6285.0 - Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, Apr 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/02/2005   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity Survey conducted throughout Australia in April 2004 as part of the Monthly Population Survey (MPS).

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS), which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.

3 From April 2001, the LFS has been conducted using a redesigned questionnaire containing additional questions and some minor definition changes. These changes also affect the supplementary surveys. For further details, see Information Paper: Implementing the Redesigned Labour Force Survey Questionnaire (cat. no. 6295.0) and Information Paper: Questionnaires used in the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6232.0).


4 The ABS has begun the progressive implementation of computer assisted interviewing (CAI) into the LFS. Under CAI, interviewers record responses directly onto an electronic questionnaire in a laptop computer.

5 In the April 2004 survey, the CAI method was used on a random sub-sample of 40% of interviews for all states and territories. The remainder of interviews were conducted using the traditional 'pen and paper' method. The change in interviewing method is not expected to affect the published estimates in any meaningful way.


6 The scope of the survey included all persons aged 15 years and over who were usual residents of private dwellings except:

  • members of the Australian permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia.

7 The supplementary survey was conducted in both rural and urban areas in all states and territories, but excluded approximately 120,000 persons living in remote and sparsely settled parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these persons will only have a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such persons account for approximately 20% of the population.


8 The estimates in this publication relate to persons covered by the survey in April 2004. In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence had only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


9 Information was collected through interviews conducted over a two week period in April 2004.

10 The survey was conducted using a sub-sample of the Monthly Population Survey sample. The Monthly Population Survey, which is described in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), comprises the monthly labour force topic and supplementary topics. The household sample for the Monthly Population Survey was selected using multi-stage sampling techniques and included approximately 30,000 private dwellings. Information relating to involvement in organised sport and physical activity was collected from seven-eighths of the private dwellings selected for the Monthly Population Survey. Information was obtained from any responsible adult in the household who was asked to respond on behalf of one randomly selected person aged 15 years and over in the household.

11 In each selected household, information was collected on the number of persons who were involved in organised sport in either playing or non-playing roles. This excludes persons who were involved only as a spectator or only as a club member. Information was also collected on the characteristics of persons involved, the nature of involvement (whether paid or unpaid) and, for persons involved in non-playing roles, whether they were involved in school or junior sport and whether they had completed a course or held qualifications for the role they performed.


12 Each person could have been involved in one or more of the following six categories of non-playing roles: coach, instructor or teacher; committee member or administrator; referee or umpire; scorer or timekeeper; medical support; and other role. Participation in each category was recorded only once, even if a person was involved in that role for a number of different sports or activities during the 12 month reference period. For example, a person on the committees of a tennis club and a netball club would be recorded only once as being involved as a committee member or administrator. Therefore, figures shown for each non-playing role represent counts of persons involved in that type of role across all organised sport and physical activities.

13 Each person could have been involved as a player or participant, as well as undertaking one or more non-playing roles. For example, a person who coached and played sport would have been counted once in the 'coach, instructor or teacher' category and once as a 'player'.

14 Involvement in organised sport and physical activity may be measured by either counting the number of people involved or by counting the number of involvements. As a person may have involvements in multiple roles, counting involvements produces larger numbers than the number of people involved. In this publication, tables 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11 and 12 provide counts of persons, while tables 6-8 count involvements. Table 5 provides counts of both persons and involvements.

15 Payment status was classified into two categories, namely, some paid involvement and unpaid involvement only. Where persons were involved in more than one type of role (e.g., player, coach, etc.) the payment status for involvement (as presented in table 2) and for non-playing involvement (as presented in tables 2 and 4) was determined by considering all of the involvement combined. For example, if a person was unpaid for their involvement as a player but received some payment in dollars or goods and services for their involvement as a coach, they would be classified as having 'some paid involvement' (as presented in table 2).


16 The Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity survey was previously conducted as part of the Monthly Population Survey (MPS) in 1993, 1997 and 2001. Due to changes in the methodology and the questionnaire, caution should be exercised when making comparisons between these surveys.

17 In 1993, information was obtained for every person aged 15 years and over in the household using face-to-face interviewing techniques. This information was obtained from a responsible adult who answered on behalf of the other members of the household. Respondents were asked about involvement in sport over the previous 12 months.

18 In 1997, the methodology changed to include, where appropriate, telephone interviewing. Information was obtained from two persons aged 15 years and over in each household. Respondents were asked about involvement in sport in the previous 12 months.

19 In 2001, the survey was again conducted using, where appropriate, telephone interviewing. Information was obtained from a responsible adult who answered on behalf of one randomly selected person aged 15 years and over in each household. Respondents were asked about involvement in organised sport and physical activity in the previous 12 months.

20 The 1993, 1997 and 2001 methodology are considered sufficiently similar for reliable comparisons to be made.

21 The 1993 and 1997 surveys asked about involvement in 'sport'. In contrast, the 2001 and 2004 surveys asked about involvement in 'organised sport and physical activity'. This change in wording may have had an impact on responses.

22 The change in wording of the question is likely to have had less impact on responses to non-playing roles, such as being a coach or referee. By definition, these non-playing roles are usually performed as part of an organised activity. In contrast, players or participants may have responded to these two questions differently because player participation in sport can be either organised or non-organised. Hence 'player participation' data have not been compared over time.

23 While the change in wording of the question from 'sport' to 'organised sport' may have had less impact on responses about non-playing roles (relative to players) there may still have been some impact. When asking about non-paying roles, it is possible that the expansion of the question to include organised 'physical activity' as well as organised 'sport' might have elicited a different response. However, even taking this change in wording into account, it is expected that most people would have reported their non-playing involvement when specifically asked about each role, regardless of whether the initial question asked about 'sport' (in 1993 and 1997) or 'organised sport and physical activity' (in 2001 and 2004). Non-playing roles have been compared over time in tables 11 and 12 of this publication, but caution should still be exercised when interpreting these comparisons.

24 The characteristics of persons involved in at least one non-playing role are compared for 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2004 in table 11. In all years, respondents were asked if they had been involved in any of the following roles: coach, instructor or teacher; referee or umpire; and committee member or administrator. However, the roles of scorer or timekeeper and medical support were specifically prompted in the 2001 and 2004 surveys. In 1993 respondents were asked whether there were any 'other' roles they were involved in and no further information on the type of 'other' role was recorded. In 1997 respondents were asked whether there were any 'other' roles they were involved in and, if they were, they were then asked to provide detail about those roles. In 2001 and 2004, questions were asked about participation in the roles of scorer or timekeeper and medical support prior to asking about participation in any 'other' role. Therefore, it is possible that the 2001 and 2004 survey could have elicited different responses from those who were involved in scorer or timekeeper and medical support roles, relative to 1997 and 1993, due simply to the question wording.

25 As mentioned above, in 1993, the roles of scorer or timekeeper and medical support were not collected separately. This means that comparisons cannot be made for these roles using 1993 data (table 12).

26 In 1997, the roles of committee member and of administrator were collected separately whereas in 2001 and 2004 they were collected together under one role of 'committee member or administrator'. For example, in 1997, if a person reported that they were involved as both a committee member and an administrator, they would have been counted as having two separate involvements. In contrast, in 2001 and 2004, this same person would have been recorded as having one involvement, (i.e. a committee member or administrator). In order to make comparisons over time, the 1997 data for committee member and administrator were re-analysed and combined into the one non-playing role. For this reason, 1997 estimates for this role as published in table 12 will be different to those published in Involvement in Sport, Australia, 1997 (cat. no. 6285.0).


27 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling error.

  • Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For further information on sampling error, refer to the Technical Note.
  • Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.


28 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


29 The ABS plans to conduct this survey again in April 2007.


30 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:

      Australian Social Trends, 2004, cat. no. 4102.0
      Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2003, cat. no. 4901.0
      How Australians Use Their Time, 1997, cat. no. 4153.0
      Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 2002, cat. no. 4177.0
      Selected Amusement and Leisure Industries, Australia, 2000-01, cat. no. 8688.0
      Sport and Recreation, A Statistical Overview, Australia, 2003, cat. no. 4156.0
      Sports Attendance, Australia, 2002, cat. no. 4174.0
      Sports Industries, Australia, 2000-01, cat. no. 8686.0
      Voluntary Work, Australia, 2000, cat. no. 4441.0

31 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or on this site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead. The National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics theme page also contains a wealth of information and useful references.