Growth in life expectancy slows

Life expectancy continues to increase, although the change over time has slowed, Stats NZ said today.

Life expectancy at birth for the population as a whole is 80.0 years for males, and 83.5 years for females, based on death rates in 2017-2019. Life expectancy for males has increased by 0.5 years since 2012-2014, and by 2.0 years since 2005-2007. Life expectancy for females has increased by 0.3 years and 1.3 years over the same time periods.

“While life expectancy is still increasing, the increase over the last few years is smaller than in the past,” population estimates and projections manager Hamish Slack said.

“Increases in life expectancy were highest in the late 1980s to early 2000s.”

MaleFemale
1950-195267.271.3
1955-19576873
1960-196268.473.8
1965-196768.274.3
1970-197268.574.6
1975-19776975.5
1980-198270.476.4
1985-198771.177.1
1990-199272.978.7
1995-199774.479.7
2000-200276.381.1
2005-20077882.2
2012-201479.583.2
2017-20198083.5

The gap between male and female life expectancy at birth has narrowed from 4.1 years in 2005-2007 to 3.5 years in 2017-2019.

Māori life expectancy has increased, but gap persists

Life expectancy at birth was 73.4 years for Māori males in 2017-2019 (up 3.1 years from 2005-2007), and 77.1 years for Māori females (up 2.0 years from 2005-2007). In comparison, non-Māori males are expected to live to 80.9 years, while non-Māori females are expected to live to 84.4 years.

The gap between Māori and non-Māori life expectancy at birth was 7.5 years for males and 7.3 years for females in 2017-2019. This is down from 8.6 years for males and 7.9 years for females in 2005-2007, and from 8.8 and 9.3 years respectively in 1995-1997.

The gap has grown slightly from 2012-2014, however the underestimation of the 2013 Māori population estimates may have impacted the 2012-2014 life tables. Therefore, we have focused on comparing over a longer period.

Māori population estimates for 2006-18: Methods and results has more information about the underestimation and revised population estimates.

MaleFemale
Total8083.5
European or Other8184.5
Māori73.477.1
Pacific75.479
Asian85.187.9

Life expectancy at birth was 75.4 years for Pacific males, and 79.0 years for Pacific females in 2017-2019. It was 85.1 years for Asian males, and 87.9 years for Asian females.

Regional life expectancy

In the 2017-2019 period, both males and females in the Tasman region were estimated to have the highest life expectancy at birth (81.2 and 84.5 years respectively), followed by those in Auckland (81.0 years for males and 84.3 years for females). Life expectancy at birth was lowest in the Gisborne region (76.8 years for males and 80.6 years for females).

Differences in life expectancy at birth reflect several interrelated factors, including socioeconomic and health factors. For example, the 2018 Census showed that 22 percent of people aged 15 years or over in Gisborne were regular smokers, compared with 11 percent in the Auckland region and 12 percent in the Tasman region.

Smoking is a dying habit has more information about smoking rates in 2018.

Mortality and Demographic Data – series published by the Ministry of Health has more information on cause of death data.

It is important to note that life expectancy estimates for regions with small death and population numbers have greater uncertainty. Calculations for life tables are based on where someone lived at the time of death, which may not necessarily be where they spent most of their life.

Male
Tasman region81.2
Auckland region81
Marlborough region80.6
Otago region80.6
Wellington region80.2
Nelson region80.2
Canterbury region80.1
NEW ZEALAND80
Waikato region79.6
Taranaki region79.3
Bay of Plenty region79.2
Southland region79.1
Northland region78.6
West Coast region78.6
Hawke’s Bay region78.5
Manawatū-Whanganui region78.4
Gisborne region76.8
80.681.9
80.881.2
79.981.2
80.281
79.980.5
79.580.8
79.980.4
79.980.1
79.379.8
78.879.7
78.979.6
78.679.7
78.179
77.879.4
78.178.9
7878.7
76.177.5
Female
Tasman region84.5
Auckland region84.3
Marlborough region84.3
Otago region84.1
Wellington region83.6
Nelson region83.6
Canterbury region83.8
NEW ZEALAND83.5
Waikato region83.1
Taranaki region82.9
Bay of Plenty region83.1
Southland region82.7
Northland region82.2
West Coast region82.1
Hawke’s Bay region82.2
Manawatū-Whanganui region82.3
Gisborne region80.6
83.985.2
84.284.5
83.784.9
83.784.4
83.483.9
8384.2
83.684.1
83.483.6
82.983.4
82.583.4
82.883.4
82.283.1
81.882.5
81.482.8
81.882.6
81.982.6
79.981.2

Life expectancy at birth was lowest in the most deprived areas of New Zealand in the 2017-2019 period, 74.1 years for males and 78.5 years for females. The highest life expectancies were in the least deprived areas (84.7 and 87.5 years for males and females respectively). Deprivation areas are based on the NZDep2018 Index of Deprivation.

Period life expectancy is the average length of life remaining at a given age and is calculated using death rates over the specified period.

/Stats NZ Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.