Karamea has a small population (627 residents in the 2006 census), it is located at the end of the most northern section of the road on the west coast of the South Island and its people are resilient, independent and proud of the magnificent natural surroundings within which they live. They support each other when help is needed and have significant social capital which is evidenced by the high number of volunteers supporting the many local organisations.
The demographics of the community remain stable with regard to age groupings, the ratio of males to females and the ratio of a predominantly European population to other ethnic groups. The household composition is also stable in relation to the ratios of single person to family households. There has been a shift, however, in the composition of family households with a rise, over the past 15 years, in couples only and a decrease in the numbers of couples with children. The 2006 Census indicates that this trend has also stabilised.
The total resident population has fallen by 3% over the last 15 years while the census night population has increased by 10%. The extent of increase in census night population has been greater than the reduction in resident numbers. The reasons for this are unknown but given that the census is always conducted in March this may be a reflection of increasing numbers of tourists and non resident property owners during that time of the year.
Every five years Statistics New Zealand makes an official count of the population and dwellings in New Zealand. The New Zealand's national statistical office provides overviews of New Zealand's communities in geographic and local government areas – regions, cities, districts (territorial authorities) and area units.
In 2007 a community group Karamea Community Business Ltd produced a community profile to get a better understanding of the needs of the community. The project was coordinated by Kathleen Gavigan and Clive Hellyar and the 2007 Karamea Community Profile was published in March 2008. A copy of the 2007 Karamea Community Profile is available as a PDF file (200MB.)
In September 2014 the Karamea Community Consultation Group asked for feedback about the long term future for our community. People shared their views through exercise books available at various locations around the district and via Consultation Survey form online.