Monday, 28 November 2016

Newsflash! Population growth will be highest on the fringes of fast-growing urban areas

I'm not sure how this is news:
Infometrics has this morning released its Regional Hotspots 2016 report, showing the country's top future population growth areas between 2013 and 2023, revealing some obvious and less obvious areas...
The hotspots were concentrated around the country's main metropolitan centres, "reflecting the highly urbanised nature of New Zealand's population and the greater density of potential new markets offered by these growth areas".
Well, duh. The Infometrics report is here, but it doesn't really say much that isn't obvious to anyone with local knowledge who hasn't been living under a rock. For instance, North Hamilton is one of the 'hotspots' and this is part of what they have to say about it:
The choice of this hotspot reflects the ongoing trend of the growth in Hamilton’s metropolitan area towards the north. Although there are also longer-term plans for expansion of the city southwards towards the airport, growth in the shorter-term will be focused on the fringes around Flagstaff, Rototuna North, and Huntington.
The whole report is full of re-packaged Statistics NZ data on area unit population estimates (to 2016) and projections (to 2043), which anyone can view here, so it doesn't even include anything new. Last Thursday must have been a slow news day.

For more on small-area population projections though, you can read my report with Bill Cochrane for the Waikato Region here (there is a more recent update to that report, but it isn't available online - if you would like a copy, drop me an email). We use a model of statistically downscaling higher-level population projections using a land use projections model (a more detailed paper is currently in peer review for journal publication). This is a significant advance over the method employed by Statistics New Zealand, because it takes into account the planning decisions of councils at the local level. The results (in some cases) are strikingly different from Statistics New Zealand's projections, and suggest that more can be done to improve the quality of 'official' small-area population projections.

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