Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/07/2005   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Family and community >> Social and sporting activities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Social and Sporting Activities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

COMMUNITY FUNCTIONING

In 2002, 90% of Indigenous peoples aged 15 years and over had been involved in at least one social or sporting activity in the previous 3 months.

Social activities, including involvement in sport and exercise, can be more than just a source of enjoyment. For many Australians, these activities provide an opportunity for groups to come together, and for individuals to interact on a social level. Researchers suggest that taking part in social activities may also encourage healthy family environments, build stronger communities, and enhance cultural identity. (endnote 1, 2) According to the 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 90% of Indigenous peoples aged 15 years and over had been involved in at least one social or sporting activity in the 3 months prior to interview.

Social and sporting activities

This article mainly uses data from the 2002 ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey (NATSISS), which collected data about Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over.

NATSISS data about social and sporting activities refer to activities undertaken in the 3 months prior to interview. Detailed data on type of participation in sport and physical activities, and on participation in cultural activities, refer to activities undertaken in the 12 months prior to interview.

See also National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2002 (ABS cat. no. 4714.0).

PARTICIPATION IN AT LEAST ONE SOCIAL OR SPORTING ACTIVITY(a) - 2002

Proportion who had
participated in at least
one social or sporting activity
Total
Indigenous population
%
‘000

Age
15-24 years
94.1
82.7
25-34 years
91.6
71.1
35-44 years
89.8
57.8
45-54 years
86.2
38.4
55 years and over
80.8
32.2
Sex
Males
90.6
135.2
Females
89.5
147.0
Persons
90.0
282.2

(a) Participation by Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over in the 3 months prior to interview.

Source: ABS 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.


OVERALL PARTICIPATION


Participation in social and sporting activities was consistently high for Indigenous peoples across all age groups, with overall participation decreasing only gradually with age. For example, Indigenous peoples aged 55 years and over were only slightly less likely to have been involved in an activity in the previous 3 months (81%) than those aged 45-54 years (86%). While young Indigenous adults aged 15-24 years reported they had taken part, on average, in four different types of activities in the last 3 months, those aged 55 years and over had taken part in three on average. There was also little variation in the overall participation rates of Indigenous men and women (91% and 89% respectively).

Although Indigenous peoples who assessed their health as Very Good or Excellent were somewhat more likely to have been involved in a social or sporting activity than those who assessed their health as Poor (94% and 82% respectively), participation rates were high for both groups. Similarly, 86% of Indigenous peoples with a disability or long-term health condition had been involved in at least one activity in the past three months - not much less than those who did not have a disability or long-term health condition (92%).


Opportunities for involvement in social and sporting activities can often be connected with a person's workplace. Again, while participation was high for all Indigenous peoples, those who were employed, including those working for the Community Development Employment Projects scheme (CDEP), (endnote 3) had participated in social and sporting activities at a slightly higher rate than those who were unemployed (95% compared with 86%). In keeping with this, 95% of those whose primary source of income was wages or salary or CDEP had participated in at least one activity, compared with 85% of those whose primary source of income was a government pension or allowance.


...major cities and regional areas

In 2001, most Indigenous peoples lived in non-remote areas of Australia (i.e. in Major Cities, Inner Regional areas or Outer Regional areas). Three quarters of the Indigenous population (74%) lived in these areas, while the rest (26%) lived in remote areas (i.e. Remote Australia and Very Remote Australia). In comparison, only 2% of non-Indigenous peoples lived in remote areas.

In non-remote areas, the most commonly reported activity was going to a cafe, restaurant or bar (64% of Indigenous Australians living in non-remote areas had done this in the previous three months). The next most common activities were: visiting a park, zoo, botanical gardens or theme park (46%), going to a movie, theatre or concert (45%), attending a sporting event as a spectator (also 45%), and involvement in sport or physical activities (36%). Community or special interest group activities and church or religious activities were reported least often (16% and 17% respectively).


A similar proportion of Indigenous men and women living in non-remote areas participated in social activities (90% compared with 89%). There was, however, some difference in the types of activities men and women undertook. Indigenous women living in these areas were more likely than Indigenous men to have visited a library, museum or art gallery (38% compared with 25%), and more likely to report involvement in church or religious activities (20% compared with 14%). On the other hand, more Indigenous men had been actively involved in a sport or physical activity (43%) than Indigenous women (29%). Men were also more likely to have attended a sporting event as a spectator (48% compared with 41% of women living in non-remote areas).


There were also some age-related differences in participation. Young Indigenous peoples (aged 15-24 years) living in non-remote areas were three times more likely than those aged 55 years and over to have gone to the movies, the theatre or a concert (61% compared with 21%). Participation in a sport or physical activity was most common among those aged 15-24 years (51%), gradually decreasing with age, to just 15% of older Indigenous peoples.


Remoteness

The ABS Remoteness classification splits Australia into six areas according to their relative remoteness (based on the road distance to the nearest ABS defined urban centre). The six Remoteness Areas are: Major Cities of Australia; Inner Regional Australia; Outer Regional Australia; Remote Australia; Very Remote Australia; and Migratory. (See Statistical Geography Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2001, ABS cat. no. 1216.0).

In this article, remote areas refers to Remote Australia and Very Remote Australia and non-remote areas refers to Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia and Outer Regional Australia.


...remote areas

Sport played a prominent role in the social lives of Indigenous peoples living in remote areas. Attending a sporting event was the most common social or sporting activity (57% had attended in the previous 3 months). People in these areas were least likely to have been to a cafe, restaurant or bar (39%).

Participation in social and sporting activities in non-remote areas(a)(b) - 2002

Graph: Participation in social and sporting activities in non-remote areas(a)(b) - 2002

Participation in selected social and sporting activities in remote areas(a)(b)(c) - 2002
Graph: Participation in selected social and sporting activities in remote areas(a)(b)(c) - 2002



As with those living in non-remote areas, Indigenous men and women living in remote areas had similar levels of participation in social and sporting activities (92% and 91% respectively). Indigenous men were more likely to have participated in a sport or physical activity than Indigenous women (52% compared with 36%); but Indigenous women were more involved in church or religious activities (47% compared with 34%).

Around two-thirds of young Indigenous peoples living in remote areas had attended a sporting event (67% of 15-24 year olds), and a similar proportion had participated in sport (66%). Young Indigenous peoples were least likely to have participated in church or religious activities (38%), or to have been to a cafe, restaurant or bar (also 38%). Older Indigenous peoples (aged 55 years and over) were most likely to have participated in church or religious activities (48%), and least likely to have participated in sport or physical activities (19%).


Remote communities

Many Indigenous peoples living in Remote and Very Remote Australia live in discrete communities, referred to in this article as remote communities. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey collected data in remote communities in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.

The ABS defines a discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as a geographic location, bounded by physical or legal boundaries, and inhabited predominantly by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples, with housing and infrastructure managed on a community basis.


See also
Australian Social Trends, 2003, Services in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

...remote communities

Indigenous peoples living in remote communities in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory were asked about their involvement in a range of additional activities, such as fishing and hunting, camping and attending meetings.

Fishing and hunting in a group was a very common activity, reported by over three quarters (82%) of Indigenous peoples living in remote communities. Of the total social and sporting activities asked about, fishing and hunting was by far the most commonly reported activity in these communities. This was true for most age groups. Participation rates for this activity were high for both Indigenous men and Indigenous women in these communities (84% and 81% respectively).


Participation in the other additional activities was also relatively high: 66% had been camping or picnicking in a group and 45% had attended an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Native Title or other meeting.


PARTICIPATION IN SELECTED SOCIAL ACTIVITIES IN REMOTE COMMUNITIES(a)(b)(c) - 2002

Age (%)
Sex (%)
15-24 years
25-34 years
35-44 years
45-54 years
55 years
and over
Males
Females
Persons

Fishing or hunting in a group
84.3
84.0
84.4
85.5
66.7
84.0
80.8
82.4
Camping or picnicking in a group
65.5
63.1
66.7
71.2
63.7
65.2
66.0
65.6
Attending an ATSIC, Native Title or other meeting
27.7
44.9
59.1
54.9
51.4
47.5
41.9
44.6

(a) Participation by Indigenous persons aged 15 years and over in the 3 months prior to interview.
(b) Remote communities in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory.
(c) Components do not add to 100% as a person may have participated in more than one activity.

Source: ABS 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey.

Participation in selected cultural activities(a) - 2002
Graph: Participation in selected cultural activities(a) - 2002



SELECTED CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Cultural events such as ceremonies, festivals or carnivals (e.g. involving sports, arts, music or dance) can be integral to building and maintaining social and family networks and community identity. The 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey collected data about participation in selected cultural activities, and involvement with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisations, in the 12 months prior to interview.

Overall, Indigenous women had participated in the selected cultural activities at a somewhat higher rate than Indigenous men (61% and 54% respectively). This mainly reflected women's higher rate of participation in festivals or carnivals involving arts, craft, music or dance (40% compared with 31% of men). Men's and women's rates were similar for participation in ceremonies, sports carnivals and involvement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.



PARTICIPATION IN SPORT

Although attending a sporting event as a spectator involves interaction between community members, active participation in sporting roles can contribute more directly to community wellbeing.(endnote 4) Playing a sport or being physically active also brings a range of health benefits to individuals, including protection against some cancers, a reduction in the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and improvements in mental health. (endnote 5)

Overall, Indigenous peoples living in remote areas had a slightly higher rate of participation in sport over a 12 month period than those in non-remote areas (52% compared with 48%), and men were more likely to have participated than women (57% and 42% respectively).


The most common type of participation in sport was as a player (49% of Indigenous peoples in remote areas, and 45% in non-remote areas). However, many Indigenous peoples took on a role other than that of a player. This was more often the case in remote areas where around 12% of Indigenous peoples had been involved in an administrative capacity, 10% had coached or taught sports, and 9% had been a referee, umpire or other official. By comparison, in non-remote areas, 8% had coached or instructed, 5% had been a referee or umpire, and 3% had been administrators.


Relatively more young Indigenous peoples participated in sport in remote areas than in non-remote areas. Nearly three quarters (73%) of 15-24 year olds living in remote areas had participated in sport compared with around two thirds (65%) of those living in non-remote areas.

Type of participation in sport by remoteness(a) - 2002
Graph: Type of participation in sport by remoteness(a) - 2002

ABS General Social Survey

Data allowing some broad comparisons between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are drawn from two separate sources. The ABS 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey (NATSISS) collected data about a range of issues from Indigenous people aged 15 years and over. The ABS 2002 General Social Survey (GSS) collected very similar data, particularly in relation to participation in social and sporting activities, for non-Indigenous adults aged 18 years and over.

In this article, comparisons are only made between Indigenous and non-Indigenous adults aged 18 years and over living in non-remote areas (i.e. Major Cities of Australia, Inner Regional Australia, or Outer Regional Australia). Comparisons are based on participation in social and sporting activities in the three months prior to interview.


INDIGENOUS AND NON-INDIGENOUS PARTICIPATION IN NON-REMOTE AREAS

The ABS 2002 General Social Survey (GSS) collected data from all Australians aged 18 years and over about participation in selected social and sporting activities. The data collected from non-Indigenous people in this survey, who were living in non-remote areas, can be broadly compared with data collected in the ABS 2002 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, about Indigenous peoples living in non-remote areas.

Both Indigenous and non-Indigenous adults living in non-remote areas had high levels of participation in the selected activities (89% and 92% respectively). However, there were differences in participation for some activities. For instance, Indigenous adults were much less likely than non-Indigenous adults to have been to a cafe, restaurant or bar (65% compared with 80%); and were also less likely to have gone to a movie, theatre or concert (42% and 60% respectively), or to have visited a library, museum or art gallery (31% compared with 41%).


Indigenous adults and non-Indigenous adults had similar participation patterns for other activities. For example, 55% of Indigenous adults living in non-remote areas had taken part in, or watched a sporting event as a spectator, compared with 57% of non-Indigenous adults in these areas; and 20% of Indigenous adults reported they had participated in recreational or cultural group activities compared with 17% of non-Indigenous adults. There was no difference in the level of participation in community and special interest group activities (both 16%).

Participation in selected social and sporting activities, adults aged 18 years and over(a) - 2002
Graph: Participation in selected social and sporting activities, adults aged 18 years and over(a) - 2002



There were also some differences between Indigenous adults and non-Indigenous adults living in non-remote areas based on their age. For instance, young Indigenous adults aged 18-24 years were far less likely to have gone to a cafe, restaurant or bar, than young non-Indigenous adults (69% compared with 89%). And just over half (56%) of young Indigenous adults living in non-remote areas had been to a movie, theatre or concert in the previous three months, compared with 82% of young non-Indigenous adults living in these areas.


ENDNOTES

1 Beneforti, M and Cunningham, J, 2002 Investigating indicators for measuring the health and social impact of sport and recreation programs in Indigenous communities, Australian Sports Commission and Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health, Darwin.

2 Sporting Opportunities for Indigenous People Program,<http://www.dcita.gov.au/indig/sporting_opportunities/more_about_sporting_opportunities>, accessed 24 September 2004.

3 For more information see the CDEP website <http://www.cdep.com.au>.

4 Townsend, M, Moore, J, and Mahoney, M 2002 'Playing their part: the role of physical activity and sport in sustaining the health and wellbeing of small rural communities', Rural and Remote Health, vol. 2, article no. 109, <http://www.regional.org.au/au/rrh/2002/020812_109.htm>, accessed 1 November 2004.

5 Armstrong, T, Bauman, A, and Davies, J 2000, Physical Activity Patterns of Australian Adults: results of the 1999 National Physical Activity Survey, AIHW, Canberra.

Previous PageNext Page

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.