Keith Rankin’s Chart for this Month: Immigration by Gender from 1979 to 2016


Economic analysis by Keith Rankin.

From 1979 to 1999, male and female net immigration were roughly on par; 11,000 males and 21,000 females over those 21 years. (Gross immigration was of course much more; these low net figures reflect high levels of emigration from New Zealand.)

Feminisation of New Zealand?
Feminisation of New Zealand?

From 2000 to 2016 – 17 years inclusive – there was a net inflow of 34,000 males and 157,000 females. Females prevailed every year except 2001, 2004, 2008, and 2015. While an important driving factor for the net data this century is less male emigration, other figures show that gross passenger movements of females exceeded males by 13,000 in 2016. In all other years from 1979, gross passenger movements favoured males by at least 86,000. In 2011, male passenger movements exceeded female passenger movements by 316,000.

I am surmising that large numbers of returning male New Zealand citizens are bringing foreign-born partners with them. And I suspect that many more females than males who initially came as students are gaining New Zealand residency, and staying on in New Zealand. This probably reflects the high success rates in education in New Zealand of female international students. (We might note here that recent net passenger movements of Chinese residents show a substantial excess of females – both arriving and departing – reflecting patterns that were established for Japanese and Korean residents from the mid‑1990s.)

It’s also interesting to note the high birth rate in New Zealand compared to many other countries. One of the most important contributions to new New Zealand demography is the numbers of children born in New Zealand to foreign‑born mothers. These children – authentic Kiwis – are certainly changing the face of non‑indigenous New Zealand.