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65+ population on the rise – age group has nearly doubled since 1981

The 65-years-and-over age group nearly doubled in number between 1981 and 2013 – from 309,795 to 607,032 people – according to 2013 Census results released by Statistics New Zealand today. The 65+ age group increased from 9.9 percent to 14.3 percent of the population in that period, and is projected to grow to 23.8 percent in another 30 years.

People aged 85 and over are making up a growing proportion of the 65+ group – from 10.8 percent in 2001 to 12.1 percent in 2013 – and are projected to be 19.7 percent by 2043.

“We’ve seen a very noticeable shift since the 1981 Census. The proportion of over-65s is steadily increasing, and is expected to continue growing – especially in the over-85s bracket,” Census Customer Focus Manager Gareth Meech said.

The latest figures show the Thames-Coromandel district had the highest proportion of people aged 65+, at 27.0 percent, and Wellington city the lowest, at 9.5 percent.

Over one-quarter (27.5 percent) of the 65+ age group were born overseas, and one in three of these has been in New Zealand for 50 years or more.

“People aged 65 and over are working for longer. In 2013, 22.1 percent of the age group were employed, which is up from 11.4 percent in 2001,” Mr Meech said.

Almost 65 percent of people aged 65+ said that they lived in a household with access to the Internet in 2013. By the age of 75 years and over, the proportion falls to 49.1 percent.

2013 Census QuickStats about people aged 65 and over has information about the 65+ population, including population projections, geographic location, culture and identity, work, unpaid activities, income, housing, and households.

Other key points about the 65+ population in 2013 include:

  • 54.1 percent were women and 45.9 percent were men.
  • 34.8 percent were ex-smokers.
  • 74.5 percent own or partly own their usual residence.

People aged 65+ living in New Zealand – infographic shows key facts about this age group.

Find related information: 


For media enquiries, contact: Colin Marshall, Wellington 04 931 4600, info@stats.govt.nz

Authorised by Colin Lynch, Acting Government Statistician, 30 June 2015

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