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Fewer New Zealand babies

Births and Deaths: March 2000 quarter

Fewer New Zealand babies

The number of live births registered in New Zealand in the March 2000 year totalled 57,909, about 2,400 or 4 per cent fewer than the peak of 60,331 recorded nearly a decade earlier in 1992. This drop is partly due to a decrease in the number of women in prime childbearing ages (20-34 years), Deputy Government Statistician Dianne Macaskill said today.

The annual birth rates suggest that New Zealand women now average 2.04 births per woman, which is about 3 per cent below the level (2.10 births per woman) required for the population to replace itself, without migration. Significantly, in 17 out of the last 20 years, fertility has been below the replacement level. However, New Zealand's fertility level is at least 10 per cent higher than Australia, Canada, England and Wales, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The trend away from early childbearing is consolidating, with fewer women having a child in their teens or early 20s. However, New Zealand's teenage fertility rate (30.5 per 1,000) remains one of the highest among the developed countries (outside the United States). It is over three times the teenage fertility rate in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan and France (all recording rates of less than 10 per 1,000). The average age of New Zealand women giving birth is now 29.3 years, compared with 28.0 years in 1992, a rise of 1.3 years.

Deaths registered in the March 2000 year totalled 27,955, up 3.6 per cent on the March 1999 year (26,989). Births exceeded deaths (called the natural increase of population) by 29,954 in 2000 compared with 29,607 in 1999. The gap between births and deaths stood at 33,727 in 1992. The rate of natural increase in March 2000 was 7.8 per 1,000 mean population, compared with 9.7 per 1,000 in 1992.

Dianne Macaskill

DEPUTY GOVERNMENT STATISTICIAN
END


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