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NZ birth rate at 18-year high

Last updated 16:27 28/02/2009

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New Zealand's birth rate reached its highest level in 18 years.

Statistics New Zealand figures released today showed the birth rate reached 2.2 births per woman in the December 2008 year, the highest birth rate since 1990.

Women gave birth to 64,340 babies in 2008, up from 2007's number by 300. There were 33,100 boys born and 31,240 girls.

Births exceeded deaths by 35,160 last year, down 370 from 2007, SNZ acting government statistician, Dallas Welch said.

However, the 2007 figure of 35,520 remained the highest for a December year since 1972, Mrs Welch said.

In the December 2008 year, women aged 30 to 34 had the highest birth rate, with 126 births per 1000 women.

In 1968, women aged 20 to 24 had the highest birth rate, 218 per 1000 women.

On average, woman have children around five years later than women in the mid-1960s, Mrs Welch said.

The median age of women giving birth is now 30, compared with 25 in 1968, she said.

The median age of women giving birth to their first child was 28 in the December 2008 year.

There were 29,190 deaths in the December 2008 year, up 670 from 2007.

Deaths were projected to outnumber births from 2055, Mrs Welch said.

The median age of death last year, was 77 for men and 83 for women.

- NZPA

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