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Ageing

Our ageing population

Population ageing, resulting from falling fertility levels and increasing life expectancy, is one of the most important issues facing OECD countries. Like most OECD members, New Zealand has an ageing population.

Between 1990 and 2000, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over grew from 11.1 percent to 11.8 percent. This proportion is similar to that for the United States, Canada, Australia, Poland, Iceland, the Slovak Republic and Ireland. However, it is much lower than that for Italy (18.1 percent), Japan (17.4 percent), Greece (17.4 percent) and Sweden (17.3 percent), and lower than the OECD average of 13.8 percent.

 Ageing Population

(percentage of people aged 65 and over), 2000

  Percent
 OECD 13.8
 New Zealand  11.8

Fewer working people

An ageing population results in there being proportionately fewer working-age people generating resources to support the increasing number of retired people.

In New Zealand in 2000, there were 18 people aged 65 years and over for every 100 people aged 15 to 64 years. This was below the OECD average of 21. By 2050, New Zealand is projected to have 38 people aged 65 years and over per 100 people aged 15 to 64 years, compared with an OECD average of 47. Although this is a marked increase, New Zealand’s elderly dependency ratio will remain well below those of countries such as Japan and Spain, where there are projected to be around 70 older people for every 100 working-age people by 2050.

 

Elderly Dependency

(people aged 65 and over per 100 people aged 15–64 years)

  2000 2050
 OECD 21 47
 New Zealand 18 38
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