Life expectancy continues to increase in NZ, although the change over time has slowed, according to Stats NZ.
Life expectancy at birth for the population as a whole is 80 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. For females, life expectancy 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.”
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 per cent of people aged 15 years or over in Gisborne were regular smokers, compared with 11 per cent in the Auckland region and 12 per cent in the Tasman region.