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Birth Rate Stable

Births and Deaths: December 2005 quarter

17 February 2006

Birth Rate Stable

Annual birth rates for the December 2005 year suggest that New Zealand women average 2.0 births per woman, Statistics New Zealand said today. New Zealand's total fertility rate has been relatively stable over the last decade, also averaging 2.0 births per woman. This figure is below the level required by a population to replace itself without migration (2.1 births per woman).

Sub-replacement fertility is common among developed countries, including Australia (1.8 births per woman) and England and Wales (1.7).

While the total birth rate has been relatively stable, there has been a significant shift in the timing of births. In the December 2005 year, women aged 30–34 years had the highest birth rate (120 births per 1,000 women aged 30–34 years). Conversely, in 1995 women aged 25–29 years had the highest birth rate (123 per 1,000).

The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of New Zealand women giving birth is now 30 years, compared with 29 years in 1995, and 25 years in 1975. The median age of women giving birth to their first child was 28 years in the year ended December 2005.

There were 57,740 live births registered in New Zealand in the December 2005 year. The 28,200 girls and 29,550 boys registered can expect to live longer than earlier generations. The New Zealand abridged life table for 2002–2004 indicates that a newborn girl can expect to live, on average, 81.3 years, and a newborn boy 77.0 years. This represents gains of 5.8 years for females and 8.0 years for males since 1975–1977 (about the time their parents would have been born).

Deaths registered in the December 2005 year totalled 27,030. There were 13,600 female deaths and 13,430 male deaths. Just over three-quarters of the deceased were aged 65 years or over, while only 6 percent were aged under 40 years.

The natural increase of population (excess of births over deaths) was 30,710 in the December 2005 year. All regions in New Zealand had more births than deaths in 2005. Auckland's natural increase (13,870) made up 45 percent of the national natural increase. Auckland's large share of New Zealand's natural increase is due to the small number of deaths relative to the number of births and the size of its population.

Brian Pink
Government Statistician


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