4177.0 - Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/02/2015   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product



For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


The Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) is collected as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS) and is designed to collect statistics for a number of small, self-contained topics. The scope of the LFS is restricted to people aged 15 years and over and excludes:

  • members of the permanent defence forces
  • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments usually excluded from census and estimated resident populations
  • overseas residents in Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants).

In addition, the MPHS excludes:
  • households in Indigenous Communities
  • people living in non-private dwellings (e.g. hotels, university residences, students at boarding schools, patients in hospitals, inmates of prisons and residents of other institutions (e.g. retirement homes, homes for persons with disabilities)).

One eighth of the total households in the LFS sample each month are selected for the MPHS. In these households, a usual resident aged 15 years or over is selected at random to respond to the MPHS.

The Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation topic provides information about the characteristics of persons aged 15 years and over who participate in physical activities for the purposes of sport, recreation or exercise. The data collected includes the types of sports/activities participated in, the frequency of participation, whether the activity was organised by a club, association or other organisation and the facilities used.

In the 2013–14 survey, additional data was also collected that focussed, in particular, on non-playing roles in organised sports and activities. This included the types of non-playing roles undertaken (e.g. coaches, referees, administrators etc.), whether a course or qualification was completed for these roles, whether any involvement was with school or junior sport, whether any payment was received and the time spent on each type of involvement. This information was previously collected in April 2010 in the Involvement in Organised Sport and Physical Activity supplementary survey.

Participation and/or involvement in sport and physical recreation activities contributes to quality of life and is an important indicator of mental and physical health, while participation in organised and/or group activities is an indicator of social and community well-being. Consequently, the data from the survey is used to assist in the development of programs to encourage greater participation in physical activity that, in turn, leads to health benefits and community well-being. Governments also provide considerable funding to community groups and sporting clubs for sporting facilities to encourage and facilitate involvement. The information, therefore, assists in understanding the characteristics of participants and the patterns of participation and involvement in sport and related physical activities.


The MPHS is collected annually with enumeration undertaken in each month over the financial year period from July 2013 to June 2014. The survey reference period relates to sports and physical recreation activities undertaken in the 12 months prior to the survey interview. Generally, data from the MPHS are released approximately 6–8 months after enumeration. Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation is expected to be next collected in the 2015–16 MPHS.


The Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation topic comprised a sample of just under 16,000 fully responding households, which represented a response rate of 76.8% (after taking sample loss into account).

Two types of error are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey: non-sampling error and sampling error. Non-sampling error arises from inaccuracies in collecting, recording and processing the data. Every effort is made to minimise reporting error by the careful design of questionnaires, intensive training and supervision of interviewers, and efficient data processing procedures.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. One measure of the likely difference resulting from not including all dwellings in the survey is given by the standard error (SE). There are about two chances in three a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all dwellings had been included in the survey, and about 19 chances in 20 the difference will be less than two SEs. Measures of the relative standard errors (RSE) of the estimates for this survey are included with this release.

All aggregate statistics presented in tables have been randomly adjusted to avoid the release of any data that may inadvertently identify an individual. The technique to adjust the data is called perturbation. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the data.


The ABS has previously collected information on Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation as part of the MPHS in 2005–06, 2009–10 and 2011–12. While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data. Excluding the addition of the questions relating to involvement in organised sports and physical activities, the 2013–14 survey questions are unchanged in comparison with those asked in 2011–12. For details about changes to the survey for other years, please refer to the Explanatory Notes.

Some data on Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation is also collected in the General Social Survey (GSS) – in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. As the GSS uses a different collection methodology, data are not comparable with MPHS data.

After each Census, population estimates are normally revised back five years to the previous Census year. As announced in the June 2012 issue of Australian Demographic Statistics (cat. no. 3101.0), intercensal error between the 2006 and 2011 Censuses was larger than normal due to improved methodologies used in the 2011 Census Post Enumeration Survey. The intercensal error analysis indicated that previous population estimates for the base Census years were over-counted. An indicative estimate of the size of the over-count is that there should have been 240,000 fewer people at June 2006, 130,000 fewer in 2001 and 70,000 fewer in 1996. As a result, population benchmarks have been revised for the last 20 years rather than the usual five.

Consequently, estimates of particular populations derived from the 2013-14 MPHS may be lower than those published in 2011-12 for this topic. Therefore, comparisons of estimates of the number of people with previous years are not possible. However, for comparable data items, comparison of rates or proportions between years is appropriate.


To aid in the interpretation of the participation in sport and physical recreation data, detailed information on concepts, definitions, terminology and other technical aspects of the survey can be found in the relevant web pages included with this release.


All tables and associated RSEs are available in Excel spreadsheets and can be accessed from the Downloads tab.

Data is also available through the TableBuilder environment. TableBuilder is an online tool for creating tables and graphs. For further details, refer to the Microdata Entry Page.

Additional tables can also be produced on request. The Downloads tab includes an Excel spreadsheet containing a complete list of the data items available. Note that detailed data can be subject to high RSEs and, in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised or not being available.

For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service.