How Many Kids Are NZ Women Having?

A huge study recently published in The Lancet medical journal in 2018 took a close look at population growth around the world.

Do families still have 2.4 children?

Whilst the global average in 2017 was holding fast at the traditional 2.4 children, the study revealed that women in New Zealand were, on average, having 2.1 children each. This compares with 1.7 in the UK, 1.8 in the USA and 1.9 in Australia.

Countries that had the highest birth rates were Niger (7.1), Chad (6.7), Somalia (6.1), Mali (6.0) and Afghanistan (6.0).

New Zealand women were most likely to have children between the ages of 30 to 34 years old, with the second most likely age bracket being 25-29 years old.

The world’s population

The study also looked back at population growth since 1950. Back then the world had 2.5 billion people and women were having, on average, 5 babies each. Since 1970 the world’s population has doubled and currently stands at 7.8 billion.

New Zealand’s population has grown from 1.9 million in 1950, to 3.2 million in 1980, and currently is around 4.9 million.

This video from the American Museum of Natural History shows how our population has grown and the effect world events like the Industrial Revolution have had on population.

Is our population out of control?

Climate change, depletion of resources, species extinction, and many more of Earth’s current issues have been caused, at least in some part, by the growth of the human population. We are a very successful species. But are we destined to be too successful for our planet to bear?

It’s a controversial subject, but population control exists beyond the well known one-child policy introduced in China in the 1970’s (which has now been relaxed to two children). Other countries have from time to time introduced policies promoting either a restriction on the maximum number of children a couple should have, or more commonly, encouraging couples to have more children to boost the country’s population. These usually carry financial incentives. Countries like India and Pakistan encourage couples to wait a while to have children or to space them out more. Unfortunately some countries have in the past taken population control beyond encouragement and carried out sterilisation without consent or enforced a contraception ban.

How many kids do you have compared to your own parents? Join the discussion in the comments below.

Read more on Kidspot:

her world julieWritten by Julie Scanlon

Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire. 

Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”


  1. dawnblyth 02/12/2018 at 5:11 pm

    My dad was one of 13 or 14. My Mum had 3 children to her first marriage and 2 in the second marriage. Myself, I have 2 children and 2 miscarriages. We have decided to stop at 2 children as we are happy with the two we have, along with some other decisions that bought us to this point we also had to think realistically what we can afford to do in order to provide for our children. I wonder if the statistics here are lower in NZ for the number of children women are having because of the access to contraceptives, education and other healthcare?

  2. Shelz69 02/12/2018 at 9:08 am

    I had my first at 30, i didn’t feel old then and the timing felt right for me but now at times I wished I had them earlier. It was interesting to read that average amount of kids has reduced. I would love to have had more but could not financially afford it. My pet peeve is other people making judgement on others about what their family is too big or too small based on their own beliefs. I think everyone is different and make their own choices based on their circumstances and other people should respect it and keep their judgements to themselves. Same goes for those that choose not to have children.

  3. Alezandra 01/12/2018 at 10:43 pm

    I feel we do have a huge population around the world. But I think the average now is not as bad as before. With this in mind, we should be more aware of how to take care of our world for future generations. I clicked that link about sterilation without consent – that’s just too far. These women should have authority over their bodies.

  4. kymmage 30/11/2018 at 10:00 pm

    My parents has 2 kids, me and my brother. I have two kids and we have shut up shop haha. 2.1 sounds about right. I have a few friends with way more than 3 and a few with only one kid. Each to their own. Our decision was basically financial. We want to be able to travel and things and having more kids wouldn’t help that plus I’m 40 now so my eggs aren’t at peak quality.

  5. Jen_Wiig 28/11/2018 at 8:54 am

    Gosh I didn’t expect the average age to be where I am at now…i remember always being considered a young mum with my first ones and then a slighter older mum with my last ones…go figure Haha.
    I’ve 7 babies (1 in heaven) 5 boys and 1girl I was an only child and always said I’d have more than 1 child as I was so lonely growing up…my Mums parents had 4 children and my Dads parents the same and both great grandparents also had 4 on each side…my kids Dad is middle of 3 and his mum and Dad both were 1 of 3 in their families.
    I wonder if the rats of births and ages we are having them changing not just due to climate and government incentives/discouragement due to the general cost of living as well? It seems far more expensive having a child now than it did 20 years ago when I had my first at 15 and even only 10yrs ago when I had my 5th to now seems far more costly? I dont know maybe it’s just me but wonder if that factors in for people perhaps

  6. SarahBlair 26/11/2018 at 6:47 pm

    My parents had 6 and I have 6 so we are upping the statistics, my siblings all have larger families too, one of my sisters have 8 kids

  7. MuddledUpMolly 26/11/2018 at 3:34 pm

    Wow that average is lower than I thought! I am on my second (and final) child. My Mum had 4 and my Dad had 5. My sister has 3, and both my brothers have 1 each so our statistics are all over the show!

  8. Shorrty4life1 20/11/2018 at 10:12 pm

    Wowee by the looks of this read people are having children later in life. This is quite strange. I had my children early as I wanted to know I had energy to run around with them. I couldn’t imagine myself just starting to have children in 4 more years when I’m 33years old. I just wouldn’t have the energy.

  9. Bevik1971 15/11/2018 at 9:49 am

    My parents had 4 daughters (starting from 1970). I have 2 children and would have loved more but left it too late unfortunately 🙁 My first was at age 22 and second at age 41. I did get pregnant again at age 44 but sadly lost to a miscarriage.

  10. Mands1980 14/11/2018 at 6:48 pm

    I have 3 children so slightly more than the New Zealand average of 2.1. My parents had 3 children and my grandparents had 3 children on one side and 4 on the other. It’s hard work having and raising children so the overseas countries that have more children must find things difficult as well.

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