3311.4 - Demography, South Australia, 1997  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/12/1998   
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December 18, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
SA population growth rate up, birthrate down

South Australia's population growth rate was higher in 1997 but its birth rate was lower than ever, a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.

Demography SA 1997 presents a comprehensive description of the demographic structure of the State by drawing on 1997 registrations of births, marriages, deaths and divorces, together with estimations of the Indigenous and total populations and data from previous years, to examine demographic trends.

Highlights include:

    Population growth
    • The annual population growth rate in South Australia in 1997 was 0.5%, up from 0.3% in 1996. The population increased to 1.48 million people in 1997.

    Falling birth rate

    • The crude birth rate is the lowest it has ever been, at 12.4 births per 1,000 population. On average, each woman in South Australia might expect to have 1.7 babies. This is less than the Australian average of 1.8, and is below the level of 2.1 babies per woman needed to replace the population.
    • Most births still occur within registered marriage. In 1997, 70% of women giving birth were in a registered marriage.

    Marriage rites
    • The proportion of marriages performed by ministers of religion fell from over two-thirds (68%) in 1977 to only just over half (53%) in 1997. In percentage terms, the most popular religious wedding rite was that of the Catholic Church (28%) followed by the Uniting (24%); Anglican (14.0%), and Lutheran (9%) Churches.

    Increasing life expectancy

    • After allowing for differences in the age structures of populations, the incidence of death in South Australia was marginally lower than that in Australia as a whole (6.1 compared to 6.2 deaths per 1,000 population). The median ages, 75.2 years for males and 81.5 for females, were the highest yet recorded.

Other data include birth, death, marriage and divorce age-specific rates as well as country of birth and regional data where available.

Details are in Demography SA 1997 (cat. no. 3311.4) available in ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication is available from this site.