Older people’s health data and stats

Facts and figures about the health of older people in New Zealand, and links to more statistics.

Percentage of population in older age groups

Graph showing the proportion of the population aged over 65, 75 and 85, for 2005/06, 2015/16, 2025/26 and 2035/36. In 2015/06, 12% of the population were 65+, 6% were 75+, and 1% were 85+. In 2015/16, 15% were 65+, 6% were 75+ and 2% were 85+. In 2025/26, 19% are projected to be 65+, 9% 75+ and 2% 85+. In 2035/36, 23% are projected to be 65+, 12% 75+ and 4% 85+.

Our changing population

  • New Zealanders are living longer.
  • Many of our later years are lived with a disability.
  • Our older population is becoming more ethnically diverse.
  • Our older population is growing faster than our younger population.

Find out more at Our changing population.

Expenditure increase 2005/06 to 2015/16

Graph showing that expenditure on support in the home increased 124% and expenditure on residential care increased 52%, while payments to district health boards increased 28% and the consumer price index increased by 12%.

DHB spending on services for older people

  • Older people use more health services than younger people.
  • Spending on services for older people is increasing faster than other expenses.
  • Rest home care is a large part of the budget.
  • The number of older people needing care will increase, but not the proportion.
  • Older people have been using acute hospital services less.
  • Older people are getting comprehensive clinical assessments.

Find out more at DHB spending on services for older people.

Prevalence of certain health conditions by age

Graph showing the percentage of people in different age groups with obesity, chronic pain and arthritis. For obesity, it is 20% for 15–24 year olds, 27% for 25–34 year olds, 33% for 35–44 year olds, 36% for 45–54 year olds, 38% for 55–64 year olds, 37% for 65–74 year olds, and 25% for those 75 and over. For chronic pain, it is 7% for 15–24 year olds, 12% for 25–34 year olds, 15% for 35–44 year olds, 24% for 45–55 year olds, 32% for 65–74 year olds, and 36% for those 75 and over. And for arthritis, it is 1% for 15–24 year olds, 3% for 25–34 year olds, 6% for 35–44 year olds, 16% for 45–54 year olds, 27% for 55–64 year olds, 44% for 65–74 year olds, and 54% for those 75 and over.

Health conditions

  • Some health conditions are much more common in older people.
  • Māori have higher rates of many health conditions than people of other ethnicities.

Find out more at Health conditions in older people.

Percentage of population who meet vegetable and fruit intake guidelines

Graph showing the percentage of people in different age groups, for different years, who met the fruit and vege intake guidelines. In 2012/13, 43% of people met the guidelines, including 51% of people aged 65–74 and 55% of those aged 75 or over. In 2013/14, 42% of people met the guidelines, including 54% of people aged 65–74 and 50% of those aged 75 or over. And in 2014/15, 40% of people met the guidelines, including 52% of people aged 65–74 and 49% of those aged 75 or over.

Health behaviours

  • Health behaviours like eating healthy food, not drinking alcohol or only drinking at low-risk levels and doing regular physical activity help people avoid developing long-term health conditions.
  • Loneliness has a strong relationship with poor mental and physical health outcomes.

Find out more at Health behaviours in older people.

Percentage of population who visited a GP in the past 12 months

Graph showing the percentage of people in different age groups who had visited a GP in the past 12 months. For 15–24 year olds, it was 70%. For 25–34 year olds, it was 73%. For 35–44 year olds, it was 76%. For 45–54 year olds, it was 81%. For 55–64 year olds, it was 87%. For 65–74 year olds, it was 91%. And for people 75+, it was 96%.

Health service use

  • Older people requiring residential care have a choice of facility.
  • Almost all older people visit a GP, but some experience have difficulty accessing services.

Find out more at Use of health services by older people.

Workforce

  • Profile of kaiāwhina workforce

Find out more at Health of older people workforce.

Publications

  • Published 10 December 2015
    This report presents the 2014/15 results from the New Zealand Health Survey, for both adults and children. The reports includes information on health behaviours and risk factors, health conditions and access to health services.
  • Primary care in advanced age.
    Published 13 October 2015
    This is short report presents findings from the Life and Living in Advanced Age Cohort Study (LiLACS NZ) about primary health care for Māori (aged 80–90 years) and non-Māori (aged 85 years).
  • Independence in daily activities in advanced age.
    Published 28 September 2015
    This report presents findings from the Life and Living in Advanced Age Cohort Study (LiLACS NZ) about the activities that people can perform independently or without assistance, for Māori (aged 80–90 years) and non-Māori (aged 85 years).
  • Cover thumbnail.
    Published 11 December 2014
    This report presents the 2013/14 results from the New Zealand Health Survey, for both adults and children. The report includes information on health behaviours and risk factors, health conditions and access to health services.
  • Publication Cover
    Published 30 June 2014
    This short report shows the oral health of people in advanced age, using findings from the Life and Living in Advanced Age Cohort Study (LiLACS NZ).
  • Cover thumbnail.
    Published 12 December 2013
    This report presents the 2012/13 results from the New Zealand Health Survey, for both adults and children. The report includes information on health behaviours and risk factors, health conditions and access to health services.
  • Cover thumbnail.
    Published 22 March 2013
    This brief paper presents key findings about the health and wellbeing of Māori adults and children in 2011/12. These results come from the New Zealand Health Survey.
  • Published 12 December 2012
    The report ‘The Health of  New Zealand Adults 2011/12’ presents key findings about adults’ health and access to health services in 2011/12. These statistics come from the New Zealand Health Survey.
  • A Focus on Maori Nutrition
    Published 28 February 2012
    This report presents key findings for Māori from the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey, including energy and nutrient intake, dietary supplement use, eating patterns, food security, and nutrition-related health (eg, body size, blood pressure and diabetes).
  • A Focus on Pacific Nutrition
    Published 28 February 2012
    This report presents key findings for Pacific peoples from the 2008/09 New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey, including energy and nutrient intake, dietary supplement use, eating patterns, food security, and nutrition-related health (eg, body size, blood pressure and diabetes). 
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