Wellbeing indicators

photo-icon Morgan Sette

Living in Adelaide isn't about just loving one aspect of this beautiful city, it's about the whole package and the wonderful balance of health, wellbeing, practicality and festivity that this gorgeous town not only promotes, but actively supports” Amy, resident.

The City of Adelaide Wellbeing Dashboard is a set of holistic population-level indicators that will help inform Council’s work and priorities. The wellbeing categories have been chosen following review of the many wellbeing models and measurement frameworks used nationally and internationally.

The indicators are aligned to the community outcomes and key actions in Council’s Strategic Plan 2020 – 2024 and Wellbeing Plan 2020 – 2025. The data sources have been chosen to demonstrate trends over time, helping to inform Council about the impact of initiatives targeted at particular outcomes. Much of the data has been sourced from Council’s own Resident Surveys.

Since the launch of this dashboard, we have observed the impacts of some unprecedented global health, climate, and political events, such as COVID-19. The trends we are seeing in relation to health and wellbeing among our city population, are consistent with those seen nationally and internationally. Over the coming years, this dashboard will provide Council greater insight into these issues. This insight can inform targeted initiatives to strengthen community wellbeing outcomes in the areas where we can have the most meaningful influence, as well as a robust data set to advocate for issues that are beyond the remit or influence of local government.

Wellbeing dashboard

Physical health is an important aspect of overall wellbeing. Preventing and managing risk factors for chronic conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and being overweight contributes to a healthy community.

The City of Adelaide works with other levels of government to encourage residents to look after their health and seek appropriate healthcare when needed.

Self-assessed general health

Self-reported health status is commonly used as a general indicator of health and wellbeing, revealing insight into a person’s perception of their own health at a point in time.

In 2021, 39 per cent of residents assess their own health as being excellent or very good, compared to 42 per cent in 2020.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021)


High cholesterol is a key risk factor for chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.

In 2021, 11 per cent of residents had high cholesterol, a decrease from the 20.6 per cent of residents in 2020.

Source: SA Population Health Survey • Wellbeing SA

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

High blood pressure is a key risk factor for chronic health conditions such as stroke, coronary heart disease and chronic kidney disease.

Fourteen per cent of residents had high blood pressure in 2021, a decrease from 18.1 per cent in 2020

Source: SA Population Health Survey • Wellbeing SA 

Overweight or obese

Being overweight or obese refers to excess bodyweight and is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, psychological issues, and some cancers.

Fifty-three per cent of residents were overweight or obese in 2021. This was an increase from 46.6 per cent recorded in 2020.

Source: SA Population Health Survey • Wellbeing SA

Health-related behaviour and lifestyle choices have a significant influence on people’s physical and psychological wellbeing.

The City of Adelaide supports healthy behaviour through a range of initiatives including a grants program to deliver fitness activities, facilities and infrastructure such as the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, golf course, walking/running/cycling trails and courts and exercise equipment. Annually during National Nutrition Week, activities and events are run to help inform and educate the community on healthy eating. The City of Adelaide also maintains and activates the Park Lands and squares, encouraging the community to spend time in green space and connect with nature. A childhood immunisation program is facilitated through the Council’s community centres.

Physical activity

Physical activity is one of the most important lifestyle factors impacting our health and wellbeing. It is not only good for people’s physical health, reducing instances of many chronic health conditions, it is also good for mental wellbeing.

Forty-seven per cent of residents were meeting the recommended minimum physical activity requirements of 150 minutes per week in 2021. This was down from 51 per cent in 2020.

The percentage of residents meeting the recommended physical activity requirements remains higher than it was in 2019 (forty-five per cent) however.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Vegetable consumption

Eating a balanced diet is important for maintaining good health and wellbeing. Vegetables and fruit provide essential nutrients and contribute to the prevention of some chronic health conditions. Current government recommendations suggest that adults should eat plenty of vegetables, fruit, and wholegrains.

Twelve per cent of residents ate the recommended daily serves of vegetables in 2021.This was up on the 10 per cent in 2020.

The percentage of residents eating the recommended serves of vegetables has remained relatively stable since 2019 (eleven per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey


Adequate, good quality sleep is important for positive health and wellbeing. A lack of sleep impacts on people’s concentration, memory, and mood. Regular insufficient sleep contributes to health conditions such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and poor mental health.

Forty-seven per cent of residents are getting the recommended amount of sleep of between seven and nine hours per night (2021).

The percentage of residents getting adequate sleep has decreased substantially since 2020 (58 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Active transport

Incidental physical activity such as walking or cycling for transport is one way people can increase their daily physical activity.

Forty-two per cent of residents walked or cycled to work in 2021, down from 46.5 per cent in 2020.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Park Lands use

Studies have shown that time spent in green spaces is linked with enhanced psychological wellbeing. The city’ parklands also offer a multitude of opportunities to be physically and socially active.

Sixty-eight per cent of residents were frequent visitors to the Park Lands, visiting at least once or twice a week in 2021.

This is a substantial decrease (10 per cent) from 77/5 per cent in 2020, and is also lower than 2019 (72.1 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Childhood immunisation

Immunisation against communicable diseases is an important way of protecting a community’s health and wellbeing.

In 2021, 82.3 per cent of children residents in the City of Adelaide aged five years old were fully immunised.

This is a lower immunisation rate than was recorded in 2020 (86.7 per cent) and 2019 (84.4 per cent).

Source: Immunisation coverage rates for all children | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care 

Personal wellbeing refers to how satisfied people are with their lives, their sense of what they do in life is worthwhile, day to day emotional experience and wider mental wellbeing.

City of Adelaide supports personal wellbeing by providing opportunities to engage in meaningful activities such as volunteering, lifelong learning through libraries, and engagement in arts and culture.

Life satisfaction

Life satisfaction assesses the evaluative aspect of personal wellbeing; how people feel their life is going overall.

In 2021, 70.2 per cent of residents reported their life satisfaction as being high to very high.

This is substantially down from 2020 (77.9 per cent), and 2019 (75 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Meaning and purpose

How worthwhile people feel the things they do are is an indicator of eudemonic personal wellbeing; reflecting a person's sense of meaning and purpose, sense of control and  feeling that they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Seventy-six per cent of residents reported a very high or high sense that the things they do are worthwhile in 2021. This is lower than in 2020 (80 per cent), and 2019 (77.5 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey


How happy people feel over a short timeframe assesses day to day emotional experience, which is one aspect helping to understand personal wellbeing.

In 2021, 75.6 per cent of residents reported very high or high levels of happiness yesterday.

This is substantially lower than the rate reported in 2020 (78 per cent) and 2019 (72.4 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey


How anxious people feel over a short timeframe assesses day to day emotional experience, which is one aspect helping to understand personal wellbeing.

Fifty-five per cent of residents reported feeling very low or low levels of anxiety yesterday in 2021.

This rate remains quite stable and is only slightly lower than the rate reported in 2020 (56.1 per cent) and 2019 (56.4 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Psychological distress

Psychological distress is a broad indicator of people’s mental and emotional wellbeing, providing insight into how people are coping with personal and community stressors. It is not an indicator of diagnosable mental illness.

Thirty per cent of residents reported high to very high levels of psychological distress in 2021, a substantial increase from 15.5 per cent in 2020.

Source: SA Population Health Survey • Wellbeing SA

Social connection and engagement with local community is important for emotional and psychological wellbeing.

The City of Adelaide supports people to connect with other individuals and their community through a range of community centre and library programs, community events and grants.

Social support

Having support from family, friends and neighbours helps people to manage and overcome challenges; supporting emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Eighty-three per cent of residents reported they can get support from family, friends or neighbours when needed.

This is very stable compared to 2020, when 83 per cent of residents reported the same, however has slightly decreased since 2019 when the rate was 87 per cent.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Community connection

Feeling connected to your local community and having a sense of belonging is important for promoting positive personal wellbeing.

In 2021, 71 per cent of residents reported feeling connected to their local community.

This was substantially more than in 2020 (58 per cent) and 2019 (59.8 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Community engagement

Being engaged in activities linked to the local community helps promote connection and a sense of belonging, as well as contributing to people’s personal sense of meaning and purpose.

In 2021, 26 per cent of residents reported engaging in local activity in the past three months. This data was not collected in 2020, and in 91 per cent of residents reported engaging in a local activity in the previous three months in 2019. It should however be noted that the data for this indicator is being collected in a different way, and the results from 2019 are not comparable to those from 2021.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey


Volunteering not only offers an opportunity for people to ‘give back’ to their community and engage in a meaningful activity, it is also a great way to meet likeminded people, all of which support positive wellbeing.

In 2021, 24 per cent of residents reports having participated in volunteering in the past three months. This data was not collected in 2020, and in 2019 48.1 per cent of residents reported having volunteered for an organisation in the previous three months.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

Creativity & Diversity of cultural expression

Engagement with arts, culture and creative pursuits enriches people’s lives, stimulating lifelong learning, exposure to new ideas and different perspectives which can have a positive impact on personal wellbeing. Engaging with art and culture also allows people to share their experiences, culture and interests, providing the opportunity to better understand each other and enhance community cohesion.

The impact of City of Adelaide’s cultural activities on the people who participated in Library programs and events, strategic cultural partnerships and key creative projects provides insights into:

The degree to which the activity stimulates imagination, creativity and curiosity and an increased desire to participate more or create new works – 8.89/10 (2021), 9.09/10 (2020) and 8.8/10 (2019).

The degree to which the activity increases appreciation of different forms of cultural expression 8.6/10

This data was collected for the first time in 2018/19.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Dynamic City: Arts & Culture Dashboard

The physical environment in which people live has both direct and indirect impacts on health and personal wellbeing. By managing waste and resources responsibly through recycling and composting Council helps support a healthy, sustainable environment. Initiatives responding to climate change through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of a warming climate through greening maintains the liveability of the city.


High levels of waste generation and waste going to landfill is a worldwide environmental issue. Diversion from landfill refers to household waste that is put in the recycling bin or green organics bin for composting.

Fifty-four per cent of residential kerbside waste in the City of Adelaide was diverted from landfill in the 2019 audit.

It was the first time this data was collected and this data has not been updated since that time.

Source: City of Adelaide (2019) City of Adelaide Audits 2019: Residential, commercial, multi-unit dwellings and public places audits, Rawtec for the City of Adelaide.

Greenhouse gas emissions

The level of greenhouse gas emissions is a key environmental indicator, contributing to a warming climate, impacting the liveability of cities across the world, including Adelaide.

City-wide greenhouse gas emissions were 986 160 tonnes of CO2-e in 2020. This represents a drop of 21 percent since 2007.

Source: Carbon Neutral Adelaide


High levels of heat in our immediate environment can have direct adverse impacts on our health with prolonged exposure leading to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat in the areas where we live also have indirect health and wellbeing impacts; making us less likely to engage in physical activity or activities outside the home that promote social connection.

In 2018 City of Adelaide had 67 daytime heat islands 6 extreme heat islands 39 night time heat islands

*An urban heat island is an area larger than 125m2 where the surface temperature is between 2oC and 4oC above the average surrounding surfaces. If the surface temperature is over 4oC above the average surrounding surface, this is an extreme urban heat island.

Source: Seed Consulting (2018), Collaborative Heat Mapping for Eastern and Northern Adelaide: Project report, Nov 2018, Seed Consulting for Eastern Region Alliance of Councils, the City of Salisbury, and the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board.


Tree canopy coverage is one important way cities can mitigate the impacts on people of a warming climate. Tree canopy provides shade and trees and plants create a cooling effect.

In 2018/19 the City of Adelaide had 25.3 per cent tree coverage greater than 3m in height.

Source: S.J. Holt (2020) LIDAR derived tree canopy cover metrics across Adelaide, South Australia – Report 1 – Local Government Areas, Aerometrex Ltd

A sense of community and place is supported by having a safe and welcoming physical and social environment that encourages community connection and cohesion, benefitting the health and wellbeing of community members.

The City of Adelaide encourages safe and welcoming environments for everyone through community safety initiatives, a focus on access and inclusion and cultural inclusion, including reconciliation.


Offences against the person pose a direct health and safety risk to people. Victims of crimes against the person such as assault may experience physical injury and/or psychological trauma.

In 2020/21, 1590 crimes against the person were reported in the City of Adelaide Local Government Area.

This is slightly higher than in 2020 (1426) and 2019 (1516).

Source: South Australian Police

Perceptions of safety

Equally important to actual crime statistics are people’s perceptions of safety. Even in areas of low crime if people do not feel safe, this can directly impact on personal wellbeing through increased fear and anxiety, and indirectly by reducing people’s willingness to be out in the community.

Eighty-nine per cent of residents agree the city has public spaces they feel safe to use (2021).

This rate has remained consistent compared to 2020 (89 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2020) Resident Survey 2020, City of Adelaide.


Having an accessible environment is important for ensuring all people receive the services they need and actively engage in all aspects of life.

Seventy-four per cent of residents report their local community is very or somewhat accessible.

The percentage of residents who believe their local community is accessible has decreased slightly since 2020 (78 per cent) and 2019 (81.7 per cent).

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey 2020

Welcoming of diversity

Social inclusion refers to communities where all people are valued, and differences are respected. Inclusive communities encourage people to express their views and be proud of their identity and foster support for each other and a sense of belonging for all.

Seventy-four per cent of residents agreed their community is welcoming of diverse cultures in 2021, as compared to 77 per cent in 2020.

Source: City of Adelaide (2021) Resident Survey

The influence of the circumstances in which people grow, live, work and age on health and wellbeing are now well recognised and are known as the social determinants of health.

Many of the social determinants of health are outside the direct sphere of influence of local government, however the City of Adelaide works to influence these things through supporting businesses for a strong local economy that supports employment and working with partners to address homelessness.

Low income

Low income is one socioeconomic factor known to influence people’s health and wellbeing. People on lower incomes tend to have poorer health and wellbeing outcomes, particularly when combined with other factors such as low education attainment or unemployment.

Thirty-one per cent of households in the city were in the lowest income quartile in 2016.

The percentage of households in the lowest income quartile has remained stable since the 2011 Census (30.2 per cent).

Source: ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics), Australian Census 2016—Low income households


The health and wellbeing impacts of unemployment are related not only to lower income but to psychosocial stress leading to poorer health and mental health outcomes.

Unemployment in the City of Adelaide was 8.3 per cent in the June quarter 2021. which is exactly the same rate as the June quarter of 2020

The unemployment rate has increased since the same quarter in 2019 (7.2 per cent).

Whilst the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is partially reflected in this data, for a number of reasons care should be taken when interpreting the results with further information available on the Labour Market Information Portal.

Source: Australian Government Labour market Insights.


Insecure, unaffordable, or unsuitable housing has negative impacts on individuals and families and can impede participation in other activities important for good health and wellbeing such as employment, education and community engagement. Social housing provides a safety net for people experiencing socioeconomic disadvantage.

Census data in 2021 showed that in the City of Adelaide 51 per cent of households rented privately, whereas in 2016 this was sitting at 45 per cent. In 2021 37 per cent of households owned or were purchasing their own home, compared to 33.5 per cent in 2016. Seven per cent of residents were renting social housing in 2021 compared to 7.6 per cent in 2016.

In 2016, of residents purchasing their own home 9.9 per cent are experiencing mortgage stress and 34.5 per cent of renters are experiencing rental stress*.

The percentage of residents experiencing mortgage stress (8.5 per cent) or rental stress (30.7 per cent) has increased since the 2011 Census.

*rental/mortgage stress is defined as lowest 40 per cent of incomes paying more than 30 per cent of income on housing


ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (2021) and (2016) Australian Census 2021 and 2016—Housing tenure

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (2016) Australian Census 2016—Population density

ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) (2016) Australian Census 2016—Rental stress


Homelessness has a direct impact on health and wellbeing related to safety, exposure to extreme weather and psychological stress. It is also a significant barrier to participating in education, employment and community engagement.

In 2021 there were 230 people actively homeless on the Adelaide Zero Project By-Name List*,  an increase since October 2020 when there were 198.

The average monthly housing placement rate in October 2021 was 15, a decrease since October 2020 when the rate was 38 placements per month**.

*Actively homeless means anyone who is currently sleeping rough or was sleeping rough and is temporarily sheltered.

**The average number of people permanently housed each month is calculated over the previous six months.

Source: Don Dunstan Foundation (2020) Adelaide Zero Project Dashboard

People. The heart of our city.