Central Otago has experienced a decade of exceptional population growth. Between 2000 and 2010 the population has grown by 23%, from 14,850 to 18,200.
The fastest rate of growth has been experienced in the Cromwell Ward, which has grown by over 65% in the decade, while the Alexandra basin has still had exceptional growth of over 25%. The populations of the Teviot Valley and the Maniototo have stayed the same or slightly decreased.
Note: Vincent Ward was formed in 2007 and includes Alexandra, Earnscleugh and Manuherikia.
The population growth can be attributed to several factors including:
- The growing influence of lifestyle choice.
- The flow on effect of growth in the Queenstown Lakes area (especially for Cromwell).
- The increasing importance of Central Otago as a regional service base.
- New industry sectors such as tourism and viticulture as well as continued growth strengthening of traditional industries.
Future growth projections indicate that the population of the District will continue to grow. The question is how much! Statistics NZ forecasts the rate of growth to slow to less than 1% per annum, so that by 2030 the population of the district will be 21,000. Work done for the District Council by Rationale consultants for long term planning purposes indicates that the population could be in excess of 24,000 by then.
Both projections agree that growth will continue to be fastest in Cromwell while the populations of Roxburgh and the Maniototo will be more static. Alexandra will continue to grow but at a slower rate than Cromwell.
Due to its small base, however the change in Central Otago’s population will continue to be subject to surges both inwards and outwards. For example, a major mining or hydro development could see a huge influx of people to the district.
Most of the forecast increase in population will come from migration rather than births.