The population of New Zealand, along with those of other developed countries, is ageing rapidly. The rate of population ageing is unprecedented, with the number of New Zealanders aged 65 years and over projected to increase from 553,000 in 2009 to 1.07 million in 2031, and to 1.44 million in 2061. Importantly, the ratio of those aged 65 years and over to those aged 15–64 is projected to increase from 0.19 (older people per person aged 15–64) in 2009 to 0.34 in 2031 and to 0.43 in 2061. This more than doubling of the ratio of older people to those in the prime working and income-earning ages represents a dramatic demographic shift which has implications for New Zealand, particularly in terms of the ability to support New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) at current levels.
Michael P. Cameron teaches in the Department of Economics at the University of Waikato.
Matthew Roskruge is with the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis, University of Waikato.