The Bay of Plenty is the second-fastest-growing region in New Zealand, 2018 Census data released today shows.

Between 2013 and 2018 the region's population grew 15.2 per cent to 308,499. It was pipped only by Northland, which was up 18.1 per cent

The census data showed Tauranga's population rose by just shy of 22,000 people in the five years - expanding at a rate of 3.6 per cent a year.

The census put the city's population at 136,713, up 19.1 per cent since 2013.

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The number of people living in the Western Bay of Plenty increased by just over 7,600.

The district's population reached 51,321, up 17.5 per cent since 2013.

The Bay of Plenty was the second-fastest growing region in New Zealand. Graphic / Statistics NZ
The Bay of Plenty was the second-fastest growing region in New Zealand. Graphic / Statistics NZ

Nationwide, many of the fastest-growing territorial authorities were around Auckland, also impacting Tauranga and Hamilton, census general manager Kathy Connolly said.

When the last census was taken in 2013, Tauranga had a population of 114,789 people, and New Zealand had 4,242,051.

With 2.7 per cent of New Zealand's population, Tauranga was ranked New Zealand's six largest district by population size.

In early 2017, population estimates by Statistics New Zealand revealed Tauranga had overtaken Dunedin to become New Zealand's fifth-largest district with 128,200 people.

Tauranga's population is projected to pass 147,600 by 2024.

Participation in the Census, taken in March 2018, was lower than expected and data releases were significantly delayed while Stats NZ tried to fill the gaps with other government data.

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In August, following the release of an independent review that criticised aspects of the process, Government Statistician and Stats NZ chief executive Liz MacPherson resigned.

Tauranga population

2018 - 136,713
2013 - 114,789 (6th in NZ)
2006 - 103,632 (9th in NZ)
2001 - 90,906 (10th in NZ)
1996 - 77,775 (10th in NZ)

Western Bay population

2018 - 51,321
2013 - 43,692 (25th in NZ)
2006 - 42,075 (33rd in NZ)
2001 - 38,232 (32nd in NZ)
1996 - 34,971 (33rd in NZ)

Electorate populations

Bay of Plenty

2018: 71,057

2013: 57,242

Tauranga
2018: 66,787
2013: 58,202

Waiariki
2018: 67,111
2013: 57,676

Coromandel
2018: 66,834
2013: 58,879