Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005
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A survey of children's activities in the 12 months to April 2003 found 1.6 million children aged 5-14 years (62%) participated outside of school hours in sport that had been organised by a school, club or association.
Of children in all the states and territories, those in Western Australia had the highest participation rate (66%) in organised sport outside of school hours, while those in Queensland had the lowest participation rate (54%).
Children's sports with the most participants
The most popular organised sport for children was swimming with a participation rate of 17%, followed by outdoor soccer (13%). The organised sports that attracted most boys were outdoor soccer (with a participation rate for boys of 22%), swimming (16%), and Australian rules football (14%). For girls, the sports with the highest participation rates were netball (18%), swimming (17%), and tennis (8%) (table 12.33). Dancing was an organised cultural (and physical) activity with a higher participation rate for girls (24%) than any organised sport (table 12.22).
About an equal percentage of girls and boys participated in athletics, hockey and swimming. However, there is a clear difference between the sexes in preference or opportunities for some sports. Most netball players and gymnasts were girls (97% and 76%), while boys made up 99% of rugby league players, 95% of Australian rules footballers, and 93% of outdoor cricket players.
Changes in participation since 2000
The overall number of children involved in organised sport increased by more than 62,000 between 2000 and 2003, increasing the participation rate by two percentage points to 62%. This was mainly caused by an increased participation rate among boys (from 66% in 2000 to 69% in 2003).
The organised sport with the highest participation rate in both 2000 and 2003 was swimming, which attracted an additional 59,000 participants during this period. Of the 12 sports with the highest participation rates, the one showing the largest decrease in participation was rugby league, with 18,000 fewer children involved in 2003 than in 2000 (table 12.34).
For information about children's involvement in cultural and leisure activities, see Children's participation in organised cultural activities and Children's participation in selected leisure activities.
This page last updated 20 April 2007
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