3311.4 - Demography, South Australia, 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/12/2002   
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December 12, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
SA marriage and birth rates fall to 150 year low

The lowest birth rate in 150 years has contributed to South Australia's population growth being 0.5%, well below the national rate of 1.3% in 2001, according to figures in Demography SA, 2001 released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today.

The crude birth rate has been lower than all other states and territories from 1985 onwards. In 2001, the birth rate was 11.4 babies per 1,000 people.

There were 17,281 births registered in South Australia - 578 fewer than in 2000. The median ages of parents having babies continued to rise and was 30.3 years for mothers and 32.5 years for fathers, reflecting the trend for couples to have children later in life.

The South Australian crude marriage rate of 4.9 marriages per 1,000 people was the lowest since 1851. There were 7,434 marriages in 2001, the lowest since 1963. Almost half of all marriages (3,670) were performed by ministers of religion, the lowest number since 1933. The median age of brides rose to 28.7 years and bridegrooms to 30.8 years.

There were 4,545 divorces granted in 2001, of which 50% were administered by the Federal Magistrates Service in its first full year of operation. The number of divorces granted was 13% above the 2000 figure, but only 6% above the 1999 figure. There were 4,584 children aged less than 18 years whose parents divorced in 2001.

Of all Australian states and territories, South Australia had the highest proportion of people aged 65 years and over (15%). During 2001, the median ages at death of 76.7 years for men and 82.4 years for women were above those for other states and territories. Diseases of the circulatory system and neoplasms caused more than two-thirds (68%) of the 11,891 deaths registered in South Australia.

Further details can be found in Demography SA, 2001 (cat. no. 3311.4).