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Births and Deaths: September 2004 quarter

Births and Deaths: September 2004 quarter - 3 November 2004
Births Buoyant

There were 58,380 live births registered in New Zealand in the September 2004 year, Statistics New Zealand reported today. This is 5.7 percent more than in the September 2003 year (55,210) and is the highest number of live births registered since the September 1993 year (58,770). Annual birth rates for the September 2004 year suggest that New Zealand women average 2.02 births per woman.

This is below the level required for a population to replace itself without migration (2.1 births per woman). However, New Zealand's fertility rate is higher than that for Canada (1.6 births per woman), Sweden, England and Wales and the Netherlands (all 1.7 births per woman), and Australia (1.8 births per woman).

The trend towards delayed motherhood is continuing. On average, New Zealand women now have children five years later than their counterparts in the early 1970s. The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of New Zealand women giving birth is now 30.2 years, compared with 28.5 years in 1994, and 24.9 years in the early 1970s.

In the September 2004 year, women aged 30–34 years had the highest fertility rate (120 births per 1,000 women), followed by those aged 25–29 years (111 per 1,000). This is a significant departure from the early 1970s when early marriage and early childbearing were the norm. At that time, the 20–24 year age group was the most common for childbearing, with a fertility rate of about 200 births per 1,000 women. This compares with only 72 per 1,000 in the September 2004 year. Similarly, the current fertility rate for women under 20 years (28 per 1,000) is roughly two-fifths of the rate in 1972 (69 per 1,000).

Deaths registered in the September 2004 year totalled 27,930, compared with 27,990 in the September 2003 year. The New Zealand abridged life table for 2001–2003 indicates that a newborn girl can expect to live, on average, 81.2 years, and a newborn boy 76.7 years. These represent gains of 1.5 years for females and 2.3 years for males since 1995–1997.

The natural increase of population (excess of births over deaths) was 30,450 in the September 2004 year, up 3,220 (11.8 percent) on the year ended September 2003. Natural increase accounted for 63 percent of the population growth during the September 2004 year, and net migration the remaining 37 percent.

Brian Pink

Government Statistician


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