Adelaide’s Migrants | What’s it Like Living in Adelaide?
Adelaide’s population of just over one million enjoys a Mediterranean climate and a relaxed lifestyle.
Despite its million plus inhabitants, Adelaide can feel more like a large town – there is a great deal of open space and parkland.
The city is well laid out in planned, rectangular blocks with lots of straight roads and green spaces.
Adelaide’s suburban streets are wide and uncluttered – there is space for everyone to park their car off-street in driveways and/or garages, which makes life in Adelaide more convenient for car owners than in most other cities of over a million people.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, people from the UK are Adelaide’s biggest migrant group, making up 10 percent of the population.
The next biggest groups are Italians (2%), Greeks (1%), Germans (1%) and Vietnamese (1%).
About 2.5% of the population is South-East Asian and 0.5% come from the Middle East or North Africa.
Aboriginal Australians represent 1% of Adelaide’s population.
Overall, about one-quarter of Adelaide’s residents were born overseas.
Adelaide has the highest proportion of retired people of Australia’s big cities.
It is not considered a trendy city in the way Sydney is. This should only matter to you if you consider yourself to be a trendy sort of person. If you like to shop in top fashion outlets, or if you are especially keen on shopping for designer-label clothing, laid-back Adelaide may disappoint you. Casual is king in the warm climate and many of Adelaide’s clothes shops reflect this.
There is plenty to do in Adelaide and the city’s foodies are particularly well provided for. There are large numbers of eateries. Particularly worth visiting is Rundle Street, just east of the City Centre – Rundle street is almost exclusively made up of restaurants. The Gouger Street precinct in the Central Market area also has a large variety of restaurants including Asian, Greek, Italian and Australian.
Adelaide has the lowest average wage and the highest unemployment of any of Australia’s big five cities.
There is a recognised “Brain Drain” – a tendency for skilled and young people to leave Adelaide for brighter lights and more dynamic careers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
People who move from Adelaide have been heard to complain of complacency and stuffiness in Adelaide’s work and business cultures. There is a perception of too many old-boy networks making it difficult for newcomers to do well or innovate.
To keep the economy healthy, the South Australian Government is very keen to attract people to move to Adelaide – the government works hard to promote the city as a destination for migrants.
Industries that play a big part in Adelaide’s economy include automotive manufacturing, bio-science, engineering, ICT, medical research, tourism and the wine industry – South Australia is Australia’s premier wine state, producing 65% of the nation’s wine exports.
If you are interested in private sector employment in Adelaide or South Australia, some of the larger companies operating in the region are:
Arrowcrest Group (manufacturer of alloy wheels, farming machinery); Civil & Allied Technical Construction Pty Ltd; Coopers Brewery Limited; Elders Australia (Head office: financial, insurance and agriculture); Hills Holdings (Head office: manufacturer of hardware, electronics, building and industrial products); Meatpak Australia; Ellex Medical Lasers; SAGE Group (automation and control systems engineering); Santos (Head office: energy/oil/gas); and (Seeley International (climate control systems).
Public sector employment opportunities in Adelaide are similar to those elsewhere: hospitals, schools, universities and local and state governments are major employers.
Education and healthcare jobs are particularly attractive in Adelaide – salaries are similar to those in other Australian cities, but Adelaide has much cheaper housing.
Getting Around Adelaide
Most people in Adelaide drive themselves to work rather than using public transport.
Adelaide sells itself as the “20 minute city” – meaning you can get anywhere in 20 minutes.
The 20 minute claim is a little exaggerated. Driving to the city centre from the suburbs in peak traffic can take half an hour.
The traffic in Adelaide flows easily – even at rush hour traffic jams are rare. For anyone used to driving in congested cities like Sydney, Adelaide traffic is very easy.
The major roads are dual carriageways. Many drivers from overseas are surprised to discover overtaking is allowed in both lanes.
The most annoying features of driving in Adelaide are
- traffic lights that seem to stay red for ages.
- the number of people who drive too close to the car in front.
Adelaide has a good public transport system – consisting of trains, buses and trams.
Buses on major Adelaide routes are very frequent.
In the centre of the city you can travel on the buses free of charge.
If you’re commuting from the suburbs, or are travelling around the city regularly, you can buy a metrocard. With this you get access to cheaper fares than single trip tickets. You can use your metrocard in Adelaide on buses, trains or trams.
The regular metrocard peak time fare is $3.54. You will pay this if you travel before 9.01 am and after 3pm on weekdays or travel at any time on a weekend or public holiday. The regular metrocard interpeak fare (for travel on weekdays between 9.01 am and 3 pm) is $1.94.
Students, concessions and senoirs can buy metrocards which have lower fares. Seniors travel free with their seniors card at interpeak times.
There are over 200,000 journeys by public transport each weekday.
There are also:
- 1,519 km + of bus routes
- 11 km of tram line
- 16 trams and 24 tram stops
- 7000+ bus stops
- 832 buses
- 120 km of train line
- 85 stations
- 98 rail cars
- 17 New & Improved Park’n’Rides
- 12 km of O-Bahn track
- 170 bus routes
- 6 train & 1 tram route
- 214 natural gas buses
- 1 photovoltaic solar electric bus ‘Tindo’
Commonly held pros and cons for Adelaide are as follows:
- Cheap houses
- A sunny, warm, Mediterranean climate with low humidity
- Lovely beaches
- Pleasant suburbs with easy traffic
- An exciting variety of excellent, inexpensive places to eat out
- Good public transport
- Attractive hills and national parks around the city
- The world famous Barossa valley lies just 60 km away
- Adelaide is Australia’s most affordable big city.
- Sea water temperatures are cooler than around Australia’s other cities, except for Melbourne.
- Some summer days are just too hot.
- Adelaide has higher unemployment and, on average, lower wages than other major cities in Australia.
- There are too many boy-racers on the roads.