South Australia in 2016: Poor, old, slow-growing but generous with our time

South Australia is the second-poorest, the second-oldest and the second-least religious state in Australia, according to the latest census figures released this morning.

Jun 27, 2017, updated Jun 27, 2017
South Australia's population is among the oldest and poorest in Australia, the census has found.

South Australia's population is among the oldest and poorest in Australia, the census has found.

South Australia was pipped at the post by Tasmania on a number of indicators, including lowest personal and household income, lowest population growth, lowest religious affiliation and highest average age.

We also had the equal-second-lowest rate of overseas-born residents. But we marginally best the Apple Isle, and the rest of the nation, as the volunteer state.


South Australia had the second-lowest median weekly personal income ($600) and household income ($1206) of all the states and territories in 2016.

Tasmania had the lowest personal income ($573) and household income ($948).

The strongest personal income numbers were for the Northern Territory, at $871 per week.

Second-slowest growing

Adelaide had the country’s second-lowest capital city population growth rate: 5.8 per cent.

Hobart’s population grew by 5.1 per cent between 2011 and 2016, making it the only capital city with a slower-growing population than Adelaide.

Australia’s fastest-growing capital is Darwin, at 13.5 per cent, followed by Perth, at 12.4 per cent, and Melbourne, at 12.1 per cent.

On census night, there were 1,676,653 residents living in South Australia – that’s just over 80,000 more residents than in 2011.

There were about 2000 more people living in the Adelaide CBD in 2016 than in 2011 – rising to a total of 22,000 residents – giving the region the state’s second-highest population growth rate.

The City of Playford was growing faster. Its growth rate was 13 per cent – bringing its population from 80,000 residents in 2011 to 90,000 in 2016.


The average South Australian was 40 years old in 2016, making the state’s population Australia’s second-oldest.

The median age of a South Australian was 39 in 2011.

The average Tasmanian is now 42, up from 40 in 2011.

The Northern Territory has the country’s youngest population. The median age there is 32.

Second-least religious

South Australia had the second-highest proportion of people with no religious affiliation in the country in the 2016 census, at 35.4 per cent.

Almost double the number of people that marked ‘Catholic’ (301,034) marked ‘no religion’ (594,313) on their SA census form in 2016.

But Christianity was still the state’s most popular religion at 53.9 per cent overall.

The top five responses by proportion of the state’s population were ‘no religion’ (35.4 per cent), ‘Catholic’ (18 per cent), ‘Anglican’ (10 per cent), ‘not stated’ (9 per cent) and ‘Uniting Church’ (7.1 per cent).

Each of those figures was lower in 2016 than in 2011, except ‘no religion’, which had jumped 7.8 per cent.

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The top five religious affiliation responses from South Australians according to the ABS.

Tasmania has the highest rate of ‘no religion’ responses: 37.8 per cent.

New South Wales recorded the lowest rate of 25.1 per cent.

The top 20 responses for religious affiliation across the country, according to the ABS.

Highest rate of volunteering

South Australia recorded the highest rate of volunteering in Australia.

In 2016, 21.4 per cent of the population said that they volunteered with an organisation or group.

That’s marginally higher than Tasmania‘s rate of 21.3 per cent.

Victoria recorded 19.2 per cent, Western Australia recorded 19 per cent and Queensland recorded 18.8 per cent.

Second-lowest proportion born overseas

More than two-thirds of South Australians (71.1 per cent) were born in Australia: the equal second lowest rate of overseas-born residents, alongside Queensland.

The next-most popular country of origin in SA was England (5.8 per cent), then India (1.6 per cent), China (1.5 per cent), Italy (1.1 per cent) and Vietnam (0.9 per cent).

Tasmania had the highest rate of Australia-born residents (80.7 per cent).





Topics: census
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