Geoff Bascand, Government Statistician in New Zealand, issued the following media release yesterday. In addition to the same demographic challenges faced by the United States and other developed economies, New Zealand also has to contend with net outmigration (more people leaving than entering the country):
New Zealand’s population was 4,430,400 at 31 March 2012. The population grew by 0.6 percent (27,700) in the last year, Statistics New Zealand said today. The population growth is the lowest for a March year since 2001, when the population increased 0.5 percent (21,000).
An excess of 31,100 births over deaths (natural increase) caused population growth during the March 2012 year. There was a net migration loss (departures exceeded arrivals) of 3,400. “A combination of fewer births, more deaths, and more people leaving New Zealand has resulted in the country’s lowest population growth since 2001,” Population Statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said.
Our population continues to age. There were proportionally more people aged 65 years and over in the population at 31 March 2012, 14 percent compared with 12 percent in 2002. In contrast, the population aged less than 15 years decreased from 22 percent to 20 percent.
Those aged 65 and older now exceed 600,000, a number set to rise. Within the older age group, those 80 years and over are the fastest growing group. “In the next 40 years, the number of people aged 80 years and over is expected to more than triple from 160,000 to exceed half a million,” Mrs Blackburn said.