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Senior drivers overtake 25-34 year-olds on NZ roads

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (NZ): September 2002 – August 2003 (n=11,078) & September 2012 – August 2013 (n=10,477)

The proportion of Kiwi seniors (aged 65+) who drive has grown by almost 10% in the last 10 years—but 25-34 year olds are today less inclined to get behind the wheel, the latest research from Roy Morgan shows.

New Zealanders aged 65+ are now more likely to drive than 25-34 year olds. Back in 2003, 91.0% of the younger group drove compared with 83.7% of seniors; today, 91.4% of seniors are still behind the wheel but just 87.6% of Kiwis in their late 20s and early 30s drive.

The proportional rise among seniors equates to nearly 170,000 more motorists aged over 65, and now makes these drivers the third largest bloc of road users behind 35-49 and 50-64 year-olds, with the 25-34 year-olds bumped down to fourth.

However it is among 18-24 year-olds where we have witnessed the steepest decline, from 76.0% a decade ago to 70.4% now. In both the 35-49 and 50-64 age groups, the proportion of drivers is relatively unchanged since 2003, with over 93% driving.    

There are now three million drivers on NZ roads—an increase of almost 400,000 over the last decade—but the overall proportion of New Zealanders driving (84.3%) is down 1.4% points since 2003. 

% of New Zealanders who drive – by age

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (NZ): September 2002 – August 2003 (n=11,078) & September 2012 – August 2013 (n=10,477)

Pip Elliott, General Manager of Roy Morgan New Zealand, says:

“A marginally lower proportion of Kiwis are driving now compared with 10 years ago. But with the population increasing by around 17% over that time, this means there are actually 15% more drivers on our roads.

“The Over 65s is the only age group with a proportional increase in people driving; all other age groups saw a decline compared with 10 years ago.

“The decline in driving among younger people correlates to an increase in public transport usage. For instance, in the year to August 2003 25% of all 25-34 year-olds travelled by bus within an average three months; in the year to August 2013, this had risen to 30%.”  

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Pip Elliott, General Manager of Roy Morgan New Zealand

Telephone: (09) 969 6950

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About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%