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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Culture and Recreation >> Involvement and participation in sports and physical activities

Involvement in sport

In the 12-month period to the end of March 1997, some 4.7 million people (32% of all people aged 15 years and over) were involved in playing, coaching or organising a sport on at least one occasion (table 12.32). Over 4.1 million people (29%) had played a sport and 1.7 million (12%) (many of whom were also players) were involved as coaches, referees, administrators or in some other non-playing capacity.


12.32 INVOLVEMENT IN SPORT - 1993 and 1997

1993
1997


Type of involvement
Number

’000
Participation

%
Number

’000
Participation

%

Players -
3,963.6
29.1
4,115.2
28.5
- Paid
57.0
0.4
142.6
1.0
- Unpaid
3,906.5
28.7
3,972.6
27.5
Non-players(a) -
1,419.7
10.4
1,655.9
11.5
- Paid(b)
166.1
1.2
203.9
1.4
- Unpaid
1,253.6
9.2
1,452.0
10.1
Players and non-players(c) -
4,504.9
33.1
4,669.8
32.4
- Paid
213.3
1.6
328.5
2.3
- Unpaid
4,291.6
31.6
4,341.3
30.1

(a) Includes players with non-playing involvement.
(b) Refers to those who received some payment for their non-playing involvement only.
(c) Persons who are involved both as players and non-players are counted only once.

Source: ABS data available on request, 1993 Involvement in Sport Survey; Involvement in Sport, Australia, 1997 (6285.0).


Participation in sport and physical activities

Table 12.33 shows the results of an ABS survey on the sports and physical activities in which Australians participated in 1999-2000.

The survey found that 54.7% of the population (7,541,700 people) aged 18 years and over participated as players in one or more sports and physical activities.

Participation rates were highest for the 18--24 year age group (73.5%), and declined steadily with age. Only 33.8% of the population aged 65 years and over had participated in a sport or recreational physical activity.

Males had a higher participation rate than females in every age group. Overall, males had a participation rate of 58.5% compared with 50.9% for females.

12.33 PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES(a), By Age Group - 1999-2000

Males
Females
Persons



Age group (years)
Number
’000
Participation
rate
%
Number
’000
Participation
rate
%
Number
’000
Participation
rate
%

18-24
745.8
79.7
605.4
67.0
1351.2
73.5
25-34
960.2
68.9
910.5
64.2
1870.7
66.6
35-44
833.5
58.5
837.8
57.7
1,671.3
58.1
45-54
657.7
51.9
565.7
45.0
1,223.4
48.5
55-64
409.1
48.8
312.3
37.6
721.5
43.2
65 and over
372.6
39.4
330.9
29.2
703.5
33.8
Total persons
3,979.0
58.5
3,562.7
50.9
7541.7
54.7

(a) Relates to persons aged 18 years and over who participated in sport or physical activity during a 12-month period prior to interview during 1999-2000.

Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, 1999-2000 (4177.0).


The most popular sport or physical activity undertaken during 1999-2000 was walking, with participation by almost 2.6 million people, or 18.8% of the population aged 18 years and over.

Results from the surveys conducted in 1996-97 of participants aged 15 years and over show that over $2,762m was spent in that year on organised sport and physical activities by participants. This represents an average expenditure of $693 per participant. Organisation of sports is through clubs and associations, schools, and the main areas of expenditure were clothing and equipment ($814m), followed by weekly fees ($570m), membership ($538m) and transport ($527m).

The most expensive organised sport or physical activity was motor sports, which had an average expenditure of $1,787 in 1996-97. Other expensive sports for participants were horse riding ($1,405), waterskiing/powerboating ($1,277) and air sports ($1,259).


Popular sports and physical activities

In 1999-2000, participation by adults in activities organised by clubs or associations was highest in aerobics/fitness, golf, lawn bowls, tennis and netball. However, when non-organised participation is included, the activities which attracted the most participants were walking (about 2.6 million people), swimming (1.9 million), aerobics/fitness (1.4 million), golf (1.3 million) and tennis (1.0 million).

For men, the most popular activities were golf and walking; for women, walking and swimming had the most participants (table 12.34).


12.34 ADULT PARTICIPATION IN SELECTED SPORTS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES(a) - 1999-2000

Sport/activity
No.

’000
Participation rate

%

MALES

Golf
1,059.2
15.6
Walking
934.0
13.7
Swimming
885.3
13.0
Fishing
579.5
8.5
Aerobic/fitness
511.8
7.5
Tennis
508.1
7.5
Cycling
446.4
6.6
Running
425.9
6.3
Surf sports
247.2
3.6
Lawn bowls
243.5
3.6

FEMALES

Walking
1,664.7
23.8
Swimming
1026.3
14.7
Aerobics/fitness
933.1
13.3
Tennis
512.4
7.3
Netball
319.5
4.6
Golf
265.6
3.8
Cycling
232.6
3.3
Running
229.1
3.3
Tenpin bowling
164.8
2.4
Martial Arts
150.4
2.1

(a) Persons aged 18 years and over.

Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 1999-2000 (4177.0).


The most popular sports or physical activities varied with age. In the 18-24 year age group, swimming had the most participants (350,900), followed by aerobics/fitness (345,300) and walking (231,600). For people aged 45 years and over, walking (1,170,200) had the most participants, followed by golf (575,700) and swimming (485,300).


State and Territory differences

Differences in levels of participation in sport and physical activities in different parts of the country are in part affected by the age profiles of those populations, but other factors such as climate and life-style preferences of individuals may also be important. These differences can be observed between the States and Territories. In 1999-2000 residents of the Australian Capital Territory (aged 18 and over) recorded the highest participation rate (65.3%). South Australia, on the other hand, recorded the lowest participation rate (50.1%) (table 12.35).


12.35 PARTICIPATION IN SPORT, By State/ Territory(a) - 1999-2000

State/Territory
Males

%
Females

%
Persons

%

New South Wales
57.2
48.3
52.7
Victoria
59.8
49.8
54.7
Queensland
57.6
51.5
54.5
South Australia
54.4
45.9
50.1
Western Australia
64.3
64.6
64.5
Tasmania
53.3
49.5
51.3
Northern Territory(b)
56.5
54.7
55.7
Australian Capital Territory
68.9
61.9
65.3
Australia
58.5
50.9
54.7

(a) Persons aged 18 years and over.
(b) Figures for the Northern Territory refer to mainly urban areas only.

Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 1999-2000 (4177.0).


Masters' sports

Older people who have enjoyed competitive sport at younger ages are often keen to maintain or renew their active involvement by competing with their peers. The Australian Masters' Games is a multi-sports festival for mature-aged people conducted biennially in various locations throughout Australia. Ownership of the Games is held in trust by Sport Industry Australia.

The most recent (8th) Australian Masters' Games were held in Newcastle and The Hunter from 5 to 14 October 2001; they attracted competitors in 62 sports.


Attendance at sporting events

Australians enjoy watching sporting events. According to a survey conducted by the ABS in November 1997, sporting programmes were the most commonly watched on television after news and current affairs programmes, and were viewed regularly by over half of all Australians aged 18 and over (55%).

As well as watching sporting events on television, attending sports events (such as club matches and international competitions) is a popular pastime. During the 12 months ended April 1999, about 7 million people, or 47% of all people aged 15 years and over, attended a sporting event (excluding junior and school sport). Men (55%) were more likely to have attended than women (40%). For both men and women, attendance rates were highest for the 15 to 24 year age group (69% and 58% respectively) and steadily declined with age. Among men aged 65 years and over, the attendance rate was 28%, while for women in this age group it was 17%.

The most popular spectator sport was Australian Rules football, 2.5 million people having attended this sport on at least one occasion during the year (table 12.36). Horse racing (1.8 million), motor sports (1.6 million) and Rugby League (1.5 million) were also among the most popular spectator sports.

12.36 ATTENDANCE(a) AT SELECTED SPORTING EVENTS - 1999

Sporting event
Persons


’000
Attendance
rate(b)

%

Australian Rules football
2,509.2
16.8
Horse racing
1,756.4
11.8
Motor sports
1,574.3
10.6
Rugby League
1,501.1
10.1
Cricket
942.5
6.3
Soccer
621.2
4.2
Harness racing
534.8
3.6
Basketball
526.0
3.5
Rugby Union
446.2
3.0
Tennis
444.0
3.0
Dog racing
276.4
1.9
Netball
248.7
1.7

(a) By persons aged 15 years and over.
(b) Proportion of the civilian population aged 15 years and over.

Source: Sports Attendance, Australia, 1999 (4174.0).


Children's participation in sports and leisure activities

Children's participation in organised sport

A survey of children's activities in the 12 months to April 2000 found that 1.6 million children (50%) participated outside of school hours in sport that had been organised by a school, club or association.

For boys and girls, participation peaked at the age of 11 years. However across all ages boys were more likely to participate than girls (the total participation rate was 66% for boys and 52% for girls) (table 12.37). There was also a higher percentage of boys participating in more than one sport (32% of boys compared with 20% of girls).

Of those who played organised sport outside of school hours, boys played more often: 52% of the boys played an average of once a week or more over the year ending April 2000, compared with 45% of girls. Older children played organised sport more frequently, with 57% of those 12 to 14 year olds who had participated doing so an average of once a week or more over the year compared with 36% of their 5 to 8 year old counterparts.

12.37 CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT(a) - April 2000

No.
Participation rate
Age
(years)
Males
'000
Females
'000
Persons
'000
Males
%
Females
%
Persons
%

5
46.0
37.9
83.8
35.1
29.5
32.3
6
79.5
42.8
122.2
58.9
36.2
48.3
7
90.1
62.2
152.3
65.8
48.6
57.5
8
101.5
78.9
180.4
72.2
57.2
64.8
9
99.4
80.1
179.5
72.0
59.6
65.9
10
106.8
77.2
184.0
74.1
59.2
67.0
11
108.7
77.3
186.0
76.3
60.7
69.0
12
88.9
82.1
171.0
71.8
60.6
66.0
13
90.9
72.1
163.1
69.1
56.6
63.0
14
83.5
62.5
145.9
63.8
51.8
58.0
Total
895.2
673.0
1,568.2
66.1
52.3
59.4

(a) Outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2000.

Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, 2000 (4901.0).


Of children in all the States and Territories, those in the Northern Territory had the highest participation rate (66%) in organised sport outside of school hours, while those in Queensland had the lowest participation rate (56%). Children living in the six State capital cities had a lower participation rate in organised sport outside of school hours than those living elsewhere in Australia (57% compared with 62%).


Children's sports with the most participants

The sports that attracted most boys were outdoor soccer (with a participation rate for boys of 20%), swimming (13%), Australian Rules football (13%) and outdoor cricket (10%). For girls, the most popular sports were netball (18%), swimming (16%), tennis (8%) and basketball (6%) (table 12.38).

12.38 PARTICIPATION IN THE MOST POPULAR SPORTS(a) - April 2000

No.
Participation rate
Sports
Males
'000
Females
'000
Persons
'000
Males
%
Females
%
Persons
%

Swimming
177.0
203.1
380.1
13.1
15.8
14.4
Soccer (outdoor)
265.0
37.3
302.3
19.6
2.9
11.4
Netball
*6.4
234.9
241.4
*0.5
18.2
9.1
Tennis
124.8
99.1
223.8
9.2
7.7
8.5
Basketball
119.6
80.7
200.3
8.8
6.3
7.6
Australian Rules football
170.3
*4.1
174.4
12.6
*0.3
6.6
Cricket (outdoor)
133.6
7.3
140.9
9.9
0.6
5.3
Martial arts
72.7
31.9
104.6
5.4
2.5
4.0
Athletics and track and field
52.2
51.9
104.1
3.9
4.0
3.9
Rugby League
92.5
*2.5
95.1
6.8
*0.2
3.6

(a) Children aged 5 to 14 years who participated in organised sport outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2000.

Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, 2000 (4901.0).


About an equal percentage of girls and boys participated in athletics (including track and field) and hockey (50% of those involved in athletics and 51% of hockey players were girls). However, for some sports, there is a clear difference between the sexes in preferences or opportunities. Most (97%) netball players were girls while boys made up 98% of Australian Rules footballers, 97% of Rugby League players and 95% of outdoor cricket players.

In the two school weeks prior to interview in April 2000, skateboarding and rollerblading were undertaken outside of school hours by 31% of children aged 5 to 14 years. During the same period 64% of children rode a bike outside of school hours. These activities were significantly more popular among boys than girls (36% of boys and 26% of girls skateboarded or rollerbladed, 71% of boys and 56% of girls rode a bike). Of the less active leisure activities considered, 97% of both boys and girls watched TV or videos, and 80% of boys and 59% of girls played electronic or computer games in the two-week period.

Information about children's involvement in organised cultural activities, such as dancing and singing, and in art and craft activities during their leisure time, is included in the section Children's participation in cultural and leisure activities.


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