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Wayback Machine

Births, Deaths and Life Expectancy

Longevity is something many aspire to and the good news for those in this camp is that we continue to live longer. Statistics New Zealand can always be relied upon to provide interesting facts and figures. This week the country's Births and Death figures for the June 2009 quarter were released.

According to Stats NZ there were 62,960 live births in the year to 30 June 2009, down from 64,140 in the previous year – this drop was largely the result of fewer babies being born in in the Auckland region. The birth rate was an average 2.1 births per woman, and women aged 30-34 years had the highest fertility rate – 123 births per 1,000 women.

A total 28,960 deaths were also registered for the June 2009 year – 270 more than the 28,690 in the June 2008 year. In spite of this, the population continues to grow with births exceeding deaths by 34,000 in the June 2009 year.

We are living longer than our predeccessors and it is especially interesting to note how much longer over time. Average life expectancy in New Zealand today is 78 years for women and 82 years for men. This is up from 1950 – 67 and 71 for men and women respectively – and from 1900, when men could be expected to live an average 54 years and women 57 years.

It is possible however to live too long. Jean Calmont was a French woman who lived to the age of 122. She remembered meeting Vincent van Gogh as a child, rode a bike until she was 99 and gave up smoking at the age of 100 for the good of her health! She did in her later years lament the fact that she had outlived several of her children and all of her friends.

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