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Health

Infant mortality

Falling infant mortality has been a feature in all OECD countries over recent decades. In 2002, New Zealand’s infant mortality rate was 5.6 deaths of children under one year of age for every 1,000 live births. This was the ninth-highest among OECD nations, similar to the rates for Greece (5.9) and the United Kingdom (5.3), and well above the lowest rate of 2.2 in Iceland. Although the New Zealand figure was below the OECD average of 6.6, this average is inflated by relatively high rates of infant mortality in Turkey and Mexico.

 Infant Mortality

(deaths under 1 year of age per 1,000 live births), 2002

  Percent
 OECD 6.6
 New Zealand 5.6

Public expenditure

In 2001, New Zealand’s public expenditure on health was equivalent to 8.1 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), very similar to the OECD average of 8.3 percent, but well below the United States figure of 13.9 percent of GDP. This placed New Zealand sixteenth of 29 countries.

Public Expenditure on Health

(percentage of GDP), 2001  

  Percent
 OECD 8.3
 New Zealand 8.1

 

Life expectancy

As infant mortality has declined in OECD countries, life expectancy has been increasing. New Zealand females born in 2002 could expect to live 81.2 years and New Zealand males 76.7 years. This was an increase of almost three years for females since 1990, and four years for males.

In 2002, New Zealand females had the fifteenth-highest life expectancy in the OECD, while New Zealand males had the eighth-highest. For both sexes this was above the OECD average. New Zealand’s life expectancy figures are similar to those for most western European nations.

 Life Expectancy

(years of expected life at birth) 

  Females Males
1990 2002 1990 2002
 OECD 78.3  81.2 72.4 76.7
New Zealand 78.3 80.6 71.7 74.7
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