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The Demographic Forces Shaping New Zealand’s Future. What Population Ageing [really] Means

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This paper outlines the key demographic forces shaping New Zealand’s future. It ranges broadly across birth rates, life expectancy and migration to show how this converging demography will result in a regionally-disparate future. It identifies a migration-driven bite in New Zealand’s age structure across the young adult ages that is pronounced in non-urban areas, and argues that while rural regions have long lost young adults and sun-belt regions gained older, what differs is that this phenomenon is now occurring alongside population ageing, rendering such age structures no longer conducive to growth. The converging trends will not only make responding to baby boomer retirement more difficult but will increase competition for workers and push up labour and consumption costs. With the exception of larger urban areas and some retirement zones, it shows that sub national growth in much of New Zealand has already ended and that this scenario will continue to unfold until zero growth or population decline embraces all but the major urban areas. This is despite a national growth rate which is currently near equal the annual global growth rate. The paper posits that it is time to re-evaluate the question ‘when does population growth ‘end’?’

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Paper provided by University of Waikato, National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis in its series NIDEA Working Papers with number wp-1.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 13 Dec 2011
Handle: RePEc:wai:nidaea:wp-1
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