More people dying than ever: Statistics

A record number of people have died in New Zealand in recent years and it's only going to get worse, Statistics New Zealand says.

The year ending in September had the second highest number of deaths in recorded history after the year to September 2008.

There were 28,680 deaths registered during the September year, down 2% from 29,130 in the previous year, Statistics New Zealand said today. The number of deaths had gradually increased over time due to population growth in the older age-groups, partly offset by longer life expectancy, statistician Geoff Bascand said. The number of deaths was predicted to continue to increase, surpassing 40,000 a year by 2029 and 50,000 by 2042.

The median age of deaths in the September 2009 year was 77 years for men and 83 years for women -- up from 71 for men and 78 for women in 1989.

At the other end of the circle of life, birth registrations in the year ending September totalled 63,160, down 2% from 2008.

The decrease was mainly due to 1200 fewer registrations in the June quarter compared with the June 2008 quarter. The latest annual figure was still 7% higher than the average of 58,770 births a year over the last decade, Mr Bascand said.

The birth rate was 2.1 births per woman in the year ended September, down from 2.2 the previous year. The current birth rate is about half the peak of 4.3 births per woman reached in 1961.

Births exceeded deaths (natural increase) by 34,480 in the September year, Mr Bascand said.

Highlights in the September year: * 63,160 live births were registered in New Zealand, down from 64,540 in the September 2008 year;
* the total fertility rate was 2.1 births per woman;
* women aged 30-34 years had the highest fertility rate -- 124 births per 1000 women;
* 28,680 deaths were registered, down from 29,130 in 2008;
* the median age at death was 77 for men and 83 for women;
* the infant mortality rate was 4.5 deaths per 1000 live births; and
* births exceeded deaths by 34,480.


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