Hawke’s Bay has an ageing population and fewer women giving birth, in keeping with the nationwide trend.

Statistics released by Stats NZ on August 16 show Hawke’s Bay, as a region is on par with national statistics in terms of births and deaths.

For the year ending June 2023, there were 2037 live births in Hawke’s Bay, and 1701 deaths.

Nationwide 57,534 live births were registered, down from 60,009 and 38,346 deaths were registered, up from 36,723.

Stats NZ insights analyst at Population Estimates & Projections Rebekah Hennessey said total deaths in Hawke’s Bay increased about 2.5% per year from 2018 to 2023 (June years). That’s similar to the national increase of about 2.7% per year over that period.

“Over this time, the population aged 80+, where most deaths occur, increased by 3.8%. So, while deaths are increasing, it’s related to the area having more people in the oldest ages rather than increased deaths.” 

Stats NZ did not have annual estimates of Māori population at a subnational level, but using projected data from 2018, the Māori population aged 80+ in Hawke’s Bay was growing by about 6.3% on average each year, Hennessey said.

Māori deaths in Hawke’s Bay are also growing by about 5.4% on average each year.

“Again, this shows that increasing deaths is more to do with the increasing size of the older population instead of deaths increasing.

“(In Hawke’s Bay) annual number of deaths each year shows similar trends to the national trends around deaths increasing, and higher increases in the 2022 June year.”

Total births in Hawke’s Bay decreased by about 0.8% each year on average from 2018 to 2023.

Meanwhile, the population of women aged 15-49, the main reproductive ages, increased by 0.5% each year on average which indicated it was likely fewer women in Hawke’s Bay were having children.

Māori births increased by 0.7% on average each year between 2018 and 2023. Meanwhile, the population of Māori women aged 15-49 increased by about 2.2% on average each year.

This showed the increase in Māori births was a combination of more women in the childbearing ages, but with fewer of these women having children.

Hennessey said it was important to note the births data was based on the child being Māori, not necessarily that the mother was Māori, so some differences could arise there.

Nationally the natural increase (births minus deaths, with 19,185 more registered live births than registered deaths) was the lowest since 1943 when it was 17,562.

Fewer births in the June 2023 year, combined with a higher number of deaths caused this. An ageing population will result in natural increase continuing to decline, slightly dependent on the number of births each year.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


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1 Comment

  1. Sounds a lot like it’s going to make it an extra harder a burden, on the dwinding number of iratepayers living here, to keep up with paying their ever increasing rates demand! Just saying….

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