Participation in sport and physical recreation declines in Australia


There has been a decrease in the number of Australians participating in sport and physical recreation, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"Overall, 60 per cent of Australians aged 15 years and over participated in sport and physical recreation in 2013-14, compared with 65 per cent in 2011-12", said Gary Niedorfer from the ABS.

The highest participation rate for sport and physical recreation in 2013-14 was in the Australian Capital Territory (73 per cent). Queensland recorded the lowest participation rate with 54 per cent.

"3.5 million people reported walking for exercise, still the most popular physical recreational activity undertaken by Australians in 2013-14, this is despite a significant drop in the participation rate from 2011-12," said Mr Niedorfer.

"However this remains the exercise of choice for females in 2013-14, while the most popular activity for males was fitness/gym.

"There has also been a drop in the proportion of people undertaking other activities such as swimming and cycling."

The proportion of Australians playing tennis fell from 4.2 per cent in 2011-12 to 3.0 per cent in 2013-14. There were also falls in participation in other sports such as golf and cricket.Further details are available in Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2013-14 (cat. no. 4177.0), available for free download from the ABS website (

    Media notes

    • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
    • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.
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