A demographic profile of Christchurch

peopleChristchurch is New Zealand's second largest city, with a population of 348,435 in 2006.  Between 2001 and 2006, the city's population grew by 7.5%.

Read the full demographic profile for Christchurch [PDF].

Our ageing population is growing

Like many developed countries, New Zealand's population is ageing.  In 2006, the national median age was 35.9 and is expected to rise to 39 by 2026.  People over 65 made up 12.3% of New Zealand's total population, while 21.5% of the population was under 15.

Christchurch is an ethnical diverse city

In 2006, 75.4% of Christchurch residents identified themselves as NZ European, compared with 67.6% nationally.  "NZ European"  includes people from many groups - British, Irish, South African, Australian and many European nations.  Asian people made up the next largest group with 7.9% of the city's population compared with 9.2% nationally. The Asian population is also made up of a number of different nationalities, including Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian. Maori make 7.6% of the population (14.7% nationally) and Pacific Islanders 2.8% (6.9% nationally).

Christchurch has some unique demographic characteristics around gender and household composition

In 2006, 52% of the Christchurch population was female.  In the age groups up to 25 years, males outnumber females.  From the age of 25 onwards, the number of females in each age group was higher, with females making up 60% of residents aged 70 years and over.

Christchurch has a higher proportion of single person households than the national average, reflecting the larger number of elderly people living in these cities.  In the 1980s, a couple with at least 1 child was the dominant household type in Christchurch with 35% of all households in this category. By 2006, households containing couples with at least 1 child (27%) were overtaken by those with couples without children (28%) and there were almost as many households of people living alone (25%).  In 2006, one-family households made up 66.2% of all households in Christchurch.  For New Zealand as a whole, 69.1% of households contained one family, and 23% were one-person households.  The average household in Christchurch had 2.5 people, compared with an average of 2.7 people for the rest of the country.

Impact of the Earthquakes on Christchurch people

Understanding the range of factors that contribute to people's health can help us develop policies and plans to improve health and wellbeing. The earthquakes of 2010-11 damaged homes, buildings, roads, water and wastewater systems, and community facilities such as pools, libraries and open spaces. The central city will need to be substantially rebuilt, and whole suburbs will need to be abandoned. It was lucky that the consultation for this City Health Profile was completed shortly before the 4 September 2010 earthquake. This provided a snapshot of what people thought about living in Christchurch and what they wanted to see changed. What they told us was consistent with many other consultations undertaken in recent years, including for the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy.

For many of us the earthquakes have 'shaken the ground we stand on' and this is has not just been physically.  Our whole lives have changed as we navigate new homes, new workplaces, new schools, new daily schedules and traffic jams like we have never experienced before. The feedback from this consultation can help remind us of what we valued before the quakes and guide our planning for the future.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch