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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 >> Children's participation in sports and leisure activities

Children's participation in organised sport

A survey of children's activities in the 12 months to April 2000 found that 1.6 million children aged 5-14 years (50%) participated outside of school hours in sport that had been organised by a school, club or association.

For both boys and girls, participation in organised sport peaked at the age of 11 years. However, across all ages boys were more likely to participate than girls (the total participation rate was 66% for boys and 52% for girls) (table 12.29). There was also a higher percentage of boys participating in more than one sport (32% of boys compared with 20% of girls).

Of those who played organised sport outside of school hours, boys played more often: 52% of the boys played an average of once a week or more over the year ending April 2000, compared with 45% of girls. Older children played organised sport more frequently, with 57% of those 12-14 year old children who had participated doing so an average of once a week or more over the year, compared with 36% of their 5-8 year old counterparts.


12.29 CHILDREN'S PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT(a) - 2000

Number
Participation rate


Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
Age (years)
'000
'000
'000
%
%
%

5
46.0
37.9
83.8
35.1
29.5
32.3
6
79.5
42.8
122.2
58.9
36.2
48.3
7
90.1
62.2
152.3
65.8
48.6
57.5
8
101.5
78.9
180.4
72.2
57.2
64.8
9
99.4
80.1
179.5
72.0
59.6
65.9
10
106.8
77.2
184.0
74.1
59.2
67.0
11
108.7
77.3
186.0
76.3
60.7
69.0
12
88.9
82.1
171.0
71.8
60.6
66.0
13
90.9
72.1
163.1
69.1
56.6
63.0
14
83.5
62.5
145.9
63.8
51.8
58.0
Total
895.2
673.0
1,568.2
66.1
52.3
59.4

(a) Outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2000.

Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2000 (4901.0).


Of children in all the states and territories, those in the Northern Territory had the highest participation rate (66%) in organised sport outside of school hours, while those in Queensland had the lowest participation rate (56%). Children living in the six state capital cities had a lower participation rate in organised sport outside of school hours than those living elsewhere in Australia (57% compared with 62%).

Children's sports with the most participants

The sports that attracted most boys were outdoor soccer (with a participation rate for boys of 20%), swimming (13%), Australian Rules football (13%) and outdoor cricket (10%). For girls, the most popular sports were netball (18%), swimming (16%), tennis (8%) and basketball (6%) (table 12.30).


12.30 PARTICIPATION IN THE MOST POPULAR SPORTS(a) - 2000

Number
Participation rate


Males
Females
Persons
Males
Females
Persons
'000
'000
'000
%
%
%

Swimming
177.0
203.1
380.1
13.1
15.8
14.4
Soccer (outdoor)
265.0
37.3
302.3
19.6
2.9
11.4
Netball
*6.4
234.9
241.4
*0.5
18.2
9.1
Tennis
124.8
99.1
223.8
9.2
7.7
8.5
Basketball
119.6
80.7
200.3
8.8
6.3
7.6
Australian Rules football
170.3
*4.1
174.4
12.6
*0.3
6.6
Cricket (outdoor)
133.6
7.3
140.9
9.9
0.6
5.3
Martial arts
72.7
31.9
104.6
5.4
2.5
4.0
Athletics and track and field
52.2
51.9
104.1
3.9
4.0
3.9
Rugby League
92.5
*2.5
95.1
6.8
*0.2
3.6

(a) Children aged 5 to 14 years who participated in organised sport outside of school hours during the 12 months prior to interview in April 2000.

Source: Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, April 2000 (4901.0).

About an equal percentage of girls and boys participated in athletics (including track and field) and hockey (50% of those involved in athletics and 51% of hockey players were girls). However, for some sports, there is a clear difference between the sexes in preferences or opportunities. Most (97%) netball players were girls while boys made up 98% of Australian Rules footballers, 97% of Rugby League players and 95% of outdoor cricket players.

Children's participation in leisure activities

In the two school weeks prior to interview in April 2000, skateboarding and rollerblading were undertaken outside of school hours by 31% of children aged 5-14 years. During the same period 64% of children rode a bike outside of school hours. These activities were significantly more popular among boys than girls (36% of boys and 26% of girls skateboarded or rollerbladed; 71% of boys and 56% of girls rode a bike). Of the less active leisure activities considered, 97% of both boys and girls watched TV or videos, and 79% of boys and 58% of girls played electronic or computer games in the two-week period.

For further information about children's involvement in organised cultural activities, such as dancing and singing, and in art and craft activities during their leisure time, see the section Children's participation in cultural and leisure activities.

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