Sunday May 12
Around a quarter of New Zealand’s population are mothers, and each year 56,000 women start or add to their family by
giving birth, according to a new set of figures released on Mother’s Day by Women’s Affairs Minister Laila Harré.
Compiled by Statistics New Zealand, the figures reveal that there are 900,000 mothers in New Zealand.
And like those in other developed nations, New Zealand women are having fewer children and giving birth later in life.
The average age of New Zealand women giving birth is now 29.4 years, which is on average four years older than the norm
for her mother's generation.
While today's grandmothers (women born in the early 1950s) averaged 2.5 children, today's new mothers are likely to
average less than two children.
New Zealand's mothers are also having more multiple births.
Around one in 65 women will have twins, while one in 2,000 will have triplets. Thirty years ago one in 100 women gave
birth to twins, while one in 10,000 had triplets.
Laila Harré says new fertility procedures and improved pregnancy care have undoubtedly contributed to this shift.
However, older parenting is also a factor in the rise in multiple births.
The highest fertility rates are recorded in Northland and Gisborne, with around 2.5 children per mother. Conversely, the
Otago region has the lowest rate, at 1.54.
More than100, 000 mothers (117,603) are the only parent in the family, caring
for 208,851 dependant children.