Adelaide’s population 2011 – growth and change since 2006
South Australia is one of the slower growing states in Australia and this is also true of its capital, Adelaide. Once Australia’s fourth largest city, Adelaide dropped to fifth in 1984 when it was overtaken by fast growing Perth. Contemporary patterns of population growth and changes show some similarities to other cities, but also some distinctive characteristics. Now that the ABS have rebased their population estimates (refer Regional Population Growth, Australia), let’s have a closer look at what’s happening in Adelaide.
Adelaide’s population (as measured by the Greater Capital City Statistical Area) reached 1.26 million in 2011, an increase of 63,340 since 2006 (or 1.0% per annum on average). This was the second lowest of all Australia’s state capitals (the lowest was Hobart). To put Adelaide’s growth in perspective, the five yearly growth of 63,340 is similar to the volume of growth Sydney recorded on average over the period 2006-2011 ie one year’s growth in Sydney is about five years growth in Adelaide. While metropolitan Adelaide has some rapidly growing areas, the majority of LGAs recorded modest growth, as shown in the table below.
|Rank||LGA Name||Population – 2011||LGA Name||Number||LGA Name||Average annual change (%)|
|3.||Port Adelaide Enfield||116,467||Onkaparinga||8,899||Mount Barker||1.9|
|4.||Charles Sturt||108,456||Playford||8,736||Port Adelaide-Enfield||1.8|
|5.||Tea Tree Gully||98,028||Charles Sturt||4,185||Salisburg||1.6|
|9.||West Torrens||56,960||West Torrens||2,797||West Torrens||1.0|
Source: ABS, Regional Population Growth (Cat. no. 3218.0)
Adelaide City Council recorded the highest growth rate between 2006 and 2001 (3.5%). Though it has a small population base, Adelaide’s skyline has been transformed in the last decade by the construction of high rise apartment blocks. While many of these are student apartments, in common with other Australian cities, inner city living is becoming increasingly popular. Adelaide’s CBD is relatively small and the southern section has always contained pockets of residential areas. The difference is that more apartments are being constructed, particularly in former industrial areas which themselves have largely moved to suburban areas.
Unlike other Australian cities, LGAs surrounding the CBD recorded very modest growth with only the City of West Torrens (1.0%), located in the inner west, recording a growth rate placing it in the top 10. At the other extreme, the Town of Walkerville and the City of Burnside barely recorded any growth, just 0.1% per annum on average between 2006 and 2011. Both LGAs have significant character and heritage areas with minimal opportunities for large scale infill development. West Torrens was notable for being ranked ninth on all three measures in the table – population, population growth and annual average population growth!
Some Adelaide fringe areas with greenfield estates recorded higher growth rates – principally in the north – the City of Playford (2.6%), the District Council of Mount Barker (1.9%), and the City of Port Adelaide- Enfield (1.8%). Mount Barker is an interesting example because under the new geography classification (the ASGS), it is now included in Greater Adelaide, yet it still retains characteristics of a peri-urban area. Located on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges about 30km from the Adelaide CBD, Mount Barker township has a number of greenfield estates with relatively affordable housing and excellent transport links (freeway and train). This no doubt encourages the growth of a commuter population seeking a semi-rural lifestyle within easy reach of major employment markets.
The largest volume of growth was recorded in the City of Salisbury (10,144), followed by the Port Adelaide-Enfield (9,960), the City of Onkaparinga (8,899) and Playford (8,736). Except for Port Adelaide-Enfield, all these LGAs are on the metropolitan fringe and it suggests that Adelaide is still growing outwards at a relatively rapid rate.
Tea Tree Gully
The City of Tea Tree Gully was notable for being the only LGA in metropolitan Adelaide to record population decline between 2006 and 2011 (-1,294, -0.3% per annum). Tea Tree Gully’s population reached a peak of 99,926 in 2003 and has been declining since, falling to 98,028 in 2011. The region was largely developed in the 1970s and 1980s, and the young families who settled there at the time are now maturing and the children leaving home, resulting in lower average household size. This, combined with a relative lack of development, largely explains the fortunes of Tea Tree Gully’s population in recent years.
Though LGAs in metropolitan Adelaide on the whole recorded modest growth between 2006 and 2011, this was not necessarily the case in the surrounding LGAs – the so-called peri-urban region. Statistically these LGAs are not considered part of Adelaide, and their small but rapidly growing populations create planning challenges. Some of the highest growth rates in South Australia were found here, and we’ve already discussed the rapid growth recorded in Mount Barker. However, the City of Victor Harbor (2.5%) and Alexandrina Council (2.3%) – both on the Fleurieu Peninsula to the south, and the Rural City of Murray Bridge (1.9%) to the east recorded growth comparable to the strongest growing areas in Adelaide. We’ve blogged about growth on the Fleurieu Peninsula before, but Victor Harbor and Alexandrina are popular retirement migration destinations and also attract families seeking affordable accommodation, particularly in the northern part of Alexandrina around the towns of Strathalbyn and Mount Compass.
To access detailed population figures for Australia, Capital Cities, States, Local Government Areas and suburbs, visit .id’s demographic resource centre.