Story: Death rates and life expectancy

Deaths from communicable diseases, 1876–1976

The epidemiological transition is driven by a shift in deaths from those caused by communicable diseases such as measles, smallpox and tuberculosis to those caused by non-communicable diseases such as cancer. As this graph shows, for Pākehā there was a big decrease in deaths from communicable diseases between 1876 and 1916. For Māori this decrease happened between 1945 and 1976.

Using this item

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand

Source: I. Pool, 'Mortality trends and differentials.’ In Population of New Zealand / Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, vol. 1. ESCAP country monograph series, no. 12, 2 vols. New York: United Nations, 1985, pp. 209–242.

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How to cite this page:

Ian Pool, 'Death rates and life expectancy - New Zealand epidemiological transitions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 1 July 2022)

Story by Ian Pool, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 14 Mar 2019