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Children's participation in organised sport
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 organised 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 sports with the highest participation rates were netball (18%), swimming (16%), tennis (8%) and basketball (6%) (table 12.39). Dancing was an organised cultural (and physical) activity with a higher participation rate for girls (19.5%) than any organised sport (table 12.27).
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 or 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 earlier section Children's participation in cultural and leisure activities.