Australian Bureau of Statistics
1345.4 - SA Stats, Mar 2010
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/03/2010
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FEATURE ARTICLE: BURIAL AND CREMATION TRENDS IN SA
Deaths recorded in the Adelaide statistical division has increased from about 8,000 in 1992 to about 9,100 in 2008 although as a percentage of state deaths this has remained reasonably constant at about 73%.
Total cremations performed by ACA and CPCA have fluctuated slightly around an average of about 5,150 per year. Total burials performed by ACA and CPCA has declined from about 1,800 burials per year in the early 1990's to about 1,450 burials in 2009.
The proportion of burials in South Australia has slowly decreased from 43% in 1995 to 34% in 2009. This contrasts with the combined ACA and CPCA totals where the proportion has only changed slightly with a decrease from about 25% to 22% over the same period. The Adelaide proportion is consistent with the experience in the United Kingdom and other capital cities in Australia where between 20 to 25 percent of metropolitan deaths result in burials while the remainder are cremated (CPCA, 2009).
The ABS publishes population projections to illustrate the change in population that would occur if certain assumptions about future levels of fertility, mortality, internal migration and overseas migration were to prevail over the projection period. For more information, see Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).
For South Australia, the number of deaths per year is projected to increase from about 12,500 in 2009 to between 17,500 and 23,000 by 2056.
There has been a steady increase in the number of deaths per year since 1956 and it has been projected that this rate will continue to slowly increase to about 14,700 deaths per year in 2025. For the following 20 years the number of deaths is projected to increase more rapidly as the 'baby boomers' age and by 2056 it is projected that the rate of increase will slow with the total number being approximately twice present values in both Series B and Series C estimates.
It can be expected that the increase in deaths will also result in an increase in the number of burials per year. As shown earlier in this article, the proportion of burials is 34% in South Australia and 22% in Adelaide. This proportion has been decreasing over the last 20 years and may continue to decrease.
As the proportion of burials may continue to slowly decline, three different burial proportions have been used to project possible high, medium and low numbers of future burials. If the proportion only declines slightly from the current SA proportion then the number of burials in 2056 is projected to be 6,850. If the proportion declines to about the metropolitan proportion of 22%, the number of burials in 2056 is projected to be about 5,150; and if the proportion declines substantially to 15%, the number of burials in 2056 is projected to be about 3.400.
There is no standard density of burial plots in cemeteries in South Australia. As a guide, CPCA currently has approximately 2,300 plots per hectare allowing for space between plots and infrastructure. It is possible to have multiple burials per plot and to reuse plots after the expiration of licences (usually between 50 and 99 years) but there is cultural resistance to this in some community sectors.
Based on the burial projections discussed in the previous section, and using the CPCA density of burials, it is estimated that at least 2 hectares of burial land will be required in South Australia each year. The availability of cemetery land in the north of Adelaide and regional South Australia, reuse of burial plots, changing community requirements and the emergence of new technologies may reduce the requirement for new cemetery land.
Over the last 20 years the number of deaths in South Australia has increased by about 14%, cremations have increased about 29% and burials have decreased about 15%. The proportion of burials has been decreasing and is currently about 34% of state deaths. This proportion is substantially lower at 22% for the two major cemetery and crematoria providers in Adelaide.
The number of deaths each year is projected to double by 2056 from current levels and may equate to about 5,000-7,000 burials and an annual requirement of at least 2 hectares of land.
ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2008, Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 (cat. no. 3222.0).
ABS 2009, Deaths, Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 3302.0).
ACA (Adelaide Cemeteries Authority) 2009, Submission to draft 30-year Plan for Greater Adelaide #433.
CPCA (Centennial Park Cemetery Authority) 2009, Submission to draft 30-year Plan for Greater Adelaide #167 .
CPCA, Collated SA Industry Statistics Deaths/Burials/Cremations, n.p.
Government of South Australia 2007, South Australia's Strategic Plan.
Government of South Australia 2010, The 30-year Plan for Greater Adelaide.
South Australian Births, Deaths And Marriages Registration Office, Annual Statistical Reports 1995 - 2009.
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This page last updated 23 April 2010