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New Zealand

  • By: Kelly Dombroski
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Of the 4 million people in Aotearoa/New Zealand, approximately one-quarter are mothers, averaging 2.6 children each. The median age of first birth is 28, and fertility rates for the most part sit just below the replacement level. All all divorces, 45 percent involve couples with children; in 64 percent of these cases, mothers have sole custody. Birth control is widely used, and 31 percent of married couples with children opt for male sterilization. Abortion is legal, but restricted. Of all New Zealanders, 75 percent have an educational qualification, while 40 percent have a postschool qualification, and 5 percent have a higher degree.

The 1990s saw a swing back to midwife-based maternity care. Currently, New Zealand has free maternal and child health care. Pregnant women choose a ...

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