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New Zealand reaches lowest birth rate in a decade

Saturday, August 12, 2017

National News

New Zealand has recorded its lowest birth rate in a decade, with a particularly significant drop in birth rates for younger women, a Ministry of Health report has found.

Between 2006 and 2015, birth rates for women under 30 decreased, and for women under 20 the birth rate fell by over one third - from 29.1 to 18.3 per 1,000 females of reproductive age.

In contrast, the birth rate for women aged 40 and older increased significantly by 15 per cent.

According to the Ministry of Health Report on Maternity, those younger women under 20 who are giving birth are more likely to live in more deprived neighbourhoods, with 52.9 per cent of women living in quintile 5 compared with 4.1 per cent of women in quintile 1.

The national birth rate is now 63.6 per 1,000 females aged 15-44, the lowest since 2006.

This period of time between 2006 and 2015 also saw changes to birth rates by ethnic group. The birth rates for Māori and Pacific women decreased significantly, falling by 12 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

Birth rates for European and ‘other’ ethnicities have stayed much the same, whereas birth rates for Asian women have increased by 31%.

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