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4156.0.55.001 - Perspectives on Sport, Nov 2013  
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STATS & FACTS: SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION - DIFFERENTIALS IN PARTICIPATION


INTRODUCTION

The shift away from organised sport and physical recreation has been identified as one of the trends likely to shape the Australian sports sector over the next 30 years (Endnote 1), as time pressures and lifestyle changes mean Australians are more likely to consider unstructured physical activities which provide more flexible options for participation (Endnote 2).

This fact sheet presents data from the 2011-12 Survey of Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation (cat. no. 4177.0) and investigates differences in sport and physical recreation participation, in broad terms and specifically for organised and non-organised sport, across a range of demographic and socio-economic groups.

Organised sport and physical recreation refers to activities organised by a club or recreation association such as a sporting body, a social club, church group, old scholars association or gymnasium. Non-organised sport and physical recreation refers to activities not organised by a club or recreation association. The categories of organised and non-organised participation are not mutually exclusive as persons may participate in both types of activities.

Participants are defined as people who participated in sport and physical recreation as players, competitors and in other physically active roles. Persons involved solely as a coach, teacher, instructor, referee, umpire, administrator or club committee member are excluded from the data.


How many people participate in organised and non-organised sport and physical recreation in Australia?
  • In the 12 months prior to interview, almost two thirds (65%) of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in sport and physical recreation at least once.
  • Over half (53%) of these (9.5 million Australians) participated in non-organised sport and physical recreation, and just over one quarter (27%, or 4.9 million Australians) participated in organised activities.

PERSONS AGED 15 YEARS AND OVER, By type of participation

PERSONS AGED 15 YEARS AND OVER, By type of participation
Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12 (cat. no. 4177.0)


How have the number of people participating in organised and non-organised sport changed over time in Australia?
  • The total participation rate for sport and physical recreation has remained similar over time, although there was a decrease in organised participation from 28% in 2005-06 to 26% in 2009-10.
  • Participation in non-organised sport and physical recreation has remained steady over the time period in question, so the anticipated shift away from organised activities noted earlier is not yet observable.

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, 2005-06 to 2011-12

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




Does participation in sport and physical recreation vary between age groups?
  • There were variations in sport participation rates across age groups. Generally, participation in sport and physical recreation decreased with age, with the highest participation rate in sport and physical recreation being reported by people aged 15-17 years (78%).
  • Persons aged 15-17 years had the highest participation rate for organised sport and physical recreation (58%). This was also the only age group where the proportion of people participating was higher for organised activities compared with non-organised activities.
  • In the older age groups, participation rates for non-organised sport and physical recreation ranged from 40% for those aged 65 years and over, to 58% of those aged 35-44 years.
  • The differential between organised and non-organised participation progressively increases from the 18-24 age group (36% organised and 54% non-organised, a difference of 18 percentage points) to the 55-64 age group (19% organised and 56% non-organised, a difference of 37 percentage points).

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, By type of participation and age group

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




Are employed people more likely to participate in sport and physical recreation?
  • Employed people are more likely to participate in sport and physical recreation. Overall, participation rates were highest for people who were employed (70%) compared with those who were unemployed (64%) and those not in the labour force (55%). The lower participation rate for people not in the labour force may in part be due to age rather than employment status, with a substantial proportion (44%) of those not in the labour force being aged 65 years and over. Half (50%) of those in this age group participated in sport and physical recreation, compared with 65% of the total population aged 15 years and over.
  • People who were employed had higher participation rates in organised sport and physical recreation (30%) than people who were unemployed and those not in the labour force (both 22%). Though the participation rate for non-organised activities was also higher for employed persons (58%) there was not enough evidence to suggest that this rate was significantly different when compared with those who were unemployed (53%).
  • However, non-organised participation was higher for people who were unemployed compared with those not in the labour force (42%).

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, By type of participation and employment status

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




How does participation vary between different types of households?
  • Participation rates for sport and physical recreation were highest for people living in couple households with dependent children (68%) compared with those in one parent households with dependent children (63%) and lone person households (61%).
  • For organised activities, couples with dependent children had the highest participation rate (32%). Compared with all other household types, people living in lone person households had the lowest participation rate for organised activities (22%).
  • People in couple only families had the highest participation rate for non-organised activities with over half (55%) participating. This rate was similar to couple family households (54%). People in one parent family households had the lowest participation rate for non-organised activities (46%).

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, By type of participation and household characteristics

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




Does sports participation vary between socio-economic groups?

The Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD) summarises information about the economic and social conditions of people and households within an area, including both relative advantage and disadvantage measures (Endnote 3). A low score indicates an area of relatively greater disadvantage and a lack of advantage in general. For example, an area could have a low score if there are many households with low incomes and few households with high incomes or many people in unskilled occupations and few people in skilled occupations. A high score indicates an area with a relative lack of disadvantage and greater advantage in general. For example, an area could have a high score if there are many households with high incomes and few with low incomes, or many people in skilled occupations and few people in unskilled occupations.
  • Participation in sport does vary between different socio-economic groups. Over three quarters (78%) of those living in the most advantaged areas participated in sport and physical recreation compared with over half (52%) of those living in the most disadvantaged areas.
  • Participation in organised and non-organised activities was higher for people living in the most advantaged areas compared with those living in the most disadvantaged areas. However, the gap between the two was more noticeable for non-organised activities. Two thirds (66%) of those living in the most advantaged areas participated in non-organised activities compared with 40% of those living in the most disadvantaged areas, while the participation rates for organised sport were 35% and 20% respectively.

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, by IRSAD (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




Do people involved in non-organised activities participate in sport more frequently than those involved in organised activities?
  • More than half (52%) of people who participated in sport and physical recreation did so 105 times or more (i.e. on average at least two times each week) in the 12 months prior to interview.
  • Of those people who participated at least two times a week those involved in non-organised activities (58%) participated more frequently than those involved in organised activities (50%).

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, By type of participation and frequency of participation

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




Are people involved in organised sport and physical recreation more likely to undertake multiple activities?
  • Over half (54%) of people who participated in sport and physical recreation only participated in one activity in the 12 months prior to interview, while over a quarter (27%) participated in two activities.
  • People who participated in organised sport and physical recreation were more likely to be involved in multiple activities. Around 60% of people involved in organised sport undertook two or more activities, compared with 51% of people involved in non-organised sport and physical recreation.

Graph Image for Participation in sport and physical recreation, Number of activities by type of participation

Source(s): Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12




What are the most popular organised and non-organised activities undertaken by people in Australia?
  • Overall, the most popular activity for sport and physical recreation participants was Walking for exercise (24%) followed by Fitness/Gym activities (17%).
  • The most popular non-organised activity was Walking for exercise, with almost one quarter (23%) of adults aged 15 years and over participating in this activity.
  • Fitness/Gym was the most popular organised activity with 6% of adults aged 15 years and over participating.
  • Golf was another activity which appeared on the top ten list for both organised and non-organised activities with a similar participation rate (organised 2% and non-organised 3%).



PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION, Top ten sports and physical recreation activities by type of participation, 2011-12

ORGANISED
RankActivity
Estimate ('000)
Participation Rate (%)

1Fitness/Gym
1 080.0
6.0
2Golf
394.9
2.2
3Outdoor soccer
372.5
2.1
4Netball (indoor and outdoor)
371.0
2.1
5Tennis (indoor and outdoor)
309.9
1.7
6Football sports
245.4
1.4
7Basketball (indoor and outdoor)
232.8
1.3
8Lawn bowls
229.6
1.3
9Martial arts
205.9
1.1
10Outdoor cricket
202.4
1.1

NON-ORGANISED
RankActivity
Estimate ('000)
Participation Rate (%)

1Walking for exercise
4 206.2
23.3
2Fitness/Gym
2 216.9
12.3
3Cycling/BMXing
1 320.3
7.3
4Jogging/Running
1 314.3
7.3
5Swimming/Diving
1 293.0
7.2
6Golf
598.0
3.3
7Tennis (indoor and outdoor)
509.5
2.8
8Bush walking
418.3
2.3
9Fishing
238.8
1.3
10Surf sports
221.0
1.2

TOTAL PARTICIPATION
RankActivity
Estimate ('000)
Participation Rate (%)

1Walking for exercise
4 258.8
23.6
2Fitness/Gym
3 089.3
17.1
3Swimming/Diving
1 401.0
7.8
4Cycling/BMXing
1 366.1
7.6
5Jogging/Running
1 360.7
7.5
6Golf
860.5
4.8
7Tennis (indoor and outdoor)
750.3
4.2
8Outdoor soccer
489.1
2.7
9Netball (indoor and outdoor)
450.2
2.5
10Bush walking
436.5
2.4


Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12



ENDNOTES
  1. Hajkowicz, S.A., Cook, H., Wilhelmseder, L., Boughen, N., 2013. The Future of Australian Sport: Megatrends shaping the sports sector over coming decades. A Consultancy Report for the Australian Sports Commission. CSIRO, Australia, Accessed 18 April 2013, <http://www.ausport.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/523450/The_Future_of_Australian_Sport_-_Full_Report.pdf >
  2. Independent Sport Panel Report (Crawford Report), The Future of Sport in Australia, 2009, Accessed 21 January 2013, < http://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/docs/Crawford_Report.pdf >
  3. ABS, 2013, Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2011, cat. no. 2033.0.55.001, ABS, Canberra.

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