4901.0.55.001 - Children's Participation in Sport and Leisure Time Activities, 2003 - 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/12/2012   
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21 December 2012
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra Time)

Dancing and martial arts experience kick in popularity

More Australian children are dancing and engaging in martial arts - but less are playing netball and tennis - according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of the National Centre for Culture and Recreation Statistics, Andrew Middleton said the Children's Participation in Cultural and Leisure Activities survey has been conducted every three years, and has shown some interesting trends on participation in sport, cultural activities and use of technology for children aged between five and 14 years.

"Between 2003 and 2012, children's participation has increased by 27 per cent for dancing and 24 per cent for martial arts," said Mr Middleton.

"Contributing to the increasing popularity of dancing was a rise in participation among children aged five to eight years, with participation increasing from 27 per cent to 32 per cent for girls and from one per cent to four per cent for boys.

"Since 2003, swimming and diving has remained the most popular sport for younger Australians. The survey showed that 25 per cent of 5–8 year olds and 18 per cent of 9-11 year olds participated in swimming and diving in 2012.

"For children aged 12–14 years, outdoor soccer, netball and dancing were the most popular sports in 2012, with participation rates of 13 per cent for outdoor soccer and 11 per cent for both netball and dancing.

"Overall, the number of children who participated in netball declined between by 8 per cent since 2003. Participation in tennis also fell by 10 per cent in this period.

"Children are also spending less time watching TV than they did a decade ago, with an average of 15 hours per week spent in front of the box in 2012 compared to 22 hours per week in 2003.

"The proportion of children accessing the Internet increased from 64 per cent in 2003 to 90 per cent in 2012," Mr Middleton said.

Further information is available in Children's Participation in Sport and Leisure Time Activities, 2003-2012 (cat. no. 4901.0.55.001), available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).

Media note:
Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) as the source.