During a public debate ahead of the South Australian state election, Premier Jay Weatherill challenged SA Best leader Nick Xenophon on his interpretation of the numbers of young people living in the state:
You’ve said that there are fewer young people here than there were in 1982. You know what you need to do to actually reach that conclusion?
You take the high point in 1981 – it falls all the way to 2002. Since 2002 to now, it’s grown by 36,000.
Sure, it’s less than 1981-82 now, but you have to ignore the fact that, under the entire life of this government, it has actually grown, the number of young people has grown.
In response to The Conversation’s request for sources and comment for consideration in this FactCheck, a spokesperson for Weatherill said the premier had been referring to “young people aged 0-24”, and referred to a 2018 South Australian Centre for Economic Studies report which states:
… only in South Australia are the numbers of younger people in the first three age cohorts smaller in aggregate in 2013/14 than in 1981/82 (by some 25,000 young people).
The spokesperson added:
The three age cohorts referenced are: 0-14, 15-19 and 20-24. Please note the time period above is up to 2013-14.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data below includes June 2017.
The spokesperson said that in the 0-24 age group, there had been a decrease of 53,395 people between 1982 and 2002, and an increase of 36,742 people between 2002 (when Labor was returned to office) and June 2017.
Read the FactCheck here.