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One million people aged 65+ within 20 years
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  27 October 2009

National Population Projections: 2009 (base)–2061  –  Media Release

New Zealand's population aged 65 years and over (65+) is projected to eclipse 1 million in the late 2020s, Statistics New Zealand said today. According to the 2009-base national population projections, by the late 2020s those aged 65+ will comprise one in five New Zealanders and exceed the number of children aged under 15 years. Currently, there are 550,000 people aged 65+ and 890,000 children. These trends largely reflect the higher fertility rates of the 1950s and 1960s, the much lower fertility rates since, and the continuing gains in life expectancy. 

New Zealand's population overall is projected to reach 5 million in the mid-2020s and 5.75 million in 2061. However, population growth will slow because of the narrowing gap between births and deaths. The number of deaths is expected to increase from 29,000 in 2009 to 40,000 in 2029, because of the increasing number of people in older ages. Over the next 20 years, net migration is expected to remain a minor contributor to population growth compared with natural increase (births less deaths). 

The population grew at an average of 1.2 percent a year between 2004 and 2009. It is expected to grow by an average of 1.0 percent a year in the 2010s, 0.7 percent a year in the 2020s, and 0.5 percent a year in the 2030s.

These figures are from mid-range series 5, one of nine different projection series derived to indicate the likely size and structure of New Zealand's population. This projection assumes in the long run that New Zealand women will average 1.9 children each, that life expectancy will continue to increase, and that net migration will average 10,000 people a year. 

Cathryn Ashley-Jones 27 October 2009
Acting Government Statistician
END

For media enquiries contact:
Kim Dunstan
Christchurch 03 964 8700
Email: demography@stats.govt.nz  

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