Living in New Zealand: A Health Statistics Comparison

I considered writing a “Living in New Zealand: Renting” post today, but decided against it after last week’s whining 🙂

Instead, I’m going to share what I consider to be some interesting, thought-provoking health statistics for both the United States (where I’m originally from) and for New Zealand.  There’s no real rhyme or reason for why I selected the ones that I did – they’re iteresting to me because of what I do professionally, and thought-provoking for a number of reasons.  You’ll see what I mean.

Life Expectancy at Birth…

  • New Zealand: 79 (males), 83 (females)
  • United States: 76 (males), 81 (females)

Probability of Dying Under the Age of 5 (per 1,000 live births)…

  • New Zealand: 6
  • United States: 8

Probability of Dying Between Ages 15 – 60 (per 1,000 population)…

  • New Zealand: 86 (males), 57 (females)
  • United States: 134 (males), 78 (females)

Maternal Mortality Rates per 100,000 live births…

  • New Zealand: 8.5
  • United States: 16.7

Child Maltreatment Deaths per 100,000…

  • New Zealand: 1.2 (tied for #3 in the world)
  • United States: 2.2 (tied for #1 in the world)

Cancer Deaths per 100,000…

  • New Zealand: 327.3
  • United States: 321.9

Heart Disease Deaths per 100,000…

  • New Zealand: 127.3
  • United States: 106.5

Motor Vehicle Deaths per 100,000…

  • New Zealand: 14
  • United States: 15.5

Suicides per 100,000…

  • New Zealand: 3.8
  • United States: 4.5

Smoking Prevalence…

  • New Zealand: 23.7% (males), 22.2% (females)
  • United States: 24.1% (males), 19.2% (females)

Percent of Population that is Obese…

  • New Zealand: 20.9%
  • United States: 30.6%

Total Expenditure on Health Per Capita (Intl $)…

  • New Zealand: $2,667
  • United States: $7,410

Total Expenditure on Health as % of GDP…

  • New Zealand: 9.7
  • United States: 16.2

Nurses per 1,000…

  • New Zealand: 9.6
  • United States: 8.1

Some of the stats that really stood out to me were:

The high rate of male deaths in the US between ages 15-60 (females aren’t doing so hot, either): I’m curious as to why the rate of male deaths is so high.  I know that men have shorter life expectancies in general, and I have some ideas as to why the US rate might be so high for men in that age bracket in particular, but I’d be interested in learning some more about that number and why it is what it is.

The US maternal mortality rate: This didn’t surprise me, but it’s still ridiculous

The NZ number of child maltreatment deaths: Again, not a huge surprise to me because media here reports on the disproportionate amount of child abuse in NZ, but still discouraging :-/

Cancer Deaths: I was a bit surprised that the numbers were so close

Heart Disease: I’m not informed enough to speculate on why the NZ rate was higher, but I have some theories.

Expenditure on Health per Capita: The US spends more than triple what NZ spends, but our life expectancy is lower.  Obviously throwing money at the problem isn’t working.

….Number of Nurses: I found that stat buried away somewhere and really loved it.  NZ has more nurses per person despite a nursing shortage.  Granted, some areas of healthcare have fewer nurses than others, but overall I’ve been impressed with how well-staffed my department is.

All statistics were gathered from here and from here.

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3 comments

  1. Lessons in Life and Light says:

    You know that mortality rate (infant) KILLS me. Ugh. WHY?!?! Oh yeah, because we think birth is ALWAYS a medical event that needs to be managed. I really wish more people here in the US would get on board with the use of midwives and a better maternity leave program. I think these two things alone would have a huge impact on not only infant mortality rates, but we’d see a rise in breastfeeding rates, lower crime rates, better performance in school, and I could seriously go on and on.

    Great post!

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