Statistics of annual income are presented in the 1981 census in three ways: income of individuals aged fifteen years and over; family income - the combined earnings of the head of family and spouse if present; and household income - the combination of earnings of all persons aged fifteen years and over in the household. The third category, household income, has been used for the high income map. The two top income brackets in the 1981 census have been used to define 'high income' households. These formed nearly one-quarter of the households in the State. In South Australia 2.7% of individuals, 15.2% of families and 23.1% of households qualified for the 'high' annual income category of over $22,000.
Household income in rural areas reflect seasonal conditions and prices received for primary products in the year before the census. The high percentage of high income households in some grain-farming areas no doubt reflects the three excellent seasons before June 1981. An area of note is the Kimba District Council in northern Eyre Peninsula where substantial farm amalgamation took place under the Marginal Lands Scheme in the 1940s.
Within Adelaide a high percentage of households with high incomes occurred in the belt of newly established suburbs along the eastern foothills from Salisbury East and Modbury in the north-east to Blackwood and Aberfoyle Park in the south; in the old-established, high-status inner suburbs including North Adelaide, Walkerville, St Peters and Unley Park; and along the sea-coast from Hallett Cove to West Lakes, an 'exclusive' suburb built around a large artificial lake.
'Low income' households - those earning less than $10,000 annually - made up 31% of all households in the State. Their areas of concentration were in essence those areas which have the lowest values on the high income.
Western societies have learned to tolerate levels of unemployment, especially of the young, which would have been regarded as unacceptable in the thirty years following the Second World War. In Australia, unemployment levels, which had long remained under 3% of the work force, increased suddenly in 1975-76. South Australia has not been insulated from a major restructuring of industry involving many plant closures and reduced labour forces in the remaining factories.
In 1981, 7.7% of the South Australian work force was unemployed compared with 5.95% nationally. The rate was higher in Adelaide with 8.3% of the work force unemployed compared with 6% in the remainder of the State. In 1982-83 the State's unemployment rate peaked at 11.2%, but has since declined to 8.0% in April 1986. Although the whole urban area has experienced rising unemployment, rates of over 12.5% have occurred in the older industrial suburbs of Hindmarsh, Thebarton and Port Adelaide, and in parts of the newer industrial suburbs of Elizabeth, Salisbury and Enfield.
Work force Participation
The work force is defined statistically as consisting of people who are either employed, or are unemployed and actively seeking work. This definition excludes what has been termed 'hidden unemployment' - people who have given up seeking work in the belief that they have little chance of finding a job. There is reason to believe that there is considerable hidden unemployment at the two extremities of the metropolitan regions, Elizabeth and Noarlunga.
The structure of the South Australian work force groups in the 1981 census is shown in the table. The maps show the residential distribution of three major occupational groups within the Adelaide metropolitan area. The occupations was compiled by assembling occupational data for those census collection districts which covered all towns with a minimum of 325 employed persons. It excludes most people living on farms; however, some people employed in agriculture are included if they lived close enough to a town to be inside its census collection district.
The map showing works in the trades group combines the census occupation groups 7 and 8 - trades and process workers, and labourers - the main 'blue-collar' occupational group. This group reached its highest percentage of the resident work force in the north-western industrial suburbs of Rosewater, Ottoway, Croydon, Woodville Gardens and Angle Park. High values are also recorded in Elizabeth and Salisbury, Edwardstown in the mid-southern suburbs, and Christies Beach-Noarlunga on the southern extremity of the urban areas. The distribution of the trades group matches reasonably well with the popular notions of suburbs with lower residential status. However, this occupational group includes some highly skilled and highly paid trades workers and excludes low-paid service workers. Along the eastern foothills and the mid-coastal suburbs the proportion of trades workers and labourers fell below 10% of the resident work force. These were the areas favoured early in Adelaide's expansion by the higher income groups. Their preference for living in these pleasant surroundings has maintained property values beyond the reach of the blue-collar home buyers and beyond the resources of the Housing Trust when purchasing land for its rental construction programs.
The impact of the economic recession in the late 1970s, especially in manufacturing industry, fell heavily on this occupational group, which declined in South Australia by 14% between 1976 and 1981. High concentrations of trades and process workers and labourers were associated with suburbs recording high rates of unemployment in 1981, much of it among the teenage children of the blue-collar workers.
Clerical and sales workers are much more evenly distributed among the Adelaide suburbs. The highest values occur in middle-status, middle-income suburbs. There are moderate values in the suburbs of highest status, and low values in the suburbs where blue-collar workers are most strongly represented. Females make up 62% of clerical and sales workers compared with only 13% in the trades group and 39% in the administrative and professional group. The low levels of female participation in the resident work force in many blue-collar suburbs reflects the limited success of women from these areas in competing for clerical and sales jobs.
The administrative and professional group category is the core of the white-collar workers and includes health workers, technicians, teachers, and general professional, administrative and managerial personnel. As they are generally the best paid and most highly qualified members of the work force they can afford larger-than-average mortgages and house rents and can therefore live in the most desirable suburbs. Their high concentration in particular areas confers a high status on these suburbs and is reflected in the house property market. The areas where white-collar workers are most highly concentrated tend to have the highest levels of incomes and the lowest levels of unemployment, the highest rates of female participation in the work force, and a tendency to vote Liberal rather than Labor. There is also a strong correlation with the workplace in the city centre, and a moderately strong correlation with those areas having a small proportion of the population born overseas .
Beyond the metropolitan area the percentages of the three major occupational groups differ principally in the relative strength of the trades group. Trades and process workers and labourers are most strongly represented in the three industrial towns of the Iron Triangle - Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie. Elsewhere the trade group rarely exceeds 25% of the total work force. The agriculture and fishery group is strongest in Murray Bridge where there is intensive glasshouse production of tomatoes within the town. Most other country towns have some resident farmers or farm workers, a consequence of a growing tendency to carry out rural work from a town base. The scale of the occupations map made it impossible to show the Adelaide work force at the same scale of symbol as in the rest of the State. The two large circles in the vicinity of Adelaide are Gawler and Stirling-Bridgewater. The latter is essentially an Adelaide 'dormitory' suburb in the Mount Lofty Ranges with a high proportion of administrative and professional people who work in the City of Adelaide.
The group labelled 'other' occupations includes transport workers. Tailem Bend and Peterborough had significant shares of their work force engaged in railway operations in 1981, thus accounting for their high shares of the 'other' category. Since 1981, with the consolidation of Australian National railway maintenance and repair activities in a few large towns, both Tailem Bend and Peterborough have experience loss of work force and population.