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Further Decline in Teenage Fertility Rate

Births and Deaths: September 2001 quarter

Further Decline in Teenage Fertility Rate

The fertility rates for almost all women fell during the September 2001 year, Statistics New Zealand reported today. The drop was largest for teenagers. Their fertility rate decreased by 5 per cent from 29.6 births per 1,000 women in the September 2000 year to 28.0 per 1,000 in the September 2001 year.

The trend towards delayed parenthood is continuing. In the September 2001 year, the 25 to 29 year age group, with a fertility rate of 116 births per 1,000 women, was the most common age group for childbearing, followed closely by the 30 to 34 age group (114 per 1,000). This represents a significant departure from the early 1970s, when early marriage and early childbearing were the norm and the age group 20 to 24 years was the commonest age for childbearing. On average, New Zealand women are now having children four years later than their counterparts in the early 1970s, when early marriage and early childbearing were the norm. The average age of women giving birth is 29.4 years.

About 55,900 live births were registered in New Zealand in the September 2001 year, 1,600 or 3 per cent less than the previous year (57,500). This drop is largely due to a decrease in the number of women in prime childbearing ages (20 to 34 years) and partly because fewer of these women are having children.

Annual birth rates for the September 2001 year suggest that New Zealand women average 2.00 births per woman. This is about 5 per cent below the level (2.10 births per woman) required for the population to replace itself, without migration. However, New Zealand's fertility rate is one of the highest among the OECD countries. It is at least 10 per cent higher than the fertility rate for Australia, Canada, England and Wales, France and Sweden.

Deaths registered in the September 2001 year totalled 27,600, up 4 per cent on the September 2000 year (26,600). With fewer births and a rise in the number of deaths, the natural increase of population (the excess of births over deaths) dropped by about 2,500, from 30,800 in 2000 to 28,300 in 2001. Over the same period, the rate of natural increase fell further from 8.1 per 1,000 mean population to 7.3 per 1,000; it was 9.2 per 1,000 in 1992.


ENDS

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