It's official. Northland is the fastest-growing region in the country, with more than 27,000 more people living in the region than five years ago.

Latest Census figures from 2018 released by Stats New Zealand show Northland registered an 18.1 per cent growth between 2013 and 2018 to sit at 179,076, followed by Bay of Plenty (15.2 per cent), and Waikato (13.5 per cent).

The West Coast was the only region where population declined, down 1.8 per cent to 31,575.

Mangawhai rural recorded the largest population growth of 702 over that period, followed by 633 at Waipū, and 537 at Kaiwaka.

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Northland councils have made provisions in their policy documents to cater for expected population rise that will put more pressure on existing infrastructure and demand for housing.

Whangārei District Council chief executive Rob Forlong said the latest stats was a good result and was well within the council's projections.

He said Marsden Point and Ruakākā's population was now approaching that of Kaikohe, and that Tikipunga, Maunu and Three Mile Bush areas were also growing rapidly.

"WDC has been planning for the population increase for many years. The population increase is requiring more infrastructure, and we have responded by lifting our annual capital budget from $49m six years ago to $85m last year.

"Examples of new infrastructure include the new water treatment plant being built in Whangārei, new cycleways, roading improvements and seal extensions, and amenity projects like playgrounds, the ongoing developments around the Hatea Loop and on Pohe Island," he said.

Rural Mangawhai was the most popular area for people to settle in throughout Northland over the last five years. Photo/John Stone
Rural Mangawhai was the most popular area for people to settle in throughout Northland over the last five years. Photo/John Stone

Forlong said since the council was in a strong financial position, it was able to better cope with high growth than other councils may be.

Whangārei's population rose 18.1 per cent to 13,965 over the five-year period— from 76,995 to 90,960.

Kaipara District Council chief executive Louise Miller said the population growth was evident as Northland has a lot to offer families, individuals and those looking for a change of pace.

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"We're seeing great growth in Kaipara, being so close to Auckland. Helping our communities manage that influx is one of the challenges we're facing now, and preparing for.

"As a small district we're finding ways to enable us to grow our communities, not only in a people sense, but in ways that bring new ideas, new thinking and new opportunities for Kaipara and especially our young people," she said.

Stats NZ figures show Kaipara's population rose from 18,963 to 22,869 which was a 20.6 per cent rise.

Far North District Council general manager strategic planning and policy Darrell Sargent said providing affordable infrastructure for a growing population across a large district with more than 40 towns and villages remained the district's greatest challenge.

He said the Long Term and Infrastructure Strategy, District Strategy and Spatial Plan, Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan 2019 and an Integrated Transport Strategy would help meet that challenge.

Far North registered a population hike of 65,250— up 17.1 per cent from 55,734 in 2013.

Northland Inc acting chief executive Vaughan Cooper said people had moved up to Northland as the region was a wonderful place to live, work and play.

It was potentially also driven by the general exodus from Auckland that all the surrounding areas had experienced, he said.

"The region has experienced growth in all its sectors but manufacturing and construction have been particularly good performers in the last couple of years," Cooper said.

There were 77,595 Northlanders in the 30 to 64-year age group, 37,620 under 15 years old, 35,025 were 65 and over, and 28,836 were between the ages of 15 and 29.

The number of houses were up from 73,440 to 79,392.

Prior to the release of Census figures yesterday, the most up-to-date from Stats NZ found 5955 Aucklanders moved to Northland in the four years to the end of June 2017.

Key Census stats on Northland:

* Northland's population up 18.1 per cent - more than 27,000 people - to 179,076
* Rural Mangawhai experienced the biggest rise of 702 more people - 50.2 per cent.
* Number of houses up from 73,440 in 2013 to 79,392 - 8.1 per cent.
* Whangarei's population rose from 76,995 to 90,960 - 18.13 per cent.