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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
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Culture and recreation

SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION

ADULT PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION

Participating in sport and physical recreation, and attending sporting events as spectators, are important features of the Australian lifestyle. There can be many benefits for participants, including improved health, increased social connections and a better overall sense of wellbeing.

The 2009–10 ABS Survey of Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation was conducted during the 12-month period between July 2009 and June 2010, and collected information about the participation of people aged 15 years and over. The survey included sports, such as football or netball, which are usually organised by a club or association, and other sport and physical recreation activities which may or may not have been organised, such as cycling or walking for exercise.

Participation by age and sex

The 2009–10 survey found that 64% of people aged 15 years and over (or 11.1 million people) had participated in sport and physical recreation as a player at least once during the 12 months prior to interview (table 14.11). The survey found that participation in sport and physical recreation decreased with age. People aged 15–17 years had the highest rate of participation (79%), while people aged 65 years and over had the lowest (48%). The overall rates of participation for males and females were similar (65% and 63% respectively), while the most noticeable difference between male and female participation was seen in the youngest age group, 15–17 years (86% of males compared with 71% of females).


14.11 PARTICIPANTS, SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION, By age and sex—2009–10

Number ('000)
Participation rate (%)


Age group (years)
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons

15–17
395.7
288.3
684.1
86.3
71.1
79.1
18–24
757.2
752.2
1 509.4
69.4
69.7
69.5
25–34
1 077.8
1 046.9
2 124.7
69.9
67.4
68.7
35–44
1 008.5
1 010.8
2 019.3
66.0
64.2
65.1
45–54
954.0
963.0
1 916.9
64.9
63.5
64.2
55–64
721.4
799.1
1 520.5
58.4
63.6
61.0
65 years and over
641.6
693.5
1 335.1
49.6
47.0
48.2
Total participants
5 556.2
5 553.8
11 110.0
64.5
62.7
63.6

Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2009–10 (4177.0).


State or territory of usual residence

In 2009–10, participation in sport and physical recreation was highest in the Australian Capital Territory (77%) and in the Northern Territory (72%). For the states, participation rates ranged from 62% in South Australia to 65% in Western Australia. Differences in participation rates for males and females were most noticeable in the Northern Territory (68% compared with 75%) and in New South Wales (64% compared with 61%) (graph 14.12).
Graph 14.12 Participants, Sport and physical recreation, States and territories - 2009–10



Most popular activities

The most popular sport and physical recreation activity in 2009–10 was walking for exercise, with 23% of people aged 15 years and over participating at least once in the 12 months prior to interview. The next most popular activity was aerobics, fitness or going to the gym, which had a participation rate of 14%, followed by swimming or diving, which had a participation rate of 7%.

Nearly twice as many females participated in walking for exercise (30%) compared with males (16%). Females also had a higher participation rate in aerobics, fitness or going to the gym (17% compared with 11%). Table 14.13 shows the top ten sports and physical recreation activities for both males and females in 2009–10.


14.13 PARTICIPANTS, SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION, Top 10 activities, By sex—2009–10
Number
Participation rate
'000
%

MALES
Walking for exercise
1 347.6
15.6
Aerobics/fitness/gym
967.1
11.2
Cycling/BMXing
710.8
8.2
Jogging/running
643.9
7.5
Golf
643.2
7.5
Swimming/diving
553.1
6.4
Tennis
382.9
4.4
Soccer (outdoor)
319.6
3.7
Cricket (outdoor)
237.8
2.8
Australian rules football
227.6
2.6

FEMALES
Walking for exercise
2 657.3
30.0
Aerobics/fitness/gym
1 481.8
16.7
Swimming/diving
739.9
8.4
Jogging/running
492.0
5.6
Cycling/BMXing
430.7
4.9
Netball
411.3
4.6
Tennis
319.5
3.6
Yoga
273.0
3.1
Dancing
218.6
2.5
Bush walking
207.6
2.3



Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2009–10 (4177.0).


Facilities used

The most popular type of facilities used for sport and physical recreation activities in 2009–10 were outdoor facilities such as parks, beaches and walking trails (58%). The next most popular facilities were structured facilities such as gyms, public pools or courts (52%) (table 14.14). People's own homes or other people's homes were the least likely places that people participated in sport or physical recreation activities, with only 19% of people reporting that they had used these facilities.

People aged 15–17 years were the most likely to use structured facilities such as sports grounds or ovals (62%), while younger people aged between 15 and 34 years were the most likely to use structured facilities such as gyms, public pools or courts (around 60%). Outdoor facilities such as parks, beaches and walking trails were most popular with people in the middle to older age groups, from 62% of people aged 35–44 years to 66% of people aged 55–64 years.

The percentages of people in each age group using structured facilities, such as sports grounds and ovals, generally showed a pattern of decline with age, from 62% of participants aged 15–17 years to only 14% of participants aged 65 years and over. The use of other outdoor facilities such as parks, beaches and walking trails increased with age, from 35% of participants aged 15–17 years to 57% of participants aged 65 years and over, with a peak of 66% of those aged 55–64. This pattern corresponds with the relative popularity of different sports and physical recreation activities for different age groups – younger people have higher participation rates in active sports such as Australian rules football, while older people are more likely to participate in walking.


14.14 PARTICIPANTS, SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION, Facilities used(a), By age—2009–10

Age group (years)
Own home or someone else's
Structured facility, such as gym, public pool or court
Structured facility such as sports ground, oval
Other outdoor facility such as park, beach, walking trail
Other facilities
Total participants(b)

NUMBER ('000)
15–17
144.2
402.0
421.3
238.6
77.5
684.1
18–24
278.0
935.4
624.1
719.4
127.3
1 509.4
25–34
377.0
1 299.8
760.3
1 180.4
171.6
2 124.7
35–44
401.0
1 102.1
612.3
1 258.1
188.9
2 019.3
45–54
405.2
898.7
391.5
1 241.5
203.4
1 916.9
55–64
247.8
626.4
183.3
1 002.8
182.7
1 520.5
65 years and over
240.0
530.4
180.4
762.1
169.6
1 335.1
Total participants
2 093.1
5 794.9
3 173.3
6 402.9
1 121.0
11 110.0

%
15–17
21.1
58.8
61.6
34.9
11.3
100.0
18–24
18.4
62.0
41.3
47.7
8.4
100.0
25–34
17.7
61.2
35.8
55.6
8.1
100.0
35–44
19.9
54.6
30.3
62.3
9.4
100.0
45–54
21.1
46.9
20.4
64.8
10.6
100.0
55–64
16.3
41.2
12.1
66.0
12.0
100.0
65 years and over
18.0
39.7
13.5
57.1
12.7
100.0
Total participants
18.8
52.2
28.6
57.6
10.1
100.0

(a) 'Facilities used' applies to all activities that were participated in. Participants may have used more than one type of facility for each activity participated in. Components will not add to totals as some participants may have used more than one facility.
(b) Includes participants who answered "don't know".
Source: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2009–10 (4177.0).


PARTICIPATION IN SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION BY PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY

In the 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, a disability was defined as any limitation, restriction or impairment which lasted, or was likely to last, for at least six months, and restricted everyday activities. Of people aged 18 years and over with a reported disability, 24% had participated in a sport or physical recreation activity in the 12 months prior to interview (table 14.15). Males with a disability had a higher rate of participation in sport or physical recreation (28%) than females with a disability (20%).

People with a profound or severe core activity limitation had low rates of participation in sport or physical recreation (9% and 16% respectively). People with a moderate core activity limitation had a slightly higher rate of participation (20%), while those with a mild core activity limitation had the highest participation rate of those with a disability, with nearly a quarter with this limitation participating (24%).


14.15 ADULT PARTICIPATION IN SPORT OR PHYSICAL RECREATION(a), By disability status and sex—2009
Number ('000)
Participation rate (%)
Disability status
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons

Profound core activity limitation(b)
18.5
15.7
34.1
11.8
6.5
8.6
Severe core activity limitation(b)
43.5
42.2
85.7
18.5
14.0
15.9
Moderate core activity limitation(b)
63.0
64.7
127.7
21.8
18.1
19.8
Mild core activity limitation(b)
160.8
115.6
276.4
28.0
19.9
23.9
Schooling or employment restriction
182.7
143.3
326.1
25.9
19.1
22.4
All with specific limitations or restrictions(c)
348.8
281.5
630.2
24.7
17.4
20.8
Total with reported disability(d)
466.1
366.0
832.1
27.6
20.0
23.7

(a) Relates to persons aged 18 years and over, with a disability, living in households only, who participated in sport or physical recreation away from home during the 12 months prior to interview.
(b) Core activities comprise communication, mobility and self-care.
(c) Total may be less than the sum of the components as persons may have both a core activity limitation and a schooling or employment restriction.
(d) Includes those who do not have a specific limitation or restriction.
Source: Unpublished ABS data, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2009.


CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT

Participation by age and sex

The 2009 ABS Survey of Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities was conducted in April 2009. The survey found that 63% of children aged 5–14 years old (or 1.7 million children) participated in at least one sport, organised by a school, club or association, outside of school hours in the 12 months prior to interview (table 14.16). Boys had a higher participation rate (70%) than girls (56%).

Participation in organised sport peaked at 74% for boys aged 12–14 years and at 65% for girls aged 9–11 years. Participation rates were higher for boys across all age groups compared with girls. The most noticeable difference was between boys and girls aged 12–14 years (74% compared with 55%).


14.16 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN ORGANISED SPORT(a), By age and sex—2009
Number ('000)
Participation rate (%)
Age group (years)
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons

5–8
349.5
264.8
614.2
63.9
51.0
57.6
9–11
302.8
258.1
560.9
72.1
64.6
68.4
12–14
318.6
224.0
542.6
74.2
54.9
64.8
Total participants
970.8
746.9
1 717.8
69.6
56.3
63.1

(a) Children aged 5–14 years who participated in organised sport (excluding dancing) outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2009.
Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 (4901.0).


State or territory of usual residence

Children's participation in organised sport varied by state and territory, ranging from 58% in Tasmania to 71% in the Australian Capital Territory. Boys generally had higher participation rates than girls in organised sport, with noticeable differences in the participation of boys and girls in New South Wales (70% compared with 50%) and in the Northern Territory (68% compared with 48%) (graph 14.17).

Graph 14.17 Children participating in organised sport (a), States and territories - 2009–10



Most popular sports

The most popular organised sports for children in 2009 were swimming, with a participation rate of 19%, outdoor soccer (13%) and Australian rules football (9%) (table 14.18). For boys, the most popular sports were outdoor soccer (20%), swimming (17%) and Australian rules football (16%). In comparison, the most popular sports for girls were swimming (20%), netball (17%) and gymnastics (8%).


14.18 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN TOP 10 MOST POPULAR ORGANISED SPORTS(a), By sex—2009
Number ('000)
Participation rate (%)

MALES
Soccer (outdoor)
277.8
19.9
Swimming
240.1
17.2
Australian rules football
223.7
16.0
Cricket (outdoor)
135.7
9.7
Tennis
131.6
9.4
Basketball
118.7
8.5
Martial arts
105.2
7.5
Rugby league
97.2
7.0
Soccer (indoor)
59.4
4.3
Hockey
25.6
1.8

FEMALES
Swimming
262.8
19.8
Netball
225.0
17.0
Gymnastics
101.2
7.6
Basketball
83.2
6.3
Tennis
83.2
6.3
Soccer (outdoor)
82.7
6.2
Martial arts
49.5
3.7
Athletics, track and field
47.0
3.5
Hockey
31.8
2.4
Soccer (indoor)
17.5
1.3

(a) Children aged 5–14 years who participated in organised sport (excluding dancing) outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2009.
Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 (4901.0).


Although boys had a higher overall participation rate in organised sport, girls had a much higher participation rate in another form of organised physical activity – dancing. During the 12 months prior to interview in April 2009, 26% of girls aged 5–14 years participated in organised dancing outside of school hours (table 14.19). This compared with only 3% of boys who participated in this activity.

Besides organised sport and dancing, the survey also asked about participation in two non-organised physical recreation activities – 'bike riding' and 'skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter'. For both groups of activities, a significantly higher proportion of boys (66% and 56% respectively) participated than girls (54% and 42%).


14.19 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN SELECTED ACTIVITIES(a), By sex—2009
Males
Females
Persons
'000
%
'000
%
'000
%
Dancing
41.9
3.0
348.5
26.3
390.4
14.3
Skateboarding, rollerblading or riding a scooter
780.4
55.9
562.2
42.4
1 342.6
49.3
Bike riding
922.5
66.1
721.1
54.4
1 643.6
60.4

(a) Children aged 5–14 years who were involved in selected other activities outside of school hours in the last two weeks of school prior to interview in April 2009.
Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 (4901.0).


SPECTATOR ATTENDANCE AT SPORTING EVENTS

Attending sporting events, such as club matches and international competitions, is a popular pastime for many Australians. The 2009–10 ABS Survey of Spectator Attendance at Sporting Events was conducted during the period July 2009 to June 2010. The survey found that 43% of people aged 15 years and over (or 7.6 million people) had attended a sporting event in the 12 months prior to interview, excluding attending junior sports and school events.

Attendance by sex and age

Males had a higher rate of attendance at sporting events (50%) than females (37%). People in the 15–17 year old age group had the highest rate of attendance (58%), with rates of attendance generally decreasing as age increased. For all age groups, male attendance was higher than for females (graph 14.20).

Graph 14.20 Spectators at sporting events, By age and sex - 2009–10



Most popular events

The most popular sporting events for spectators were Australian rules football (16% of people aged 15 years and over) followed by horse racing (11%) (table 14.21). More males (19%) than females (13%) attended Australian rules football, while going to the rugby league and motor sports events was also more popular with males (both 11%) than with females (7% and 5% respectively). Males had higher attendance rates than females at outdoor soccer (7% compared with 4%) and outdoor cricket (6% compared with 2%).

While the attendance rates were relatively low, females had slightly higher attendance than males at tennis (1.9% compared with 1.4%) and at netball (1.4% compared with 0.6%).


14.21 SPECTATOR ATTENDANCE AT SELECTED SPORTING EVENTS(a), By sex—2009–10
Number ('000)
Attendance rate (%)
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
'000
'000
'000
%
%
%

Australian rules football
1 660.8
1 171.1
2 831.8
19.3
13.2
16.2
Horse racing
1 015.3
925.0
1 940.3
11.8
10.4
11.1
Rugby league
969.1
594.7
1 563.8
11.2
6.7
8.9
Motor sports
966.2
456.8
1 423.0
11.2
5.2
8.1
Soccer (outdoor)
584.0
354.8
938.8
6.8
4.0
5.4
Cricket (outdoor)
488.2
190.5
678.7
5.7
2.2
3.9
Rugby union
366.1
209.3
575.5
4.2
2.4
3.3
Harness racing
221.8
190.2
412.1
2.6
2.1
2.4
Tennis (indoor and outdoor)
122.4
171.3
293.7
1.4
1.9
1.7
Dog racing
183.5
97.9
281.4
2.1
1.1
1.6
Basketball (indoor and outdoor)
110.5
110.4
220.8
1.3
1.2
1.3
Netball (indoor and outdoor)
53.7
123.0
176.7
0.6
1.4
1.0

(a) The top 12 ranked sports for Australia in terms of total attendances in 2009–10.
Source: Spectator Attendance at Sporting Events, 2009–10 (4174.0).


INVOLVEMENT IN NON-PLAYING ROLES

The ABS conducted the 2010 Survey of Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity in April 2010. The survey measured people’s involvement in organised sport and physical activities as both players and in non-playing roles, such as coaching, umpiring, being a committee member and providing medical support (table 14.22). The survey found that in the 12 months prior to interview, 9% of people aged 15 years and over had participated in organised sport and physical activity in a non-playing role.

Males had a higher rate of participation in non-playing roles (10%) than females (8%). The highest participation rate in a non-playing role was as a coach, instructor or teacher (4%), followed by involvement as a committee member or administrator (3%). Males had a higher participation rate than females in the roles of coach, instructor or teacher (4% and 3% respectively) and in the role of referee or umpire (2% compared with 1%).


14.22 PERSONS INVOLVED IN ORGANISED SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, By role and sex—2010
Total involvement ('000)
Participation rate (%)(b)
Type of role(a)
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons

Playing
2 097.2
1 725.7
3 822.9
24.4
19.7
22.0
Non-playing roles
Coach, instructor or teacher
370.3
273.0
643.3
4.3
3.1
3.7
Referee or umpire
197.8
115.1
313.0
2.3
1.3
1.8
Committee member or administrator
270.0
256.5
526.6
3.1
2.9
3.0
Scorer or timekeeper
216.8
264.3
481.1
2.5
3.0
2.8
Medical support
58.1
60.0
118.2
0.7
0.7
0.7
Other non-playing role
60.4
82.8
143.1
0.7
0.9
0.8
Total non-playing roles(c)
826.4
734.6
1 561.0
9.6
8.4
9.0
Total involved(d)
2 446.4
2 068.8
4 515.2
28.5
23.7
26.0

(a) Persons may be involved in more than one role.
(b) The number of persons involved in organised sport and physical activity, expressed as a percentage of the population in the same group (males or females).
(c) Components may not add to totals as some persons were involved in more than one non-playing role.
(d) Components may not add to totals as some persons were involved in both playing and non-playing roles.
Source: Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity, Australia, April 2010 (6285.0).


People who were involved as a coach, instructor or teacher were far more likely to receive payment (27% of people aged 15 years and over) than people in other roles (graph 14.23). Those in playing roles were least likely to be paid (3%).

Graph 14.23 Persons involved in organised sport and physical activity, By role and payment status - 2010



VOLUNTEERING

The ABS General Social Survey, conducted in 2010, collected information on whether adults (people aged 18 years and over) had volunteered for any organisations during the 12 months prior to interview. The types of organisations that people may have volunteered for included sport and physical recreation organisations as well as community and welfare, education and training, arts and heritage and religious organisations.

The survey found that 14% of people had volunteered for a sport and physical recreation organisation, with a slightly higher percentage of males (15%) than females (12%) (table 14.24). The rate of volunteering in sport and physical recreation organisations tended to peak in the middle age groups, with people aged 35–44 and 45–54 having a similar rate (20%). The volunteer rates in sport and physical recreation organisations were significantly lower for people aged 18–24 (8%) and people aged 65 years and over (6%).


14.24 SPORT AND PHYSICAL RECREATION VOLUNTEERS, By age and sex—2010
Number ('000)
Volunteer rate (%)
Age group (years)
Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons

18–24
96.2
*88.1
184.3
8.6
*8.2
8.4
25–34
168.1
162.1
330.2
10.7
10.3
10.5
35–44
301.3
312.9
614.2
19.5
19.8
19.7
45–54
323.0
285.2
608.2
21.8
18.7
20.2
55–64
242.5
110.8
353.4
19.5
8.7
14.1
65 and over
114.0
63.5
177.6
8.6
4.3
6.3
Total
1 245.1
1 022.6
2 267.7
15.0
12.0
13.5

* estimate has a relative standard error of 25% to 50% and should be used with caution
Source: Unpublished data. General Social Survey, Australia, 2010.

 

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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.

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