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4156.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Sport, April 2014  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/04/2014   
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SOCIO-ECONOMIC VARIATIONS IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION PARTICIPATION RATES

INTRODUCTION

Studies have shown that certain groups in the Australian population are least likely to participate in sport and physical recreation, and thus are at greater risk of bearing the individual, social and economic costs of physical inactivity. These include people with a disability, people born overseas, Indigenous Australians, older adults, women, and people with lower socio-economic status (Endnote 1). It has been suggested that a number of factors can help or hinder levels of physical activity in the community; including public policy, individual biological determinants (age, gender, health status), socio-cultural (interpersonal) and psychosocial (intrapersonal) factors, in addition to a range of environmental influences, including social, economic and physical environment determinants (Endnote 2).

Using data from the Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation topic in the ABS 2011–12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS), this article explores the relationship between adult participation rates in sport and physical recreation, and demographic and socio-economic factors, such as birthplace, family composition, income, socio-economic status and education.

Analysis has been undertaken at the national level and the state and territories level, where data supports state level analysis.

Where age is a contributing influence, an age standardisation process has been conducted as appropriate, as part of the analysis. Age standardisation is a method of removing the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. As participation in sport is strongly related to age, we are interested in differences in demographic and socio-economic populations other than those caused by age.

This article is separated into two parts. Part 1 analyses demographic and socio-economic variables where age is not a contributing influence and so age standardisation has not been applied. Part 2 analyses demographic and socio-economic variables where age is a contributing influence and so age standardisation has been applied to remove this influence.

Note that all data comparisons in this article should be considered statistically significantly different unless otherwise indicated.

PART 1: DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC VARIABLES NOT INFLUENCED BY AGE

Due to the similar age structures between populations in the following demographic and socio-economic variables, an age standardisation process was not conducted.

Birthplace

People born in Australia had higher participation rates in sport and physical recreation than those born overseas (67% and 59% respectively). Tasmania was the only state or territory where people born overseas had higher participation rates than those born in Australia (77% and 68% respectively).

Of those born in Australia, the Australian Capital Territory reported the highest participation rate of any state or territory (84%).

However, those born overseas in main English-speaking countries (Canada, Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States of America) had slightly higher participation rates than those born in Australia (70% and 67% respectively), although there is not enough evidence to suggest that this difference is statistically significant.

While the differences in participation rates between those born in Australia and those born overseas in main English-speaking countries differ for all states and territories, with the exception of New South Wales and Tasmania, these differences are not statistically significant.

Graph Image for Participation rate in sport and physical recreation, by birthplace and state or territory, 2011-12

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)




Those born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country had the lowest participation rate of all persons (53%), with males having higher participation rates than females (57% and 47% respectively).

Participation rates were similar for males and females born in Australia (68% and 67% respectively) and for those born overseas in main English-speaking countries (69% and 70% respectively).

Graph Image for Participation rate in sport and physical recreation, by birthplace and sex, 2011-12

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)




Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage

The Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) summarises information about the economic and social resources of people and households within an area, including both relative advantage and disadvantage measures. A low score indicates relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. For example, an area could have a low score if there are (among other things) many households with low incomes, or many people in unskilled occupations and few households with high incomes, or few people in skilled occupations. A high score indicates a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general. For example, an area may have a high score if there are (among other things) many households with high incomes, or many people in skilled occupations and few households with low incomes, or few people in unskilled occupations.

For the purpose of this analysis, Australians have been grouped into one of five categories, according to their socio-economic status, ranging from the lowest quintile (comprising the lowest 20% of households) to the highest quintile (comprising the top 20% of households).

Participation rates in sport and physical recreation increased with each successive quintile. Australians living in the areas of lowest advantage/greatest disadvantage had lower participation rates than those living in the areas of lowest disadvantage/greatest advantage (52% and 78% respectively). This pattern was seen across all states and territories.

Of those living in the areas of lowest disadvantage/greatest advantage, Tasmanians reported the highest participation rate of any state or territory (92%).

Graph Image for Participation rate in sport and physical recreation, by IRSAD (a) and state or territory, 2011-12 (b)

Footnote(s): (a) Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (b) participation rates for NT and ACT in the lowest and second quintiles are not available for publication but are included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)




PART 2: DEMOGRAPHIC AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC VARIABLES INFLUENCED BY AGE

The following demographic and socio-economic variables have populations with different age structures. For example, when comparing the broad groups of birthplace, people born in Europe were much older than those born in Asia. This reflects patterns of Australian immigration over the past 60 years, with significant numbers of migrants coming from Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, an influx of Asian migrants from the 1980s onwards, and more recently, increasing numbers from Africa. Due to these differences in age structure, an age standardisation process was conducted. An age standardisation rate removes the effects of different age structures when comparing population groups or changes over time. The standardised rate is that which would have prevailed if the actual population had the standard age composition.

The following discussions are based on age standardised results.

Birthplace (Broad Groups)

The highest participation rate in sport and physical recreation was reported by people who were born in Sub-Saharan Africa (74%), with the lowest rate reported by people born in North Africa and the Middle East (41%).

Those born in North-West Europe had a higher participation rate than those born in Southern and Eastern Europe (67% and 62% respectively). This trend was seen across states and territories, other than Victoria where the higher rate was reported by those born in Southern and Eastern Europe (59% and 64% respectively). There is not enough evidence to suggest that any of these differences are statistically significant.

Those born in Southern and Central Asia had higher participation rates than those born in South-East Asia and North-East Asia (59%, 49% and 47% respectively).

Participation rates were similar for males and females born in Oceania and Antarctica (both 67%), North-West Europe (both 67%), and Southern and Eastern Europe (61% and 63% respectively). Males had higher participation rates than females in all other birthplaces. With the exception of South-East Asia, there is not enough evidence to suggest these differences are statistically significant.

Graph Image for Participation rate (a) in sport and physical recreation, by broad groups of birthplace and sex, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) age standardised to the age composition of the total Estimated Resident Population of Australia as at 30 June 2001

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)



Family Composition of Household

Participation rates in sport and physical recreation were higher for persons in couple only (69%) and lone person (67%) households than those living in couple family (59%) and single parent family (55%) households with dependent children.

Except for single parent family households with dependent children, females had higher participation rates than males in all of the other household family compositions. There is not enough evidence to suggest that these differences are statistically significant with the exception of lone person households (72% of female lone person households compared with 64% of male lone person households).

Graph Image for Participation rate (a) in sport and physical recreation, by family composition and sex, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) age standardised to the age composition of the total Estimated Resident Population of Australia as at 30 June 2001

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)




In South Australia, persons in couple family households with dependent children had similar participation rates to those in couple only households (58% and 57% respectively). In Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia, persons living alone had higher participation rates than those in one parent family households with dependent children (for Victoria, 71% and 62% respectively; Queensland 62% and 48%; South Australia 61% and 48%; Western Australia 70% and 50%). While the trend was also seen in the remaining states and territories, there is not enough evidence to suggest these differences are statistically significant.

In Tasmania, persons living in couple only households had a higher participation rate in sport and physical recreation than persons living alone (79% and 62% respectively).

In Victoria and the ACT, couple families with dependent children had the lowest participation rates of all household types (59% and 69% respectively).

Persons in couple only households in the Australian Capital Territory reported the highest participation rate compared to any other state or territory (87%).

Graph Image for Participation rate (a) in sport and physical recreation, by family composition, state or territory, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) age standardised to the age composition of the total Estimated Resident Population of Australia as at 30 June 2001

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)



Equivalised Household Income

Equivalising adjusts actual income to take into account the different needs of households of different sizes and compositions, so 'equivalised household income' can be seen as an indicator of the economic resources available to each member of the household. It reflects the requirement of a larger household to have a higher level of income to achieve the same standard of living as a smaller household.

For the purpose of this analysis, Australians have been grouped into one of five categories, according to their equivalised household income, ranging from the lowest quintile (comprising the lowest 20% of households) to the highest quintile (comprising the top 20% of households).

Participation rates in sport and physical recreation increased with each successive quintile, from 49% in the lowest to 80% in the highest. This pattern was generally seen across all states and territories.

People living in Tasmania reported the highest participation rates in the second, fourth and highest quintiles (67%, 88% and 92% respectively).

Graph Image for Participation rate (a) in sport and physical recreation, by household equivalised income and state or territory, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) age standardised to the age composition of the total Estimated Resident Population of Australia as at 30 June 2001

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)



Education

Research has demonstrated that higher education levels can be associated with increased physical activity (Endnote 3). People with higher levels of education may be more informed about the health consequences of lifestyle behaviours, leading them to undertake more frequent and intense physical activity.

Highest year of school completed

Participation rates in sport and physical recreation increased with higher levels of schooling completed, from 38% for Year 8 or below to 73% for Year 12. For those whose highest year of school completed was Year 12, males had higher participation rates than females (75% and 72% respectively).

Graph Image for Participation rate (a) in sport and physical recreation, by highest year of schooling completed and sex, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) age standardised to the age composition of the total Estimated Resident Population of Australia as at 30 June 2001

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)




Other than in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, this pattern of increased participation with higher levels of schooling was seen across states and territories, although there is not enough evidence to suggest that these differences are statistically significant. In South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, participation rates were similar for males and females (South Australia, 72% and 71% respectively; Australian Capital Territory, 83% and 84% respectively).

Level of highest non-school qualification

Those who completed a non-school qualification had higher participation rates in sport and physical recreation than those who did not complete a non-school qualification (72% and 55% respectively).

Participation rates generally increased with higher levels of non-school qualification, from 67% for a Certificate I or II to 79% for a Postgraduate degree. Those who stated that their highest non-school qualification was an advanced diploma/diploma or above, had higher participation rates than those who stated that their highest non-school qualification was a Certificate III/IV or below (74% and 66% respectively).

Males who completed a Graduate Diploma or graduate certificate as their highest non-school qualification had higher participation rates than females whose highest level was the same (76% and 61% respectively).

Participation rates were generally higher for males compared to females across the remaining levels of highest non-school qualification, but there is not enough evidence to suggest these differences are statistically significant.

Graph Image for Participation rate (a) in sport and physical recreation, by level of non-school qualification and sex, 2011-12

Footnote(s): (a) age standardised to the age composition of the total Estimated Resident Population of Australia as at 30 June 2001

Source(s): ABS 2011-12 Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS)




In New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, the level of highest non-school qualification with the highest participation rate was a Bachelor degree (78%, 76%, 82%, 78% and 86% respectively). In Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, the highest rate was a Postgraduate degree (77% and 89% respectively) and in the Northern Territory an Advanced diploma or diploma (86%).



SUMMARY

This article has shown that adult participation rates in sport and physical recreation varied across socio-economic indicators.

Participation rates generally increased with higher levels of education, socio-economic status and equivalised household income, suggesting an association between these variables and adult participation.

Birthplace also impacted on participation, with those born overseas in a non-main English-speaking country less likely to participate than those born in Australia and in other main English-speaking countries (53%, 67% and 70% respectively).

Family composition appeared to have less of an influence on adult participation rates. Despite couple families with dependent children and couples having higher rates at the national level than one parent families and persons living alone respectively, these differences were not statistically significant.

ENDNOTES

1. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, 2010, Participation in physical activity: A determinant of mental and physical health. < http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/~/media/ResourceCentre/PublicationsandResources/Physical%20activity/Participation_in_physical_activity_Research_summary.ashx> Accessed 31 March 2014.

2. National Public Health Partnership, 2005, Be active Australia: a framework for health sector action for physical activity. NPHP, Melbourne. <http://www.nphp.gov.au/publications/documents/nphp_baa_aug_05_no_cover.pdf> Accessed 31 March 2014.

3. Cleland Verity J, Ball K, Magnussen C, Dwyer T and Venn A, 2009, ‘Socio-economic position and the tracking of physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness from childhood to adulthood’, American Journal of Epidemiology, 190.9, pp 1067-77. <http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/170/9/1069.full.pdf+html > Accessed 31 March 2014


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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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