Story: Health and society

Life expectancy at birth by gender and ethnicity, 1951–2013

Move the mouse over the lines on the graph to compare life expectancy. Click on a life expectancy group in the key to remove that line from the graph; click on that group again to restore it.

Females have consistently had higher life expectancy than males. The life expectancy of Māori women is higher than that of Māori men – but lower than that of non-Māori men. Māori life expectancy increased significantly after the Second World War and the gap between Māori and non-Māori narrowed. However, Māori life expectancy plateaued in the 1980s and 1990s before increasing again from the early 2000s. By contrast, non-Māori life expectancy grew more rapidly between the 1980s and early 2000s than in previous decades. In the 21st century, Māori life expectancy was increasing at the same rate as that of non-Māori.

Note: Māori mortality was undercounted in the 1980s and 1990s because the ethnicity recording systems for death registrations differed from those used for the five-yearly census. This graph uses adjusted data from the New Zealand census-mortality study for Māori life expectancy between 1980 and 1999.

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Source: Statistics New Zealand: Infoshare

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Health and society - Socio-economic status, ethnicity and health inequality', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 April 2024)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 6 Apr 2018