'Ageing' Timaru has more deaths than births

The age of the average Timaruvian is growing older.
The age of the average Timaruvian is growing older.

Deaths outnumbered births in Timaru for the second year running.

Statistics NZ's latest survey revealed that while Timaru recorded 486 live births for the year to the end of September - more than the previous year - it was offset by 513 deaths during the same period.

The Mackenzie (47 live births and 34 deaths) and Waimate (70 live births and 59 deaths) districts recorded a natural increase for the year.

However, this was the second year running that Timaru had recorded a natural decrease in its population. For the year ending September 2011, the district recorded 488 deaths against 467 live births.

Waikato University population studies professor Natalie Jackson said although the trend could "correct" itself in Timaru, the ageing population inevitably lead to a low or zero population growth.

"It's something we have to prepare ourselves for. You might get a positive increase, through migration, but the birth rates have not been keeping up with the increase in the number of older people," she said.

For the Canterbury region, Statistics NZ noted that the number of live births (6510) was the lowest for almost a decade, and down 6 per cent on the previous year.

New Zealand College of Midwives chief executive Karen Guilliland has previously said she expected earthquakes and the "ongoing pressure and anxieties" were the major reasons for the drop in births.

A total of 60,462 live births were registered in New Zealand during this period, down 1799 (3 per cent) from the year ending September 2011.

Nationally, deaths increased in the September 2012 year compared with 2011, up 249 to 29,956. The national natural increase of 30,506 people in the September 2012 year was the lowest since 2005.

The Timaru Herald