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More men in their 30s joining the dad club

24 October 2019


Dads are embarking on the parenting journey much later in life than a generation ago, Stats NZ said today.

A new report released today, Parenting and fertility trends in New Zealand: 2018, looks at both mums and dads in New Zealand, and how trends in childbearing are changing. Generally, most birth statistics released by Stats NZ focus on mums, but the picture for dads has also changed over time.

“It has become less common for men in their late 20s to have a child than it was a generation ago,” population indicators manager Tehseen Islam said.

“It is now more typical for men in their 30s or early 40s to have children than it was in the 1980s,” Mr Islam said.

The underlying population shows an increase in men in their 20s, but fewer are fathering babies, resulting in a dropping paternity rate (number of live births per 1,000 men that age). The number of men in their late 30s and early 40s has also increased, but although more of these men are fathering babies, their paternity rates are stable.

“Dads are also more likely to be older than their child’s mum, most commonly one to two years older, but often up to a decade older,” Mr Islam said.

Annual birth numbers hold up

In the 1960s, the population of males at the age most likely to father babies (15–44 years) averaged 530,000. In the last decade, this has increased to an average of 895,000. However, the number of live births in New Zealand has fluctuated between 50,000 and 65,000 each year over the last 60 years.

This means the birth rate for every 1,000 males has declined over the past generation.


The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit More men in their 30s joining the dad club

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