Our changing population

New Zealanders are living longer, and our older population is growing faster than our younger population.

New Zealanders are living longer

Independent life expectency at birth, non-Māori females

Graph showing how independent life expectancy has changed. In 1996, it was 66.9 years, with a further 8.1 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 5.6 years with dependency requiring daily assistance. In 2001, it was 67.9 years, with a further 8.7 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 5.3 years with dependency requiring daily assistance. In 2006, it was 69.8 years, with a further 8.2 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 5 years with dependency requiring daily assistance. And in 2013, it was 67.4 years, with a further 10.4 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 6.1 years with dependency requiring daily assistance.
Source: Ministry of Health, Independent Life Expectancy in New Zealand 2013

Independent life expectency at birth, Māori females

Graph showing how independent life expectancy has changed. In 1996, it was 58.2 years, with a further 6.9 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 6.2 years with dependency requiring daily assistance. In 2001, it was 58 years, with a further 9.4 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 5.8 years with dependency requiring daily assistance. In 2006, it was 61.6 years, with a further 9.1 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 4.4 years with dependency requiring daily assistance. And in 2013, it was 60.4 years, with a further 12 years of dependency requiring non-daily assistance, and a further 4.7 years with dependency requiring daily assistance.
Source: Ministry of Health, Independent Life Expectancy in New Zealand 2013

Many of our later years are lived with a disability

Māori and non-Māori life expectancy at age 65

Graph showing life expectancy with and without disability for different demographic groups. For Māori males, life expectancy was 70.5 years without disability, and 80.4 years without disability. For Māori females, it was 74.4 years without disability and 82.5 years with disability. For non-Māori males, it was 75.6 years without disability and 84.1 years with disability. And for non-Māori females, it was 75.7 years without disability and 86.6 years with disability.
Source: Ministry of Health, Independent Life Expectancy in New Zealand 2013

Our older population is becoming more ethnically diverse

Projected growth of population 75+ by ethnicity (with 20-year percentage increase)

Graph showing the projected rise in the population aged 75 and over, split by ethnicity. In 2015/16, the total population is 292,530, including 13,460 Māori, 5920 Pacific people, 13,590 Asian people and 259,560 people of other ethnicities. In 2035, the total population is projected to be 646,500, including 50,480 Māori, 18,960 Pacific people, 72,850 Asian people, and 504,210 people of other ethnicities. The percentage increase over this period is 275% for Māori, 220% for Pacific people, 436% for Asian people and 94% for people of other ethnicities.
Source: Statistics NZ, National population projections, by age and sex, 2014 (base)–2068

Our older population is growing faster than our younger population

Not only is our older population growing, it is growing faster than the overall population. This will result in higher percentages of people in older age groups.

Projected population growth, by age group

Graph showing the projected population growth from 2015/16 to 2035/36. For 0–24 year olds, the growth is only 1%. For 25–44 year olds, the growth is 14%. For 45–54 year, there is no growth, but a -8% reduction instead. For 55–64 year olds, the growth is 13%. For 65–74 year olds, the growth is 31%. For 75–84 year olds, the growth is 57%. For 85–90 year olds, the growth is 40%. And for those 90 or over, the growth is 45%. The total population is projected to grow from 4.6 million to 5.5 million over this period.
Source: Statistics NZ, National population projections, by age and sex, 2014 (base)–2068

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+.
Source: Statistics NZ, National population projects by age and sex, 2014 (base)–2068
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