Long term population decline and the impacts of COVID-19 in South Australia’s regions
Background South Australian regions have been given little attention in discussions on population decline.
Aims This paper aims to examine the nature and incidence of population decline in South Australia as well as evaluate the potential impacts of COVID-19.
Data and methods Estimated Resident Population data from 2001 to 2020, and Census data from 2006 and 2016, were used to investigate demographic and economic change. Measures of population change, age structure, employment and components of population change were used.
Results Population decline has been a feature of South Australia’s regions for decades and continues to be so as more of the population concentrates in its capital and regional centres where greater opportunities of employment and greater provisions of amenities are available. COVID-19 has the potential to accelerate this change if South Australia’s vulnerable regions are not able to absorb the economic impacts the pandemic poses.
Conclusions A strong driver of population decline in the regions is employment loss in core industries. Strategies that support these industries or otherwise aim to stimulate economic activity in these communities are required to moderate further decline in South Australia’s regions especially as the economy recovers from the impacts of COVID-19.