The number of people aged 65 years or older (65+) living in New Zealand is likely to hit 1 million by 2028, Stats NZ said today.
Population projections show that while there are currently about 842,000 people aged 65+, this number will continue to increase over the next 50 years.
“The number of people aged 65+ years is increasing by about 80 people a day and is likely to reach 1 million people within six years,” population estimates and projections manager Hamish Slack said.
The number of people in these older ages could reach 1.3 million around 2040, and 1.5 million by the 2050s.
The proportion of the population aged 65+ years is also increasing. In 2022, 1 in every 6 people in New Zealand were in these older age groups. In 2028, 1 in 5 people in the population will be 65+ years. By the 2050s, this group could make up one-quarter of the population.
The number of people aged 85+ years is also increasing. Currently there are about 93,000 people in this age group, and by 2025 there will be more than 100,000. By 2040, this could increase to 200,000 people aged 85+ years.
The proportion of this oldest age group in the New Zealand population is also increasing. Currently 1 in 50 people in the population are aged 85+ years. This could increase to about 1 in 30 during the 2030s, and to about 1 in 20 in the 2040s.
“While population ageing is not new, it will really accelerate over the next decade. The increasing number and proportion of older people in the population has implications across New Zealand's society,” Mr Slack said.
Currently, there are around 25 people aged 65+ years for every 100 people aged 15–64 years. By 2028, there could be 30 people aged 65+ years for every 100 people aged 15–64 years. This is projected to increase to about 40 per 100 in the 2050s.
The projections provide an indication of future population changes, based on demographic trends and current policy settings, to assist planning and policy formulation. Later in the year, Stats NZ will publish projections by ethnicity and for subnational areas to provide more information about possible changes in the future population.