-20191594299170467725
Dec-20191657439315472589
Jan-20201716569437277284
Feb-20201796539442785226
Mar-20201852129327391939
Apr-20201776628745890204
May-20201687908095787833
Jun-20201599737450885464
Jul-20201488726945379419
Aug-20201391876561573572
Sep-20201288816227666605
Oct-20201159905823557755
Nov-20201013835178449599
Dec-2020857304455441177
Jan-2021688823857530307
Feb-2021503333434015993
Mar-202136383298206562

Net gain of New Zealand citizens continues

Provisionally, a net gain of 15,500 New Zealand citizens was partly offset by a net loss of 8,900 non-New Zealand citizens in the year ended March 2021.

“Historically, New Zealand has had an annual net migration loss of New Zealand citizens and an annual net migration gain of non-New Zealand citizens, but COVID-19-related travel and border restrictions have reversed this pattern,” Mr Islam said.

“On an annual basis, migration estimates indicate a provisional net gain of New Zealand citizens since December 2019”.

Year endedNZ citizen net migrationNon-NZ citizen net migration
Dec-2001-2808958354
Jan-2002-2521462173
Feb-2002-2180663830
Mar-2002-2037867166
Apr-2002-1962769135
May-2002-1762570652
Jun-2002-1722872308
Jul-2002-1673473446
Aug-2002-1617674847
Sep-2002-1574175502
Oct-2002-1574475835
Nov-2002-1510975777
Dec-2002-1442575216
Jan-2003-1365074394
Feb-2003-1278573733
Mar-2003-1221771633
Apr-2003-1126970211
May-2003-1082669044
Jun-2003-1036467311
Jul-2003-1025565189
Aug-2003-1027762614
Sep-2003-1011360070
Oct-2003-1004857902
Nov-2003-1064154857
Dec-2003-1122352639
Jan-2004-1156750050
Feb-2004-1262047751
Mar-2004-1336745588
Apr-2004-1426543610
May-2004-1517042261
Jun-2004-1597240528
Jul-2004-1635538284
Aug-2004-1685937222
Sep-2004-1769636278
Oct-2004-1835635436
Nov-2004-1897634537
Dec-2004-1982533965
Jan-2005-2056533168
Feb-2005-2092932499
Mar-2005-2153832520
Apr-2005-2219632961
May-2005-2252933458
Jun-2005-2270633805
Jul-2005-2347633578
Aug-2005-2368533859
Sep-2005-2381234328
Oct-2005-2418234556
Nov-2005-2433135250
Dec-2005-2452535791
Jan-2006-2468036060
Feb-2006-2461837213
Mar-2006-2425538034
Apr-2006-2435938135
May-2006-2449837962
Jun-2006-2503438505
Jul-2006-2492439959
Aug-2006-2546740599
Sep-2006-2594841256
Oct-2006-2642741908
Nov-2006-2655843290
Dec-2006-2740344116
Jan-2007-2810144742
Feb-2007-2902545053
Mar-2007-2996645847
Apr-2007-3075346316
May-2007-3174446605
Jun-2007-3246546984
Jul-2007-3332047003
Aug-2007-3390947584
Sep-2007-3450747786
Oct-2007-3462947665
Nov-2007-3529247406
Dec-2007-3629447331
Jan-2008-3695147059
Feb-2008-3767248352
Mar-2008-3793748504
Apr-2008-3810648995
May-2008-3819950019
Jun-2008-3855050590
Jul-2008-3861551398
Aug-2008-3909951644
Sep-2008-3901451417
Oct-2008-3931851614
Nov-2008-3946351134
Dec-2008-3837250643
Jan-2009-3759750520
Feb-2009-3582949557
Mar-2009-3438748430
Apr-2009-3242947249
May-2009-3014345765
Jun-2009-2769943967
Jul-2009-2566142616
Aug-2009-2323340590
Sep-2009-2148239388
Oct-2009-1954737730
Nov-2009-1793736193
Dec-2009-1650834777
Jan-2010-1528333241
Feb-2010-1537431421
Mar-2010-1554430176
Apr-2010-1583628956
May-2010-1681827731
Jun-2010-1800826977
Jul-2010-1904126338
Aug-2010-2043926524
Sep-2010-2150726187
Oct-2010-2319226446
Nov-2010-2446126281
Dec-2010-2638026103
Jan-2011-2815125686
Feb-2011-2934726303
Mar-2011-3160026117
Apr-2011-3347626291
May-2011-3480226405
Jun-2011-3613426730
Jul-2011-3771026704
Aug-2011-3842826435
Sep-2011-3937026750
Oct-2011-4027326205
Nov-2011-4122426555
Dec-2011-4277226628
Jan-2012-4351926721
Feb-2012-4438527125
Mar-2012-4392428240
Apr-2012-4391028078
May-2012-4396228669
Jun-2012-4387728894
Jul-2012-4344728645
Aug-2012-4341628738
Sep-2012-4311928928
Oct-2012-4247829774
Nov-2012-4168430013
Dec-2012-4067630268
Jan-2013-3952430980
Feb-2013-3812230704
Mar-2013-3675130940
Apr-2013-3519331889
May-2013-3365832298
Jun-2013-3194432753
Jul-2013-3012033603
Aug-2013-2834734378
Sep-2013-2651434631
Oct-2013-2482135512
Nov-2013-2328336702
Dec-2013-2081038101
Jan-2014-1915239216
Feb-2014-1730941101
Mar-2014-1574942534
Apr-2014-1425243527
May-2014-1320144435
Jun-2014-1222445686
Jul-2014-1117647957
Aug-2014-1045350148
Sep-2014-985852127
Oct-2014-904353512
Nov-2014-844854632
Dec-2014-755654969
Jan-2015-658456379
Feb-2015-645056663
Mar-2015-600557271
Apr-2015-599257823
May-2015-549958359
Jun-2015-521058637
Jul-2015-517659780
Aug-2015-486560248
Sep-2015-480161298
Oct-2015-478262480
Nov-2015-462363592
Dec-2015-472764536
Jan-2016-442765103
Feb-2016-404666718
Mar-2016-356766722
Apr-2016-356866931
May-2016-345567449
Jun-2016-316367776
Jul-2016-301667688
Aug-2016-273366767
Sep-2016-240566281
Oct-2016-234865993
Nov-2016-228065474
Dec-2016-222665115
Jan-2017-243264901
Feb-2017-257564199
Mar-2017-265964008
Apr-2017-268063496
May-2017-280862732
Jun-2017-291562448
Jul-2017-312561870
Aug-2017-355861592
Sep-2017-397060506
Oct-2017-421959572
Nov-2017-449959017
Dec-2017-484658126
Jan-2018-513058214
Feb-2018-527657142
Mar-2018-583656768
Apr-2018-604056231
May-2018-622756140
Jun-2018-679155786
Jul-2018-715455766
Aug-2018-725256132
Sep-2018-728356711
Oct-2018-755756925
Nov-2018-757156809
Dec-2018-761157180
Jan-2019-754056647
Feb-2019-739856910
Mar-2019-709156776
Apr-2019-652156510
May-2019-606457185
Jun-2019-560457705
Jul-2019-461058416
Aug-2019-352160076
Sep-2019-271561842
Oct-2019-155565153
Nov-2019-3867763
Dec-2019290269688
Jan-2020445972825
Feb-2020661478613
Mar-20201144980490
Apr-20201320277003
May-20201514072692
Jun-20201728368181
Jul-20201919960220
Aug-20202089052682
Sep-20202249844106
Oct-20202305334703
Nov-20202280726793
Dec-20202007421103
Jan-20211959510712
Feb-202118666-2673
Mar-202115500-8938

The net gain in New Zealand citizens in the year ended March 2021 is mostly due to fewer New Zealand citizens departing overseas, relative to those arriving.

The provisionally estimated 7,800 migrant departures of New Zealand citizens in the year ended March 2021 was well below historical levels, which averaged 51,900 for March years 2002-2020.

Diagram showing international migration estimates (provisional), year ended March 2021. Text alternative available below diagram.

Text alternative for diagram International migration estimates (provisional), year ended March 2021

Diagram shows outcomes-based (provisional) estimates of migration, by citizenship (New Zealand or non-New Zealand) for the year ended March 2021. Overall, net migration is 6,600, made up of a net gain of 15,500 NZ citizens (based on 23,300 migrant arrivals, a 50 percent decrease on the year ended March 2020, and 7,800 migrant departures, a 78 percent decrease) and a net loss of 8,900 non-NZ citizens (based on 13,100 migrant arrivals, a 91 percent decrease on the year ended March 2020, and 22,000 migrant departures, a 62 percent decrease).

The net loss of non-New Zealand citizens in the year ended March 2021 was driven by the large decrease in migrant arrivals, relative to migrant departures.

In the last year there were a provisionally estimated 13,100 migrant arrivals of non-New Zealand citizens. This is down from the peak of 138,500 in the year ended March 2020, and well below historical annual levels which averaged 86,300 for the March years 2002-2019.

Who is a migrant

‘Migrant arrivals’ are overseas residents, including New Zealand citizens living overseas, who cumulatively spend 12 of the next 16 months in New Zealand after arriving.

‘Migrant departures’ are New Zealand residents, including non-New Zealand citizens living in New Zealand, who cumulatively spend 12 of the next 16 months out of New Zealand after departing.

Migrant arrivals and departures include the flows of New Zealand citizens as well as the flows of non-New Zealand citizens as both affect the population living in New Zealand. The classification of travellers as migrants is based on their time spent in and out of New Zealand, not what visa type or passport they cross the border on, and not on their responses on arrival cards. Given this, we need to observe up to 16 months of travel history, using the 12/16-month rule, to definitively classify a border crossing as a migrant movement. Border crossing data after March 2021 therefore informs the latest migration estimates.

/Stats NZ Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.