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 Improving trend   IMPROVING TREND

 Life expectancy has been increasing steadily in the Waikato region for several decades.

This indicator is life expectancy at birth for people living in the Waikato region, derived from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) Life Tables and Census information.

Why is this indicator important?

Life expectancy is a key indicator of the general health of the population. Improvements in life expectancy figures reflect improvements in the region’s social and economic conditions, lifestyle, access to health services and medical advances. Those people in the region who are living longer also potentially have more years to benefit from these related improvements as a result. Measuring life expectancy can also help us to plan for the increased need for support systems and other resources as longer life spans can impact on our region’s population levels and the degree of support older people may need.

Life expectancy

Bar chart of life expectancy at birth

Year Life expectancy at birth (years)
1990-1992 76
1995-1997 77
2000-2002 79
2005-2007 80
2012-2014 81

What is this indicator telling us? 

  • Life expectancy in the Waikato region is similar to the national average: 79 years for males and 83 years for females. Gains in life expectancy since the mid 1980s can be attributed to better living standards and improved health care.
  • There remain marked differences in life expectancy between different ethnic groups, with the life expectancy for Māori at around seven years less, in comparison with non-Māori. However, this gap is narrowing over time.
  • There is some variation in average life expectancy between different territorial authority areas in the Waikato Region, ranging from around 80 years in Otorohanga and Waipa to less than 77 years in South Waikato and Waitomo. These differences may be for a wide variety of reasons including age profiles and socio-economic status.
  • New Zealand’s life expectancy is currently more than a full year higher than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 80 years.

Check out related information on our website and other organisations’ websites listed on our Waikato Progress Indicators’ Useful Links page.

Click here to view report cards



The time series from 1990-1992 for Waikato region and New Zealand was previously compiled by MARCO (Monitoring and Reporting Community Outcomes) and can be verified through the SNZ website (e.g. refer Life expectancy at birth in New Zealand by sex, Infoshare database).

Life Table data are reported separately for males and females. This indicator takes a simple average to arrive at estimated life expectancy for both sexes.

New Zealand Subnational Period Life Tables for 2012-14 were released in July 2015. 

Update details: Most recent figures are from the 2013 Census results.

Customised data request requirements: Nil


Territorial Authority (TA) disaggregation: Some TAs only (Thames-Coromandel, Waikato District, Matamata-Piako, Hamilton, Waipa, Taupō)

Other regions: Yes 

New Zealand: Yes 

Other countries/ Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): Secondary statistics from OECD Wellbeing Report:Health – Key findings. In particular, the OECD findings state that: 'life expectancy at birth in New-Zealand is 82 years, two year higher than the OECD average of 80 years. Life expectancy for women is 83 years, compared with 80 for men’.