Palmerston North's population is estimated to have reached 82,100 people, an increase of 870 people from the previous year. Mayor Jono Naylor welcomed the news that the city had exceeded or matched national growth rates for the third consecutive year.
"The city's young population and strong employment growth are both supporting the strong population growth in the city," Mr Naylor said. "The city's population was increasing by over 900 people a year, an important factor in supporting further business growth and employment in sectors like education and health, both major employers in the city."
The city's population expanded by 3,600 people over the last five years, well ahead of comparable cities - New Plymouth increased by 2,700 while the combined increase in Hastings and Napier was 3,300
The population of Manawatū District is now estimated to have reached the 30,000 mark, increasing by 280 people in the last year. Increased 'natural population' growth was the main contributor to the strong population growth.
There were 427 births registered in the District in the year to June 2011 compared with 364 in the previous year. The number of deaths registered in the region declined, contributing to 'natural population' growth of 244 people in the 12 months to June 2011 compared with 140 people a year earlier.
Mayor Ian McKelvie noted that the big increase in the number of births was not a surprise. "There has been strong growth in incomes in the region in recent years. Salaries and wages in the District increased by 7% in the year to June last year, well ahead of national data which showed no growth in national incomes," Mr McKelvie said. "The region has been benefitting from an increase in the number of jobs and higher average incomes for salary and wage earners."
Growth for the wider Manawatū region, which includes the city and Manawatū District, also compares well with surrounding regions. The Manawatū region reached a population of 112,100 in June 2011, increasing by 4,600 people over the five years from 2006, an increase of 4.3%. In comparison growth rates in adjacent regions were 2.1% in the Hawke's Bay, 2.2% in Taranaki, 4.4% in the Bay of Plenty and 4.6% in the Wellington region.