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Births at 44-year high

Embargoed until 10:45am – 18 February 2008

Births at 44-year high

There were 64,040 births registered in New Zealand in the December 2007 year, the highest number since 1963, Statistics New Zealand said today. The highest number of births registered in any December year was 65,390 in 1961. At that time New Zealand's population numbered just 2.4 million compared with 4.2 million in 2007.

The birth rate is now 2.2 births per woman. This level of fertility was last reached in 1990. Although this represents an 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 1948–1967 women averaged 3.8 births, with the birth rate peaking at 4.3 in 1961.

In 2007, there were more births to women in all age groups compared with 2006. Women aged 30–34 years had the highest fertility rate (127 births per 1,000 women aged 30–34 years). Forty years ago, (in 1967), women aged 20–24 years had the highest fertility rate (215 per 1,000), almost three times the 2007 rate (76 per 1,000).

The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of New Zealand women giving birth was just above 30 years and has been relatively stable since 2002. The median age of women giving birth to their first child was 28 years 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 December 2007 year totalled 28,520, of which 320 were infant deaths (under one year of age). The infant mortality rate (infant deaths per 1,000 live births) was 4.9 in the December 2007 year, down from 6.5 per 1,000 in 1997.

Births exceeded deaths by 35,520 in the December 2007 year, the highest natural increase since 1972.

Geoff Bascand
Government Statistician
18 February 2008


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