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4156.0 - Sport and Recreation: A Statistical Overview, Australia , 2006 Edition 2  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/11/2006   
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Contents >> Chapter 3.1 Participation - Introduction >> Chapter 3.3 Participation - Children's Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation

PARTICIPATION


CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION

Characteristics of participants

Unlike the data collected by the 2002 GSS about adult participation in sports and physical recreation, the physical activity data obtained by the April 2003 Survey of Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities are largely limited to participation in organised sport outside of school hours. As a result, it is not possible to make direct comparisons between the data for adult participation and the data for children's participation.


During the 12 months ending April 2003, 1.6 million or 61.6% of children aged 5-14 participated in sport outside of school hours that had been organised by a school, club or association. The sport participation rate for boys exceeded that for girls, both overall (68.6% compared with 54.2%), and within each age group category.


Children aged 9-11 were those most likely to participate in sport. Their participation rate of 67.6% exceeded the rates for both 12-14 year olds (63.6%) and 5-8 year olds (55.4%).


The sport participation rates for children living in capital cities and children living elsewhere in Australia were similar at 61.3% and 62.1% respectively. However, this contrasts with the results of the April 2000 survey which found a noticeable difference between the sport participation rate for capital cities (57.3%) and that for the rest of Australia (62.3%). Over the three-year period, it appears that the sport participation rate outside capital cities has remained constant, while the rate inside capital cities has increased until it approaches that level.


The sport participation rate for children varied across the states and territories, ranging from 54.1% in Queensland to 65.8% in Western Australia. The rate was higher for boys than for girls in all cases, with the discrepancy being greatest in New South Wales (71.0% and 53.1%) and least in the Australian Capital Territory (65.4% and 60.1 %).

3.4 CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT(a), Characteristics of participants - 2003

NUMBER
PARTICIPATION RATE
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
'000
'000
'000
%
%
%

Age group (years)
5-8
339.6
238.0
577.6
63.4
46.9
55.4
9-11
305.1
239.7
544.9
73.8
61.1
67.6
12-14
287.1
220.8
507.9
70.3
56.6
63.6
State or territory
New South Wales
320.2
228.1
548.3
71.0
53.1
62.3
Victoria
235.2
183.8
419.0
70.9
58.4
64.8
Queensland
165.3
118.8
284.0
61.5
46.3
54.1
South Australia
66.6
56.4
122.9
66.4
59.2
62.9
Western Australia
99.8
76.6
176.4
72.3
58.9
65.8
Tasmania
22.9
16.9
39.8
68.2
52.9
60.8
Northern Territory(b)
7.7
5.6
13.3
64.3
50.9
57.9
Australian Capital Territory
14.2
12.5
26.7
65.4
60.1
62.8
Region
Capital city(c)
575.0
418.7
993.8
69.2
52.9
61.3
Other
356.8
279.8
636.6
67.7
56.1
62.1
Total
931.9
698.5
1 630.4
68.6
54.2
61.6

(a) Relates to children aged 5-14 years who participated in organised sport outside of school hours during the 12 months ending April 2003.
(b) Comprises predominantly urban areas only
(c) Excludes Canberra and Darwin.
Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2003 (cat. no. 4901.0).


Participation in selected sports and physical recreation activities

The sports shown in the table below are the twelve which were most popular with children overall in the year ending April 2003. For boys, only the first ten of those listed are their most popular sports while, for girls, only the first nine are their most popular.


By far the most popular organised sport for boys in the year ending April 2003 was outdoor soccer which was played by 301,100 or 22.2%, well in excess of the numbers participating in the next two sports - swimming with 213,600 or 15.7%, and Australian Rules football with 184,200 or 13.6%. For girls, two sports were predominant - netball with 233,000 participants (18.1%) and swimming with 225,500 (17.5%). The level of participation in both of these was more than double the level of participation by girls in tennis, which was the next placed sport with 100,100 participants (7.8%).


Between April 2000 and April 2003, the sport participation rate for boys rose from 66.1% to 68.6% (or by 3.8%) while the rate for girls rose from 52.3% to 54.2% (or by 3.6%). However, there were some much bigger movements in the participation rate for some individual sports. The movement in the participation rate for outdoor soccer for boys from 19.6% to 22.2% was an increase of 13.2%, while the movement in the rate for boys' swimming from 13.1% to 15.7% was a rise of 20.1%. For Rugby League, however, the movement was in the opposite direction with a 17.4% drop in the participation rate for boys from 6.8% to 5.6%.


For girls, the big movements in participation rates came from outdoor soccer (up 46.4% from 2.9% to 4.2%), martial arts (up 42.1% from 2.5% to 3.6%), and gymnastics (up 26.0% from 4.3% to 5.4%). For gymnastics, there was also a significant increase in participation by boys, albeit from a low base.

3.5 CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SELECTED ORGANISED SPORTS(a)

2000
2003
Number
Participation rate
Number
Participation rate
'000
%
'000
%

MALES

Soccer (outdoor)
265.0
19.6
301.1
22.2
Swimming
177.0
13.1
213.6
15.7
Australian Rules football
170.3
12.6
184.2
13.6
Tennis
124.8
9.2
128.3
9.5
Cricket (outdoor)
133.6
9.9
124.2
9.1
Basketball
119.6
8.8
116.1
8.6
Martial arts
72.7
5.4
83.9
6.2
Rugby League
92.5
6.8
76.2
5.6
Athletics/track and field
52.2
3.9
51.7
3.8
Hockey
31.7
2.3
33.3
2.5
Gymnastics
12.6
0.9
22.5
1.7
Netball
*6.4
*0.5
8.2
0.6
Other organised sports
214.9
15.9
232.3
17.1
Total organised sports(b)
895.2
66.1
931.9
68.6

FEMALES

Netball
234.9
18.2
233.0
18.1
Swimming
203.1
15.8
225.5
17.5
Tennis
99.1
7.7
100.1
7.8
Basketball
80.7
6.3
88.9
6.9
Gymnastics
55.1
4.3
69.9
5.4
Soccer (outdoor)
37.3
2.9
54.8
4.2
Athletics/track and field
51.9
4.0
48.6
3.8
Martial arts
31.9
2.5
45.8
3.6
Hockey
32.5
2.5
33.0
2.6
Cricket (outdoor)
7.3
0.6
9.5
0.7
Australian Rules football
*4.1
*0.3
9.4
0.7
Rugby League
*2.5
*0.2
**0.9
**0.1
Other organised sports
156.9
12.2
164.2
12.7
Total organised sports(b)
673.0
52.3
698.5
54.2

* 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
(a) Relates to children aged 5-14 years who participated in organised sport (to a maximum of three per child) outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April.
(b) Total will be less than the sum of the components because some children participate in more than one sport.
Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2003 (cat. no. 4901.0).


Although boys had the higher participation rate in organised sport, girls had a much higher participation rate than boys in another form of organised physical activity - dancing. During the 12 months ending April 2003, 307,100 girls participated in organised dancing outside of school hours - a participation rate of 23.8%. The number of boys participating was 22,200 - a participation rate of only 1.6%. Participation by boys was little different to the level recorded in 2000 whereas, for girls, the participation rate had increased by 22.1% (from 19.5% to 23.8%) over the same period.


Besides organised sport and dancing, the Survey of Children's Participation in Culture and Leisure Activities also asked about participation in a couple of non-organised physical recreation activities - bike riding and skateboarding/rollerblading. For both activities, a considerably higher percentage of boys (70.5% and 28.5% respectively) participated than did girls (53.3% and 16.9%).


Between April 2000 and April 2003, there was a small but significant drop in bike riding by girls with the participation rate falling by 5.2% from 56.2% to 53.3%. For boys there was little change over the same period. However, for skateboarding or rollerblading, the participation rates for both boys and girls fell substantially. For boys, the downward movement was 19.9% from 35.6% to 28.5% while, for girls, it was 35.2% from 26.1% to 16.9%. This result suggests a fall in the popularity of these largely youth-oriented activities.

3.6 CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN SELECTED PHYSICAL RECREATION ACTIVITIES

2000
2003
Number
Participation rate
Number
Participation rate
'000
%
'000
%

MALES

Dancing(a)(b)
22.9
1.7
22.2
1.6
Skateboarding or rollerblading(c)
481.6
35.6
386.4
28.5
Bike riding(c)
963.1
71.1
957.4
70.5

FEMALES

Dancing(a)(b)
251.1
19.5
307.1
23.8
Skateboarding or rollerblading(c)
335.8
26.1
218.2
16.9
Bike riding(c)
723.0
56.2
687.4
53.3

(a) Although actually a cultural activity, dancing is included here because of the physical exertion it requires.
(b) Relates to children aged 5-14 years who participated in organised dancing (lessons or performances) outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April.
(c) Relates to children aged 5-14 years who participated in this non-organised activity outside of school hours during the past two school weeks prior to interview in April.
Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2003 (cat. no. 4901.0).


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