Hamilton Population Projections

Many of Hamilton City Council’s past population projections have been within one percent of the current 2018-31 projection linear line (p42&p119), excluding the 2012-22 prediction:

2006-16 Long Term Plan (LTP) 2016 prediction of 159,600 (NZ census estimate 161,400): -1,800 [1.1%]

2009-19 LTP 2019 prediction of 166,500 (p34) current prediction 167,909 (p114): -1,409 [0.8%]

2009-19 LTP 2051 prediction of 242,000 (p34) is above current projection line

2012-22 LTP 2021 prediction of 150,000 (current prediction 171,606): -21,606 fail [14.4%]

2015-25 LTP 2045 prediction of 210,000 (p20) is below current projection line

The 2015-25 LTP also has predictions for rateable units:

2016 projected 56,600 units (p143), above actual 55,995* (p119) +605[1.0%]

2017 projected 57,053 units (p143), above actual 56,706* (p119) +347[0.8%]

*(all excluding not-rated) on Historical Benchmarking (p119) would expect this to be the same for 2015-25 LTP for benchmarking between plans.

Former 10-year Plans  10-year plan 2015-25

Draft 10-year plan 2018-28 from council agenda Dec 2017 (in Italic)


Looking back at council’s first District Scheme in 1963, it missed how attractive Hamilton was to new people. This was corrected with the 1973 District Scheme getting the 1981 projection bang on, while 1986 was 14% over. The 1991 Town Plan came closer at 5% below actual levels for 1996. The 2012 district plan (p26), which was based on 2001 census figures, estimated 2026 levels just below the census data projection line. The 2017 district plan uses Statistics NZ estimates dated June 2013 (p9) to estimate its 2031 population, which lands on the census date line.


Looking forward, the 2018-28 LTP does give warning on the long term risks of planning to the higher line Page 203

“External factors … there has been a modest downward revision to net migration and population growth forecasts nationwide, and this had a small effect on estimated underlying demand for new dwellings. … Over the longer term, if growth was to slow, this could present risks to Council, … all scenarios are based on University of Waikato’s National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA) Low which is a conservative growth projection when compared with the medium projection.

To conclude, city populations can and do change. Both New York’s Manhattan Island and Houston’s population grew from about 200,000 to 1,000,000 in a 50 year period, regardless of whether that growth was outwards or upwards in terms of actual building.



1963 – City of Hamilton District Scheme – NZ711-409-931-151-HAM (70-page A5 format)

1973 – City of Hamilton District Scheme – REF-S-711-409-931-151-HAM (37-page A5 format)

1981 – City of Hamilton District Scheme  – REF-S-711-409-931-151-HAM (89-page A4 format)

1991 – City of Hamilton Town Plan – REF-S-711-409-931-151-HAM (315-page A4 format plus appendices)

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