Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2010   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Culture and recreation >> Participation of migrants in culture and leisure activities (Article)

FEATURE ARTICLE: PARTICIPATION OF MIGRANTS IN CULTURE AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES

Australia is a culturally diverse nation with migrants arriving from around two hundred countries during the past two centuries (Jupp 2002). These migrants have played an important role in shaping our nation (Department of Immigration and Citizenship 2009). Social and economic issues such as the ageing population and skills shortages have highlighted the role migration will play in the economic and demographic future of Australia (Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 2002). While migrants contribute to and enrich Australian society through their different skills, abilities and experiences, they potentially face difficulties such as language barriers, cultural differences and discrimination, which could affect their ability to participate in some social activities.

This article examines several areas of participation in culture and leisure activities in the context of whether migrants came from main English-speaking countries or other countries. These migrants may or may not be proficient in spoken English.


Migrants in Australia

According to the 2006 Census of Population and Housing, 22% (4.4 million) of people in Australia were born overseas. A further 26% of people who were born in Australia had at least one parent who was born overseas.

The 2006 General Social Survey collected information on a range of demographic and social dimensions. According to the survey, 37% of the migrant population were from main English-speaking countries (the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa). The remainder (63%) were born in other countries. Of those born in other countries, around 2 million (82%) were proficient in spoken English.

Over the last ten years, there has been an increased emphasis on skilled migration programs in Australia (Parliamentary Library 2006). During this time, the pattern of migration has also changed. For example, while migrants from the United Kingdom and New Zealand remained the two largest overseas-born groups, the proportion of migrants coming to Australia who were born in China, India and South Africa increased considerably between 1996 and 2006 (see Australian Social Trends (4102.0).


Participation in social activities

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises that some level of social and cultural participation is a fundamental human right and need (The General Assembly of the United Nations 1948). Social participation is believed to have positive impacts on the health of individuals and on the strength of communities.

Organised social groups

Involvement in organised social groups such as craft or hobby groups, or sport and recreation clubs, is a common form of social participation. In 2006, migrants from main English-speaking countries (34%) and people born in Australia (38%) were most likely to be involved in a sport or recreation group whereas people from other countries were most commonly involved in a religious or spiritual group (30%).


Sporting and physical recreation activities by adults

In Australia, as in many other countries, attendance at sporting events or participation in sporting activities has been a common avenue for individuals to engage with the wider community (Taylor 2003).

The results from the 2006 General Social Survey showed that participation in sporting activities (either formal or informal) through playing, coaching, refereeing or administrative roles, was a popular means of social interaction. Almost two-thirds (65%) of people from main English-speaking countries and just over half (53%) of people from other countries reported some form of participation in sport in the previous 12 months. The proportion of people born in Australia who participated in sporting activities (64%) was similar to that of people from main English-speaking countries.

The results from the Multi-Purpose Household Survey 2005-06 showed that persons born in other countries had a lower rate of participation (52%) in sport and physical recreation than persons born in main English-speaking countries (72%) or persons born in Australia (68%).

Walking for exercise was the most popular activity for all birthplace groups with a quarter of the total population (25%) participating in this activity (table 14.26). Those born in main English-speaking countries had the highest rate of participation in walking for exercise (31%) compared with people born in Australia (25%) and those born in other countries (20%).

14.26 PARTICIPANTS, SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION, By country of birth - 2005-06

Born in Australia
Born in main English-speaking Countries
Born in other countries
%
%
%

Walking for exercise
24.9
31.4
20.0
Aerobics/fitness
12.9
14.3
10.1
Swimming
9.0
11.9
7.5
Tennis
5.3
4.6
2.8
Soccer (outdoor)
2.5
2.0
3.3
Golf
5.8
7.1
3.3
Gymnastics
0.7
*0.4
*0.5
Netball
3.4
1.8
*0.4
Basketball
2.2
*1.2
2.3
Australian Rules football
2.2
*0.6
**0.1
Rugby League
0.7
**0.3
**0.2
Rugby Union
0.4
*1.0
**0.3

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
** estimate has a relative standard error greater than 50% and is considered too unreliable for general use
Source: ABS data available on request, Multi-Purpose Household Survey, 2005-06.



Sporting and leisure activities by children

The survey of Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities conducted in April 2009 showed there is a noticeable difference in the participation rate of children born in other countries compared with those born in Australia or in a main English-speaking country. Around two-thirds (64% and 62% respectively) of children born in Australia and main English-speaking countries participated in organised sport outside school hours, whereas the participation rate for children born in other countries was 40% (table 14.27).

The most popular organised sports for children aged 5-14 years born in other countries were swimming, with 17,600 participants (13%) and soccer (outdoor) with 16,600 participants (12%). The level of participation in swimming and soccer (outdoor) were 19% and 13% respectively for children born in Australia, and for those born in main English-speaking countries the levels were 20% and 13%.

The rate of participation in Australian Rules football was lower for children born in main English-speaking countries (7.1%). In comparison, 9.2% of Australian born children participated in Australian Rules football. Children born in main English-speaking countries had a higher rate of participation in netball (7.6%) compared with children born in other countries (1.6%).

14.27 Children's Participation in Selected Organised Sports and Leisure Activities, By country of birth - 2009

Born in Australia
Born in main English-speaking countries
Born in other countries
%
%
%

Organised sports (excluding dancing)(a)
Swimming
18.7
20.0
12.5
Soccer (outdoor)
13.3
13.4
11.8
Netball
8.8
7.6
*1.6
Australian Rules football
9.2
*7.1
np
Tennis
8.0
8.1
5.3
Other organised sports
39.8
42.8
22.8
At least one organised sport(b)
64.4
62.4
40.1
Selected other activities(c)
Skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter
51.0
44.4
24.7
Bike riding
61.3
61.9
42.5
Watching TV, videos or DVDs
97.3
97.0
98.5
Other screen-based activities
83.2
82.6
83.1
Art and craft
48.7
51.9
39.4
Reading for pleasure
71.8
77.7
75.2
Homework or other study
82.1
85.4
84.2

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) Outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2009.
(b) May not add to sum of components as some children participated in more than one activity.
(c) Outside of school hours during the two school weeks prior to interview in April 2009.
Source: ABS data available on request, Survey of Children's Particpiation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, 2009.

The leisure activities with the most noticeable differences in participation rates were skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter; art and craft; and bike riding. Proportionally, twice as many Australian-born children (51%) participated in skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter than children born in other countries (25%). There were similar participation rates for watching TV, videos or DVDs across all country of birth groups.


Cultural activities by children

The survey of children's activities showed that children born overseas were more likely to have visited a public library (60%) than their Australian born counterparts (53%) (table 14.28). Children born in main English-speaking countries had the highest attendance rate at museums and art galleries at 47%, compared with those born in Australia (42%) and in other countries (33%). For performing arts events, children born in main English-speaking countries had the highest participation rate at 37%, followed by children born in Australia (34%) and children born in other countries (28%).

Participation rates for playing a musical instrument and singing were very similar across all country of birth groups. For dancing and drama, children born in other countries tended to have lower participation rates than children born in main English-speaking countries.

14.28 Children's Participation and Attendance in Arts and Cultural Heritage, By country of birth - 2009

Born in Australia
Born in main English speaking countries
Born in other countries

PARTICIPATION RATE (%)

Attendance at cultural venues and events
Visited public library
53.0
59.7
60.7
Visited museum or art gallery
41.5
47.4
33.4
Attended performing arts event
33.7
37.3
27.5
At least one selected venue or event
70.7
75.3
70.3
Participation in organised cultural activities
Playing a musical instrument
19.6
20.5
20.0
Singing
6.1
6.6
5.3
Dancing
14.5
19.0
8.3
Drama
4.6
7.5
2.6
At least one selected organised cultural activity
33.6
38.9
29.7

Source: ABS Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2009 (4901.0).



Attendance at cultural venues

Migrants born in main English-speaking countries had higher attendance rates than migrants born in other countries at all heritage and arts venues (table 14.29). They also had higher attendance rates than their Australian born counterparts at all heritage venues and most performing arts, excluding popular music concerts and cinemas.

The cinema was the most popular venue for both migrant groups, as well as for people born in Australia. People born in Australia and main English-speaking countries had higher rates of attendance (86% and 90% respectively) than did people from other countries (76%) in at least one venue or event.

14.29 ATTENDANCE AT CULTURAL VENUES AND EVENTS, By country of birth - 2005-06

Born in Australia
Born in main English-speaking countries
Born in other countries
%
%
%

Heritage-related Institutions
Botanic gardens
32.8
41.1
32.5
Zoological parks and aquariums
36.2
41.1
29.6
Art galleries
23.4
29.4
15.6
Museums
22.7
28.9
18.2
Libraries
33.4
42.1
31.8
Performing Arts and Cinemas
Popular music concerts
28.0
27.3
12.2
Classical music concerts
8.8
13.3
9.4
Dance performances
10.7
10.8
7.5
Musicals and operas
17.4
19.6
10.0
Theatre performances
17.9
22.3
9.8
Other performing arts
17.1
18.9
13.1
Cinemas
68.3
66.7
51.0
At least one venue or event
86.3
89.6
75.6

Source: ABS Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005-06 (4114.0).



Attendance at sporting events

The Multi-Purpose Household Survey 2005-06 showed close to half (44%) of the population aged 15 years and over attended a sporting event or venue in the 12 months prior to interview. Proportionally more Australian born people (50%) attended sporting events compared with those born in main English-speaking countries (42%) and other countries (21%).

These differences are also highlighted in the attendance rates for different sporting events (table 14.30). Overall, the most popular sport attended by each birthplace group was Australian Rules football with an attendance rate of 19% for persons born in Australia, 12% for persons born in main English-speaking countries and 6% for persons born in other countries. Four per cent of those born in other countries attended horse racing and 3% attended a motor sports event. In comparison, those born in Australia had higher attendance rates for these events, with attendance rates of 15% and 11% respectively. Soccer (outdoor) was the only sport that was attended by a greater proportion of people born in other countries (4.0%) compared with those born in Australia (3.3%).

14.30 SPORTS ATTENDANCE, By country of birth - 2005-06

Born in Australia
Born in main English-speaking countries
Born in other countries
%
%
%

Australian Rules football
18.8
11.8
5.8
Basketball
1.5
*1.5
*1.2
Cricket (outdoor)
5.2
3.7
2.4
Harness racing
3.2
2.6
1.0
Horse racing
14.7
11.8
3.7
Motor sports
11.2
7.4
2.6
Rugby League
10.9
7.8
3.4
Rugby Union
4.5
7.6
1.3
Soccer (outdoor)
3.3
4.3
4.0
Tennis
1.8
1.8
*0.9

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
Source: ABS data available on request, Multi-Purpose Household Survey, 2005-06.



Data sources and definitions

Data for this article are primarily from the 2005-06 Multi-Purpose Household Survey and the 2006 General Social Survey. The Multi-Purpose Household Survey included modules on participation in sport and attendance at sporting and cultural events. The General Social Survey collected data on a range of social dimensions. This allows analysis of interrelationships in social circumstances and outcomes including the exploration of multiple advantage and disadvantage.

A migrant is a person who was born overseas and obtained permanent Australian resident status prior to, or after, their arrival.

Main English-speaking countries are the main countries from which Australia receives, or has received, significant numbers of overseas settlers who are likely to speak English. These countries comprise the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa.

People born in other countries refers to people who were not born in Australia or in a main English-speaking country. These people may or may not be proficient in spoken English.

For more information see:

General Social Survey: Summary of Results, 2006 (4159.0)

Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2005-06 (4177.0)

Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2009 (4901.0).

Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2005-06 (4114.0)

Sports Attendance, Australia, 2005-06 (4174.0)


REFERENCES

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2004, Information Paper: Measuring Social Capital: An Australian Framework and Indicators, 2004, (1378.0) ABS, Canberra, last viewed 16 November 2009, <http://www.abs.gov.au>

Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) 2009, Fact sheet 4 - More than 60 years of post-war migration, National Communications Branch, DIAC, Canberra, last viewed 16 November 2009, <http://www.immi.gov.au/media/fact-sheets>

Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) 2002, DIMIA Annual Report 2001-02, DIMIA, Canberra, last viewed 16 November 2009, <http://www.immi.gov.au/about/reports>

Jupp, J 2002, From White Australia to Woomera, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.

Parliamentary Library 2006, Skilled migration to Australia E-brief, Parliament of Australia, Canberra, last viewed 16 November 2009, <http://www.aph.gov.au/library/intguide>

Taylor, T 2003, 'Diversity Management in a Multi-cultural Society: An exploratory study of cultural diversity and team sport in Australia', Annals of Leisure Research, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 168-187.

The General Assembly of the United Nations 1948, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations, New York, last viewed 16 November 2009, <http://www.un.org/en/documents>



Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.