In the 2021 Census, the number of people counted as usual residents of South Australia (SA) was 1.8 million. This was up from 1.7 million in 2016. Fifty years ago, in 1971, the Census counted 1.1 million people. In 2021, almost four out of five people in SA lived in the capital city area of Greater Adelaide (1.4 million).
Snapshot of South Australia
High level summary data for South Australia in 2021
The median age for people from SA has been on the rise. In 1971, the median age was 27 years. The median age was 40 years in 2016 and 41 years in 2021. The Australian median age was 38 years in 2021.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
In the 2021 Census, 43,000 people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin in South Australia, making up 2.4% of the SA population. This was an increase from 34,000 counted in 2016, and lower than the Australian percentage of 3.2% in 2021.
Country of birth
Most people in SA were born in Australia. The proportion of people who were born overseas has increased over time. In 1971, 23.8% of people were born overseas. This slightly decreased to 22.9% in 2016 and increased to 24.1% in 2021.
In 2021, the top five countries of birth in SA were:
- Australia (71.5%)
- England (5.3%)
- India (2.5%)
- China (1.4%)
- Vietnam (1.0%)
In 2021, most people in SA only used English at home (77.6%). This was down from 78.2% in 2016.
After English the most common languages used were Mandarin (1.8%), Italian (1.3%), Greek (1.2%) and Vietnamese (1.2%).
In 2021, the main religious affiliation in SA was Christianity (40.0%). This proportion has decreased over time as people reporting non-Christian religions and no religious affiliation has increased. In 2016, Christian affiliation was 49.1%, and in 1971 it was 85.7%.
In 2021, 7.8% of people in SA were affiliated with a non-Christian religion. The most common were Islam (2.3%), Hinduism (2.1%) and Buddhism (1.9%).
The percentage of people who identified as having no religious affiliation was 45.8% in 2021. This was an increase from 36.0% in 2016, and 8.1% in 1971.
In SA, the median weekly income was $734 for individuals and $1,889 for families in 2021. These increased from 2016 when the incomes were $600 for individuals and $1,510 for families.
Household and families
Households are getting smaller in SA. In 2021, the average number of people who lived in each household in SA was 2.4, a decrease from 3.3 people in 1971.
In 2021, 68.0% of households were family households. This was a slight decrease from 68.4% in 2016.
The most common type of family in SA was families with no children. In 2021, 41.0% of families were couples with no children and 16.6% were one parent families.
Based on place of enumeration. Excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households.
The 2021 Census counted 723,000 occupied private dwellings across SA. This was an increase from 674,000 in 2016. In 1971 there were 342,000 occupied private dwellings in SA.
In 2021, most people lived in separate houses (78.0%), rather than flats, apartments or other dwelling types. This was an increase from 77.8% in 2016. Over this time the proportion of people who lived in flats or apartments also increased from 6.6% to 6.8%.
In 2021 68.4% of households in SA were homeowners (owned outright or with a mortgage). This was a slight increase from 67.5% in 2016.
Refers to occupied private dwellings and excludes visitor only and other non-classifiable households. Owned with a mortgage includes dwellings being purchased under a shared equity scheme. Rented excludes dwellings being occupied rent-free. Other tenure type and tenure type not stated represent remaining 4.0%.