25 Sep 2006

Niue's population is continuing to decline

7:33 am on 25 September 2006

Niue's population is continuing to decline.

The smallest nation in the world, which is totally reliant on overseas aid, recorded 1600 inhabitants on census night ... a decrease of almost 200 since 2001.

Nine of the 14 island villages recorded a downturn with Alofi North losing the most ... 113 of its 256 residents.

About 60 tourists were on the island during the census.

The government of Niue has been encouraging population development by

allowing Indian workers from the Punjab and Filipinos work permits.

Its main target has been encouraging the 20,000 Niueans living in New

Zealand to return home but the latest figures indicate little interest by expatriate Niueans.