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Father figures

Embargoed until 10:45am – 4 September 2008

Father figures

To acknowledge the positive role of fathers, Statistics New Zealand offers the following facts about fathers for Father's Day on Sunday, 7 September 2008:

• The average age of fathers of new babies is 33 years, but one in 100 babies has a father aged 50 years or over.

• Today's newborn babies have fathers who are, on average, five years older than their own fathers were when they were born.

• Fathers with children aged under one year manage 42 minutes less sleep than the average of 8.5 hours.

• Over a lifetime, fathers have seven fewer Father’s Days, on average, than mothers have Mother’s Days. This is because men generally start parenting later in life and women have a longer life span.

• More than a quarter (28 percent) of babies born in New Zealand last year were to fathers who were not themselves born in New Zealand. This compares with 22 percent a decade ago.

• On Father's Day 2007, 145 babies were born.

• Men still tend to marry women younger than themselves, but the gap between their average ages at first marriage has narrowed. In 1967, the gap averaged 2.5 years, but by 2007 it had narrowed to 1.8 years.

At the time of the 2006 Census:

• Approximately 19 percent of fathers had a tertiary qualification of a bachelor’s degree or higher.

• Approximately 13 percent of fathers worked from home or didn’t go to work on census day.

• Fathers were more likely to help around the home than other men – 91 percent of men who live in a parent and dependent child family did household work, cooking, repairs, gardening, and the like, for their own household compared with just 79 percent of men who were not living in a parent and dependent child family.

Data sources: birth registrations, New Zealand life tables, Time Use Survey, 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings.

Note: average age of marriage refers to the median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age).

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
4 September 2008


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