4901.0 - Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, Apr 2009 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/10/2009   
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1 The statistics in this publication were compiled from data collected in the Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities Survey conducted throughout Australia in April 2009 as a supplement to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' Monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS). The major aim of the survey was to identify characteristics of children who participate in organised sport, cultural activities and selected activities undertaken for recreation and leisure, and to monitor the use of information technology by children. The focus on activities outside of school hours is to elicit information on activities that are more likely to be undertaken by children by choice rather than those that are part of the school curriculum. It is a continuation of a series of surveys on this topic conducted since April 2000. The previous survey was conducted in April 2006.

2 The publication Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) contains information about survey design, sample redesign, scope, coverage and population benchmarks relevant to the LFS, which also apply to supplementary surveys. It also contains definitions of demographic and labour force characteristics, and information about computer assisted and telephone interviewing which are relevant to both the monthly LFS and supplementary surveys.


3 The scope of the supplementary survey was all children aged 5-14 years who were usual residents of private dwellings except:

  • children of certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from censuses and surveys
  • children of overseas residents in Australia
  • children of members of non Australian defence forces stationed in Australia.

4 This supplementary survey was conducted in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, but excluded children living in very remote parts of Australia who would otherwise have been within the scope of the survey. The exclusion of these children will have a minor impact on any aggregate estimates that are produced for states and territories, with the exception of the Northern Territory where such children account for 28% of the total number of children in the population.


5 The estimates in this publication relate to children covered by the survey in April 2009. For all intents and purposes, the population coverage of the April 2009 survey is the same as that described in scope, with the following exceptions:
  • children in households where all persons aged 15 years and over were members of the Australian permanent defence forces were not covered
  • children in households where all persons aged 15 years and over were out of scope of the LFS for any other reason were not covered.

6 In the LFS, coverage rules are applied which aim to ensure that each child is associated with only one dwelling, and hence have only one chance of selection in the survey. See Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0) for more details.


7 Information was collected through interviews conducted over a two week period during April 2009.

8 Information was collected from any responsible adult in the household who was asked to respond on behalf of the children in the household. In each selected household, information on cultural, sporting and selected other activities was sought for a maximum of three children. The response rate for the survey was 97%. In total, information was collected about the activities of 5,825 children living in the selected households. In households with four or more children aged 5-14 years, three children were randomly selected for the survey. For the additional children in these households, only selected demographic information was collected.

9 Data were collected on children's cultural and sporting activities undertaken outside of school hours over a 12 month period. Data on the frequency of participation relates to the 12 months before interview, while data on the number of hours of participation refers to the last two weeks of school (the most recent two school weeks prior to the interview, including weekends and public holidays). School weeks are weeks during the school term (i.e. not school holidays) including weekends and public holidays. Data were also collected on children's participation in selected other activities during the last two weeks of school.


10 The Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities Survey was previously conducted in 2000, 2003 and 2006 as supplements to the Labour Force Survey. Computer assisted telephone interviewing was introduced during 2003 and while information was collected using a paper form for the majority of households in 2003, computer assisted interviewing was used for all survey interviews in the 2006 and 2009 surveys. This change in the methodology is not expected to impact on the comparability of the data between the surveys.

11 Changes between the 2000, 2003 and 2006 surveys are described in paragraphs 13-20 of the Explanatory Notes in Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, April 2006 (cat. no. 4901.0). Changes between the 2006 and 2009 surveys are described in the following paragraphs.

12 Data collected about information technology have changed between each iteration of this survey. In previous surveys, questions were asked about general computer access but in 2009 the focus changed to Internet access and mobile phone use. This was the first of these surveys to ask about children's use of mobile phones.

13 In previous surveys, data have been collected about participation in playing electronic or computer games. For 2009, this was changed to include participation in any screen-based activities (apart from watching TV, DVDs or videos which is asked separately). This cannot be compared to the previous surveys. Similarly, in previous surveys, data have been collected about skateboarding and rollerblading. For 2009, riding a scooter was added to this category, and so the 2009 category 'Skateboarding, rollerblading and riding a scooter' cannot be compared to the 2006 category 'Skateboarding and rollerblading'.


14 Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling error.

15 Sampling error is the difference between the published estimate and the value that would have been produced if all in-scope children had been included in the survey. For further information on sampling error, refer to the Technical Note.

16 Non-sampling errors are inaccuracies that occur because of imperfections in reporting by respondents and interviewers, and errors made in coding and processing data. These inaccuracies may occur in any enumeration, whether it be a full count or a sample. Every effort is made to reduce non-sampling error to a minimum by careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers and efficient processing procedures.


17 All of the tables included in this publication are also available as Excel spreadsheet datacubes from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>. There are an additional 4 tables available as Excel spreadsheet datacubes only. These are:
  • Table 22 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN SELECTED ACTIVITIES, By state or territory of usual residence
  • Table 23 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN SELECTED ACTIVITIES, By state or territory of usual residence and age
  • Table 24 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN ORGANISED SPORT, Frequency and duration of participation, By state or territory of usual residence and sex
  • Table 25 CHILDREN PARTICIPATING IN ORGANISED DANCING, Frequency and duration of participation, By state or territory of usual residence


18 ABS surveys draw extensively on information provided by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


19 The ABS currently plans to conduct this survey again in April 2012.


20 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:
21 Theme pages contain a wealth of information and useful references on particular subject areas. These can be found by clicking on the 'Themes' link on the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>. The 'Culture and Recreation' and the 'Innovation, Science and Technology' theme pages are particularly relevant to this publication.