New Zealand’s population is expected to reach 5 million by the mid 2020s, according to projections by Statistics New Zealand.
While the total population is expected to grow, a greater number of us will be in the older age group:
New Zealand’s population aged 65 years and over (65+) is projected to eclipse 1 million in the late 2020s, Statistics New Zealand said today. According to the 2009-base national population projections, by the late 2020s those aged 65+ will comprise one in five New Zealanders and exceed the number of children aged under 15 years.
Currently, there are 550,000 people aged 65+ and 890,000 children. These trends largely reflect the higher fertility rates of the 1950s and 1960s, the much lower fertility rates since, and the continuing gains in life expectancy.
The population growth is expected to slow from an average of 1.2% in the past five years to an average of 1% in the next decade, .7% a year in the 2020s and .5% in the 2030s.
These figures are from mid-range series 5, one of nine different projection series derived to indicate the likely size and structure of New Zealand’s population. This projection assumes in the long run that New Zealand women will average 1.9 children each, that life expectancy will continue to increase, and that net migration will average 10,000 people a year.
People worried about the impact people have on the environment may be cheered by the thought that the birth rate will be under the figure of just over 2% needed for population maintenance.
Those already concerned about immigration won’t be happy that our population increase will come from immigrants rather than live births.
This is happening throughout the western world. But what these stats don’t show is that the people who are delaying having families and having fewer children tend to be better educated and wealthier than those who are having more children.
The social and economic implications of that may be just as serious as the implications of the increase in the average age.