Swimming and soccer the most popular sports for children


Swimming and soccer top the list of most popular sports participated in by Australian kids, according to survey results released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

ABS Assistant Director of the National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics, Paul Pamment said the Children’s Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities survey collects information on participation in sport, cultural activities and use of technology for children aged between 5-14.

“The survey showed that 60 per cent of Australian kids participated in organised sport in the 12 months to April 2012," Mr Pamment said.

“Nearly one in five girls (19 per cent) participated in swimming and almost a quarter of all boys (22 per cent) played soccer.

“Children aged between nine and eleven years were the most active, with two thirds participating in at least one organised sport.

“More boys participated in sport than girls, with two thirds of boys (66 per cent) involved in at least one organised sport compared with just over half of all girls (54 per cent).

"The highest participation rate amongst the states and territories was in the ACT where nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of kids participated in organised sport,” Mr Pamment said.

The survey also looked at children's use of technology and the internet.

ABS Assistant Director of Innovation and Technology National Statistics Centre, David Taylor, highlighted an increase in the number of children accessing the internet.

“The data shows that 90 per cent of children had accessed the internet in 2012. This is up from 79 per cent in 2009 and 65 per cent in 2006".

"Nearly one third (29 per cent) of children had a mobile phone in April 2012 and the likelihood of having a phone increased with age, with nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of 12 to 14 year olds having one", Mr Taylor said.

Information collected on recreational activities showed that more kids are spending time on the internet, computers and games consoles than three years ago. However more children are also riding bikes, skateboarding and riding scooters.

On average, children spent 15 hours watching TV outside of school hours in the last two school weeks prior to the survey period.

Participation in cultural activities were also captured in the survey such as playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, drama and art and craft; and attendance at various cultural venues and events.

The survey reported that more than half of all kids (53 per cent) visited a public library with an average of 15 visits in the 12 months leading up to April 2012. In the same period two in five children (43 per cent) visited a museum or art gallery.

The most popular cultural activity amongst girls was dancing with almost a quarter (27 per cent) participating, whilst for boys it was playing a musical instrument with one in six (16 per cent) participating.

Further information is provided in 4901.0 Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities, Australia, available for free download from www.abs.gov.au.

Internet and mobile phones

 Participation Rate(%) of children accessing the InternetParticipation Rate(%) of children that have a mobile phone
New South Wales91%80%30%
South Australia92%79%31%
Western Australia89%79%29%
Northern Territory83%70%28%
Australian Capital Territory92%78%31%

Cultural activities

At least one selected cultural activity participation rate2012
New South Wales36%
South Australia36%
Western Australia34%
Northern Territory28%
Australian Capital Territory39%

Sport participation

At least one organised sport participation rate2012
New South Wales60%
South Australia63%
Western Australia64%
Northern Territory54%
Australian Capital Territory73%

Media notes

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