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Average age of first-time mums is 28 years

Embargoed until 10:45am – 14 May 2008
Average age of first-time mums is 28 years

The average age of women giving birth to their first child was 28 years in the year ended March 2008, Statistics New Zealand said today. The average age of all New Zealand women giving birth was around 30 years and has been relatively stable since 2003.

The birth rate is now 2.1 births per woman. Although this represents a slight increase from recent years, the birth rate has been relatively stable at around 2.0 births per woman over the last 30 years. In contrast, during 1949–1978 women averaged 3.4 births, with the birth rate peaking at 4.3 in 1961 and then dropping steadily to 2.1 in 1978.

In the March 2008 year, women aged 30–34 years had the highest fertility rate (125 births per 1,000 women aged 30–34 years). Forty years ago, in 1968, women aged 20–24 years had the highest fertility rate (218 per 1,000), almost three times the 2008 rate (75 per 1,000).

There were 63,250 births (32,360 boys and 30,890 girls) registered in New Zealand in the March 2008 year.

The highest number of births registered in any March year was 65,800 in 1962. At that time New Zealand's population numbered just 2.5 million compared with 4.3 million in 2007.

A newborn girl can expect to live 81.9 years, and a boy 77.9 years. Life tables for 2004–2006 show that the gap between female and male life expectancy has narrowed from 6.4 years in 1975–1977 to 4.1 years.

Deaths registered in the March 2008 year totalled 28,300, of which 330 were infant deaths (under one year of age). The infant mortality rate (infant deaths per 1,000 live births) was 5.3 per 1,000 in the March 2008 year, down from 6.3 per 1,000 in 1998, and 18.2 in 1968.

Births exceeded deaths by 34,960 in the March 2008 year.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
14 May 2008

ENDS

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