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Many New Zealand-born people migrate overseas, creating a diaspora, and many overseas-born people migrate to New Zealand. Both the diaspora and the overseas-born population in New Zealand may facilitate the international exchange of goods and ideas. Much discussion of international linkages has, however, been limited by a lack of data on numbers of people involved. Based mainly on place-of-birth data from national censuses, this paper provides estimates of the size and structure of New Zealand’s diaspora and overseas-born population, as well as comparisons with selected OECD countries such as Australia. A tentative conclusion is that the potential contribution of New Zealand’s diaspora may have been overestimated, and the contribution of the overseas-born population underestimated.
The authors would like to thank Statistics New Zealand for providing us with their unpublished study of the size of the New Zealand diaspora. Thank you also to Richard Bedford, Jim Rose, Bob Buckle, participants at a Treasury seminar and to Andrew Binning and Philip Liu for their excellent research assistance.
The views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Working Paper are strictly those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the New Zealand Treasury. The Treasury takes no responsibility for any errors or omissions in, or for the correctness of, the information contained in these working papers. The paper is presented not as policy, but to inform and stimulate wider debate.