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Population Projections and Demographics

Understanding population growth in South Australia

The state government provides age and sex population projections at several levels which are updated every five years following the release of final figures from the most recent Census of Population and Housing published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS):

  • state
  • statistical division
  • statistical local area
  • local government area
  • South Australian government region.

On this page

Population projections for South Australia and statistical divisions 2011-2041

projected population and demographic change for South Australia infographic thumbnail

These population projections comprise three series (high, medium and low). They reflect the likely range of population futures for South Australia and its statistical divisions. The medium series is the likely outcome at the time of publication, while the high and low series enable management  of risks if a population trend that is higher or lower than the medium series emerges.

The factsheet (PDF, 245 KB) summarises projected population and demographic change for South Australia.

The report on Population projections for South Australia and statistical divisions  2011-2041 (PDF, 2122 KB) summarises the assumptions used to develop the projections and outlines the demographic context of the projection outcomes and their demographic significance.

The projections are based on the 2011 Census of Population and Housing and supersede those published in 2010. The South Australian Cabinet approved the projections and endorsed their use by State agencies on 10 August 2015.

Local area population projections 2011-2031

Age by sex projections are produced for the 127 statistical local areas, 70 local government areas and 12 South Australian government regions in the State. They are aggregated by five-year age groups for five-year intervals over the period 2011-2031. Because of the inherent uncertainties in small area projections, it is not appropriate to project beyond a 20-year horizon.

Users of these projections should carefully read the explanatory notes (PDF, 22 KB) before downloading the projections.

Local area projections are also available to view in Location SA Map Viewer:

Local Government Area

Statistical Local Area

The following table contains a subset of the population projections by Local Government Area and links to infographics. The full set of projections (age by sex by five-year intervals) are available in the Excel workbook above. Users should refer to the explanatory notes (PDF, 22 KB) before using these projections.

Cautionary note about using population projections

Population projections are not forecasts of the future. They are estimates of the future size, age structure and geographic distribution of populations based on particular assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration. Actual future populations will vary from these projections.

Current population

South Australia:

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the preliminary estimated resident population (ERP) of South Australia at 30 June 2018 was 1,736,422 people. This is an increase of 12,499 people since 30 June 2017 and an annual growth rate of 0.7%. Australia’s growth rate over the same period was 1.6%.

Population growth is driven by natural increase (births minus deaths) and net migration (overseas and interstate). Net migration contributed 60% of South Australia’s population growth in the 12 months to June 2018. Positive net overseas migration helped to counter South Australia’s net interstate population losses.

South Australia's components of growth, 2017-18

Components of population change SA

Year ended 30 June 2018

More information is available from Australian Demographic Statistics - ABS catalogue 3101.0.

Greater Adelaide Planning Region and Local Government Areas:Map of Greater Adelaide Planning Region and Regional SA

The latest available Australian Bureau of Statistics’ population estimates for local areas indicate that 1,452,862 people were living in the Greater Adelaide Planning Region as at 30 June 2018, accounting for 84% of South Australia’s population.*

In the 12 months to 30 June 2018 the Greater Adelaide Planning Region population increased by 12,546 persons which is a growth rate of 0.9%. Over the same period, Regional SA decreased by 47 persons to a total population of 283,560.

Of the Local Government Areas within the Greater Adelaide Planning Region, Onkaparinga (171,489) has the largest population, followed by Salisbury (142,555).

In the 12 months to 30 June 2018, Mount Barker recorded the highest growth rate (2.4%), while the combined Local Government Areas of Salisbury, Playford and Port Adelaide Enfield accounted for 29% (3,684) of the Greater Adelaide Planning Region's actual population growth.

Mount Gambier has the largest population of the regional Local Government Areas (27,176) and experienced an increase of 141 persons in the 12 months to 30 June 2018. Whyalla’s population declined by 238 persons over the same period. Apart from Maralinga Tjarutja (4.9%) which has a small population base (64 persons), Robe, Copper Coast and Streaky Bay shared the highest annual population growth rate in Regional SA, each at 1.5%. See interactive graphs below.

Population change, South Australia and its Regions

The population of South Australia continues to grow and its composition is ever changing. In the five year period between 2011 and 2016, South Australia’s population increased from 1.64 million to 1.71 million, at an average of 14,688 persons per year.

The population change webpage provides a concise overview of recent population change and demographic trends in South Australia. It also provides important contextual information about South Australia and its regions, and is used in the development of population projections. A summarised version of the population change webpage is also available as an infographic.

Workplace atlas report

The Workplace Atlas Report (PDF, 8396 KB) provides an overview of the nature and geographic distribution of employment in Adelaide. It contains useful maps, graphs, statistics and commentary that identify the locations of employment and describe the characteristics of the  people employed in those locations.

The data used in the report is sourced from the 2006 Census of Population and Housing published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The study area is the Adelaide Statistical  Division, which extends to Gawler in the north, Aldinga in the south and Mount Barker in the east.

Due to ABS 2011 Census Place of Work data quality issues the workplace atlas report and atlas have not been updated with 2011 data.

Interactive workplace atlas

The interactive workplace atlas is a web-based program that allows users to explore a variety of themes related to employment in Greater Adelaide. It is based on the 2006 Census data but allows a broader range of data  to be presented on the entire Greater Adelaide region. The data can be interactively mapped and graphed at different geographic levels, such as destination zones, statistical local areas, local government areas, state government regions and statistical divisions.

The themes featured in the atlas include:

  • employed persons
  • gender
  • hours worked
  • method of travel to work
  • worked at home
  • age
  • occupation
  • indigenous persons
  • industry of employment
  • born overseas
  • annual income
  • family composition.

To access and use the atlas:

  1. read the workplace atlas tutorial (PDF, 2472 KB)
  2. read about the limitations of the data on page three of the Workplace Atlas Report
  3. access the workplace atlas.

Journey to work maps

Australian Bureau of Statistics data has been used to create detailed maps outlining how people in Adelaide travel to work. While the maps use data from a previous census (2001), current travel patterns are still similar.

The maps show:

  • where people who live in a given area go to work
  • where people who work in a given area come from.

Age and sex breakdowns of the data and method of travel are also provided:

Contact us

For more information about population projections and demographics email

* ABS population estimates are updated at the State level quarterly. Local estimates are updated annually.

Page last modified Friday, 10 May 2019