In 2017, Whanganui’s population rose by 700 people, a 1.6% increase, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Statistics New Zealand. Since 2014, the Whanganui district has been steadily growing, from 43,400 in 2014 to 44,500 in 2017, making the current population the highest it’s been since 2000. This is the biggest annual increase since population changes were first recorded in 1996.
Part of this population increase is due to growing international migration into Whanganui. In 2014, only 63 people migrated to Whanganui from overseas. In 2017, the number had increased to 211 international migrants.
Mayor Hamish McDouall says, “This is a clear sign that people are seeing Whanganui as an attractive place to live with an enjoyable lifestyle.”
He says, “The population increase reflects what people are experiencing – a lot of Whanga-newbies, rising house prices, and a growing economy. The previous two government projections did not seem to reflect the growth that most people could see around them, but the test census has clearly flagged that Whanganui is becoming more popular.”
Mr McDouall says the council is working on a Long Term Plan that incorporates this population growth, to ensure Whanganui can provide for a larger number of residents.
GDP per capita has also been rising in Whanganui, reaching $35,280 in 2017, which is a 3.5% increase from 2016’s GDP per capita of $34,070. In the last two years, Whanganui’s average household income has jumped from $59,300 to $68,300, a $9,000 (15%) increase. In this time, the district’s unemployment rate has dropped from above 10% to below 8%.
Mayor McDouall says, “Growth in both population and our economy are fantastic signs for Whanganui and signify that our beautiful city is heading in the right direction. A growing economy is beneficial for everyone in Whanganui as it means there are employment opportunities, increasing money flow for businesses and ultimately leads to more money in the pockets of Whanganui residents.”
All of these statistics are publicly available on MBIEs Regional Economic Activity App and Statistics New Zealand’s website.