17 May 2011

Death rate creeping up as population ages

10:46 pm on 17 May 2011

The death rate is gradually increasing because of New Zealand's ageing population.

Latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand show that 29,110 people died in the year to March, an increase of 260 on the previous year.

The Christchurch earthquake and the Pike River mine disaster in November contributed to the rise in the death rate.

There were 300 more deaths in the Canterbury region, where 181 people died in the quake on 22 February.

On the West Coast - where 29 workers were killed in mine explosions - 30 more men aged between 15 and 64 died than in the previous year.

Statistics New Zealand projects that the number of deaths will reach 40,000 in 2029 and 50,000 in 2042.

However, figures show there were 63,183 births in the year to March, resulting in a natural increase of 34,077, some 1030 fewer than the previous year.