More babies born

Statistics New Zealand released figures of births for the year ending June 2010. The figures show that births are up by 2%. Most of that increase is in Auckland.

In 1961, women had an average of 4.3 children but today women have an average of 2.2 children. Replacement birth rate is 2.1 for every woman. This means the number of babies to keep the population the same. The birth rate for Maori women is higher – 2.85 – and they are younger when they start having their family. The median (average) age for Maori women having babies is 25.6 years, for Pacific Island women it is 27 years, for Asian women it is 30 and for European women, 31 years. On average, European women have their first child when they are 28 years old.

The highest fertility rate – when most women have their babies – is in the 30 to 34 year range but there has been a big increase in later births – 35 to 39 year range. In the 40 to 44 year range, there were 15 births for every 1,000 births.

25% of babies had more than one ethnicity; for example part Maori and part Asian. 66% of Maori children had more than one ethnicity.

With an increase in babies, there is a shortage of pre-school education in some areas. In the near future, more primary schools will be needed, then more secondary schools.

For more on this topic, listen to these two items: Birth Statistics and New Zealand becoming more multi-cultural.

1. Do you know the birth rate for your country? How does it compare with the New Zealand birth rate?
2. Can you suggest why the birth rate in 1961 was much higher than today?
3. Can you suggest why there has been an increase in births to older women?

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