The number of births and deaths in South Canterbury decreased last year.
In 2013 there were 623 live births in the region, a slight decrease of o.2 per cent.
In Timaru there were 479 live births, a 4 per cent decrease from 2012.
This follows the nationwide trend of the number of births dropping in most regions, according to a new report from Statistics New Zealand.
Nationally, 58,717 live births were registered in 2013, down 2461 (4 per cent) from 2012. Deaths in South Canterbury also decreased, down 10 per cent from 626 in 2012 to 564 in 2013.
Mackenzie district had the biggest decrease in deaths, dropping 19 per cent.
South Canterbury's natural increase (live births minus deaths) was 59, the second lowest increase in 10 years. Waimate district had the largest natural increase in the region with 25.
Deaths throughout New Zealand also decreased slightly in 2013, down 531 (2 per cent), from 30,099 in 2012 to 29,568 in 2013. Auckland and Canterbury regions had the highest number of deaths in 2013 with 7566 and 4098, respectively.
New Zealand's natural increase was 29,149, the lowest since 2003.
Population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said the number of births influences the future size and age of the population. The highest number of births recorded in any year was 65,390 in 1961. At that time, New Zealand's population was 2.5 million, compared with 4.5 million in 2013.
- © Fairfax NZ News