Key Points:

Last year saw the highest number of births in the country since the baby boom years, Statistics New Zealand says.

There were 64,040 babies registered by the end of December, the highest number since 1963.

The year ending December 1961 saw the highest number of births recorded in New Zealand, with 65,390 registered.

Government Statistician Geoff Bascand said the birth rate was now 2.2 per woman.

Over the last 30 years the birth rate had been stable at roughly two births per woman.

In contrast, during the post-war years of 1948 to 1967 women averaged 3.8 births, with the rate peaking at 4.3 births in 1961.

Mr Bascand said last year's figures showed women aged 30 to 34-years-old had the highest fertility rate - 127 births per 1000.

The median age of New Zealand women giving birth was just above 30 and was relatively stable since 2002, he said.

The median age of women giving birth to their first child was 28 years in 2007, he said.

He said a newborn girl could look forward to a life spanning 81.9 years, and a boy to a life of 77.9 years.

Deaths registered in the year ending in December totalled 28,520, of which 320 were infant deaths.

Mr Bascand said the infant mortality rate was 4.9 per 1000 last year, down from 6.5 per 1000 in 1997.

- NZPA