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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Culture and Recreation >> Involvement and participation in sports and physical activities

Involvement in organised sports and physical activities

In the 12 months to April 2001, an estimated 4.1 million persons (27.1% of all people aged 15 years and over) were involved in sport and physical activity that was organised by a club, association or other organisation. This involvement includes players or participants and those involved in non-playing roles that support, arrange and/or run organised sport and physical activity. A total of 3.5 million persons (23.5%) were players or participants in at least one organised sport or physical activity, and over 1.4 million persons (9.5%) were involved as coaches, referees, administrators, scorers or in other non-playing roles.

Of the 4.1 million persons involved in organised sport and physical activity, 0.9 million (21.6% of those involved) were both a player and involved in at least one non-playing role. Of the 1.4 million persons with non-playing involvement, 33.8% participated in more than one non-playing role. In all, these 1.4 million persons had 2.1 million involvements in non-playing roles in the 12 months prior to interview (table 12.24).


12.24 INVOLVEMENT IN ORGANISED SPORTS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES(a) - 2001

Some paid involvement(b)
Unpaid involvement only
Total involvements
Participation rate(c)
Type of involvement
’000
'000
’000
%

Playing
88.1
3,428.3
3,516.4
23.5
Non-playing roles
Coach, instructor or teacher
105.8
452.6
558.4
3.7
Referee or umpire
69.5
270.5
340.0
2.3
Committee member or administrator
24.3
570.7
595.0
4.0
Scorer or timekeeper
*14.6
439.1
453.7
3.0
Medical support
*11.9
78.2
90.1
0.6
Other involvement
*7.3
79.8
87.1
0.6
Total
233.5
1,890.9
2,124.3
. .
Total
321.6
5,319.2
5,640.8
. .

(a) Relates to persons aged 15 years and over who were involved in sport or physical activity organised by a club, association or other organisation in the 12 months prior to interview in April 2001.
(b) Includes those who were paid for all or some of their involvement. Payment includes payment in dollars and/or goods and services.
(c) Refers to the number of persons involved in organised sport and physical activity, expressed as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over.

Source: Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, April 2001 (6285.0).


Participation in sports and physical activities

Table 12.25 shows the results of an ABS survey on the sports and physical activities (both organised and non-organised) 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 a player or participant (rather than in a support role) in one or more sports or physical activities.

Participation rates were highest for the 18-24 year age group (73.5%), and declined steadily with age. The rate for persons aged 65 years and over was 33.8%.

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.


12.25 PARTICIPATION IN SPORTS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES(a) - 1999-2000

Males
Females
Persons



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

18-24
745.8
79.7
605.4
67.0
1,351.2
73.5
25-34
960.2
68.9
910.5
64.2
1,870.7
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
7,541.7
54.7

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

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


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 12.26).


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

Number
Participation rate
’000
%

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
1,026.3
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, as well as the existence of facilities, including cycle and walking paths. These differences can be observed between the states and territories. In 1999-2000 adults in the Australian Capital Territory recorded the highest participation rate (65.3% of persons aged 18 and over). South Australia, on the other hand, recorded the lowest participation rate (50.1%) (table 12.27).


12.27 PARTICIPATION IN SPORT(a) - 1999-2000

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 NT refer to mainly urban areas only.

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


Masters sport

Many people who were involved in sport when young are keen to continue or renew their active involvement by competing with and against their age peers rather than retiring from sport once they reach a certain age or feel that they are less competitive in open competition than they used to be.

A large number of sports offer Masters (or Veterans) sport where the competitions are arranged in age groups to allow participants to compete and enjoy their sport against people of similar age. A number of multi-sport festivals for the mature-aged competitors, known as Masters Games, are conducted in various locations.

The flagship event of Masters Sport is the Australian Masters Games. The 8th Australian Masters Games, the most recent, were held in Newcastle in 2001 and attracted 11,225 participants. The next Games, the 9th Australian Masters Games, will be conducted in Canberra in October and November 2003.

Attendance at sporting events

Attending sports events (such as club matches and international competitions) is a popular pastime of many Australians. During the 12 months prior to interview in 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). The attendance rate was virtually unchanged from the rate recorded in a similar survey in 1995. Men (55%) were more likely to have attended than women (40%). For both men and women, attendance rates were highest for the 15-24 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%.

During the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999, the most popular spectator sport was Australian Rules football - 2.5 million people attended this sport on at least one occasion during the year (table 12.28). Horse racing (1.8 million), motor sports (1.6 million) and Rugby League (1.5 million) were also among the most popular spectator sports.


12.28 ATTENDANCE(a) AT SELECTED SPORTING EVENTS - 1999

Persons
Attendance
rate(b)
’000
%

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) Attendance at a sporting event, match or competition as a spectator by persons aged 15 years and over in the 12 months prior to interview in April 1999.
(b) The number of people who attended, expressed as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over.

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


The total attendance rate in 1999 was 43.1%, virtually unchanged from the attendance rate in 1995 (43.2%). However, there had been a significant increase in attendance at Australian Rules football (from 13.3%, or 1.9 million people in 1995).

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