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New Zealand ages as population growth slows

05-14-2012 10:29 BJT

WELLINGTON, May 14 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's population growth slowed in the year to March to its lowest rise in more than a decade, due to emigration and fewer births, the government statistics agency announced Monday.

The population stood at 4.43 million at the end of March, a rise of just 0.6 percent, or 27,700, year on year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

The rate of growth was the lowest for a March year since 2001, when the population rose by 0.5 percent, or 21,000.

The country had a natural increase (excess of births over deaths) of 31,100, and a net migration loss of 3,400.

"A combination of fewer births, more deaths, and more people leaving New Zealand has resulted in the country's lowest population growth since 2001," population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said in a statement.

And the population was getting older, said the statement, with 14 percent aged 65 years and over in the year ending March, compared with 12 percent in 2002.

The percentage of population aged 15 years or under fell from 22 percent to 20 percent in the same period.

Of the 600,000 people aged 65 and older, those 80 years and over were the fastest growing group.

"In the next 40 years, the number of people aged 80 years and over is expected to more than triple from 160,000 to exceed half a million," Blackburn said.

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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