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Increase in births continues

18 November 2008

Increase in births continues

There were 64,540 live births (33,060 boys and 31,480 girls) registered in New Zealand in the September 2008 year, up 3.5 percent from 2007, Statistics New Zealand said today. This number of births is the highest for any September year since 1962 when 65,660 live births were registered. At that time New Zealand's population numbered just 2.5 million, compared with 4.3 million in 2008.

The birth rate reached 2.2 births per woman in the September 2008 year, up from 2.1 in 2007. The last time this level of fertility was reached was in 1991. Despite the recent increase, the current birth rate is around half the peak of 4.3 births reached in 1961.

In the September 2008 year, women aged 30–34 years had the highest fertility rate (127 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 their 2008 rate (78 per 1,000).

On average, New Zealand women now have children about five years later than their counterparts in the mid-1960s. The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of New Zealand women giving birth is now 30 years, compared with 25 years in 1968. The median age of women giving birth to their first child was 28 years in the year ended September 2008.

Deaths registered in the September 2008 year totalled 29,130, up from 28,150 in 2007. Deaths continue to be concentrated in the older age groups. The median age at death in the September 2008 year was 77 years for males and 83 years for females, compared with 72 for males and 77 for females in 1988. Only 5.5 percent of the deceased were aged under 40 years in the September 2008 year, compared with 9.0 percent in 1988.

Births exceeded deaths by 35,410 in the September 2008 year. National population projections (2006-base) show that natural increase is likely to decline over the next 50 years. Deaths are projected to outnumber births from 2055. Geoff Bascand

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    18 November 2008


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