Age Groups 1981
An age profile of the population of an area reflects past patterns of fertility, mortality and migration. It can also indicate the likely future age structure of a population and its possible needs for facilities such as schools, housing and care of the aged. The age profiles for South Australia in 1961 and 1981 are shown together with a projected profile for 2001. The projection assumes that the fertility rate will not rise above the replacement rate. The projected population in 2001 ranges from 1,427,000 to 1,598,000 depending on the rate of net migration over the next fifteen years.
The age profile for 1961 (blue) has a thin 'waist' of teenagers and young adults as a result of low fertility rates in the Depression and the Second World War, but a broad base of young children, the products of the post-1945 baby boom. By 1981 (yellow) a bulging waist appears in the profile as the baby-boom generation becomes young adults. However, their fertility rate, in contrast to their parents, falls below the replacement rate with the result that both the number and ratio of young children contracts. By 2001 the 'baby boomers' will swell the ranks of the middle-aged, while many of their parents, especially mothers, will survive, owing to improved mortality rates, into advanced old age. Without further inwards migration, the 'waist' of teenagers and young adults which was present in 1961, will reappear by 2001.
In any large population there is a tendency for more boys to be born than girls. In South Australia this birth rate has recently fluctuated from 102.9 to 106.6 males per 100 females. Migration, war and the ageing of the population can alter the masculinity ratios for older age groups. The graph of masculinity by age for 1961 and 1981 reflects the high rates of immigration for young adult males in the 1950s and the return to 'normal' masculinity ratios by 1981. The plunging masculinity ratios among the aged may reflect differences among men and women in diet, smoking and life-style which lead to the longer survival of women.
The Young: The varying concentrations of three age groups in 1981 are shown on the maps (1) and (2). In that year 23.9% of the population was less than fifteen years of age, compared with the national average of 25.1%. In Adelaide the percentage was 22.5, the lowest for any major Australian city. Children formed high ratios of the total population in rural areas which lacked country towns and therefore had no significant local element of retired persons. High child ratios also occurred in the newer outer suburbs of Adelaide, notably the extreme north-east and south. In some of the inner suburbs, low and steadily falling child ratios resulted in surplus classrooms in schools and the redeployment of teaching staff to the outer suburbs with their growing number of children. The 'maternity-ward' suburbs of the 1950s and 1960s, such as Enfield, Campbelltown, Marion and parts of Woodville, had dwindling child ratios by 1981.
The Home-makers: People in this age group were born between 1947 and 1956, the first decade of the baby boom. In 1981 they made up 16.1% of the South Australian population - almost equal to their national share of 16.3%. More than any other generation of the twentieth century this group has changed the Australian way of life. From the boom in nappies and the shortage of teachers and classrooms to the building booms of the 1970s and early 1980s, the needs, fashions and desires of these people have set the pace of economic growth and social change. More of them are divorced than any other previous generation of this age group; however, most have remarried. They are better educated, wealthier and have a higher percentage of two-income households than any other previous group of this age. Their highest concentrations in Adelaide are in the modern 'nappy valleys' of the outermost suburbs and in a crescent of the innermost suburbs. The largely 'nappyless' territory of flats and town houses is occupied by single people or childless couples.
The Elderly: Defined as persons aged sixty-five years or more, the elderly made up 10.5% of the South Australian population in 1981 compared with 9.8% nationally. There is a marked concentration in the eastern middle and inner suburbs of Adelaide and in the seaside suburb of Glenelg. These well-established residential areas also contain most of Adelaide's nursing homes, retirement centres and multiple-unit housing. Above average elderly ratios occur in many long-settled rural local government areas, especially those with country towns of over a thousand people. A major retirement centre for people from both Adelaide and the country is the south-coast town of Victor Harbor where in 1981, 27.6% of the population was aged sixty-five years or more.