High school teacher Veena Madan has been living in South Australia since the 1990s, moving here from India with her husband and two young daughters.
- The proportion of people born overseas now living in South Australia has grown in the past five years
- Australia’s latest census shows India is the second-most common overseas country of birth, after England
- It also shows there are more South Australians than ever before
She was lured by the idea of living in another country and finding “greener pastures”.
It wasn’t always easy.
She battled homesickness and the loss of her husband but decided to remain in Adelaide to raise her daughters, who have since forged successful careers in the medical profession.
“I owe a lot to Australia for that. I’m so proud of the decision that I made to stay back on my own with the two girls,” Mrs Madan said.
And she’s certainly not alone in deciding to call South Australia home.
The latest census shows the proportion of people living in South Australia who were born overseas has increased, with a big jump from India.
“I feel like I’m so lucky I get to meet all kinds of communities and I get to teach all kinds of communities. It’s just changed.”
Last year, 44,881 people born in India lived in South Australia, up from 27,592 recorded in the last census in 2016. A similar picture is happening across Australia.
People from India account for 2.5 per cent of the state’s population, the second-most-common overseas country of birth behind England (at 5.3 per cent).
“I’m not surprised but I know that it’s going up by leap and bounds. In my school system, I can see so many Indian children. In aged care, hospitality, in everything Indians are working, whether it’s driving trucks or taxis, just every job, ” Mrs Madan said.
Overall, the proportion of people who were born overseas has increased to 24.1 per cent, up from 22.9 per cent in the last census.
Today, 1.8 million people call South Australia home, up from 1.7 million five years earlier but households are getting smaller, with an average of 2.4 people living in each household in 2021.
It may not come as a huge surprise, but South Australians are getting older and have the oldest median age of mainland Australia.
It was 41 years when the census was taken, a year older than the previous census, whereas the Australian median age is 38 years.
Mrs Madan said living in South Australia had made it easier for her to bring up her two daughters when her first husband died.
“I could give them the best education and the best of everything … I could do everything for them because South Australia is very manageable,” she said.
The maths and chemistry teacher — who has since remarried to Vikram Madan — said her family took some time to get used to living in Australia.
“The accent, the humour was very different. And that took us a bit of time to get used to,” Mrs Madan said.
“Now I’m very well settled and I think I made an excellent decision to stay in South Australia.
“I think it’s a success story in the end.”