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Two Births for Every Death

Embargoed until 10:45am – 18 May 2006

Two Births for Every Death

The births of 28,590 girls and 29,850 boys were registered in New Zealand in the March 2006 year, Statistics New Zealand said today. Deaths registered in the March 2006 year totalled 27,430, of which 13,810 were females and 13,620 males. This means that there were approximately two births for every death. The natural increase of the population (excess of births over deaths) was 31,010 in the March 2006 year.

According to the latest national population projections, natural increase is projected to decline in the future, reaching about zero in 2041. From 2042, deaths are expected to outnumber births by an increasing margin.

Annual birth rates for the March 2006 year suggest that New Zealand women average 2.0 births per woman. New Zealand's total fertility rate has been relatively stable over the last 20 years, also averaging 2.0 births per woman. This figure is below the level required by a population to replace itself in the long term without migration (2.1 births per woman).

While the total birth rate has been relatively stable, there has been a shift in the timing of births. In the March 2006 year, women aged 30–34 years had the highest birth rate (122 births per 1,000 women aged 30–34 years). Conversely, in 1996 women aged 25–29 years had the highest birth rate (122 births per 1,000 women aged 25–29 years).

The infant mortality rate (deaths under one year per 1,000 live births) for the March 2006 year was 4.8, down from 6.5 in 1996. The March 2006 year infant mortality rate is the lowest recorded in New Zealand in any year.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician


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