Census 2018 data release reveals Coromandel population trends 26 September 2019 The latest census data released this week shows a growing, but ageing, population for the Coromandel. (Photo: What's not to like? The Coromandel's population grew faster than the national average between the 2013 and 2018 censuses.) The Coromandel’s population grew by more than 14 percent between the 2013 and 2018 censuses, to 29,895, while the median age rose to 53.6 – the oldest in the country and an increase from 51.1 in 2013. Nationally, the population grew by 10.8 percent to nearly 4.7 million people and the median age was 37.3. The age cohort seeing the largest growth in numbers was the over-65s: on census night (6 March 2018) there were 9,273 in that age group compared to 7,059 in 2013. Our District also stands out in the first release of 2018 census data for having the largest proportion of unoccupied dwellings: 49.4 percent compared to the national ratio of 10.3 percent. Our district had 25,524 dwellings in 2018, an increase of 6.6 percent over 2013 and higher than the national increase of 6.2 percent. While the Thames area closely matches the national dwelling occupancy rate, the popular holiday destinations in our district have very high unoccupied dwelling rates: Cooks Beach-Ferry Landing (79.0 percent), Pauanui (77.0 percent), and Mercury Bay North (73.7 percent). Statistics NZ has released some census data down to the territorial government level and is expected to release more localised data soon. How we use the census data The census data is important is because it forms the backbone of the projections our Council uses to plan for essential infrastructure and services, including roads, water and wastewater treatment plants, stormwater drains, parks, reserves, recreational facilities and much more. We also use the census data in conjunction with economic and social analysis and forecasts from Infometrics (an independent consultancy) to aid our Council’s Productivity Plan work streams. The Productivity Plan outlines how we can partner with central and regional government agencies, local councils, industry, iwi (to facilitate Maori economic development) and the community to catalyse positive change that stretches outside our normal remit as a Council. The Plan is focused on high-value opportunities around land use and productivity, road, sea and air transport, data connectivity, aquaculture, and destination management and tourism. The release of the census data comes at the right time, as Council staff are beginning preparations for the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (LTP). Each LTP sets financial priorities (and rates) for a period of 10 years and is updated every three years.