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4177.0 - Participation in Sport and Physical Activities, Australia, 1999-2000  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/10/2000   
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SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

CHARACTERISTICS OF PARTICIPANTS

During the 12 months prior to interview in 1999-2000:

  • 54.7% of persons aged 18 years and over (7,541,700) participated in sport or physical activities, down from 59.4% in 1998-99.
  • Males had a higher participation rate (58.5%) than females (50.9%).
  • Participation rates were highest for the 18-24 year age group (73.5%), and declined steadily with age. The rate for persons aged 65 years and over was 33.8%.
  • Australian-born persons were more likely to participate than persons born overseas (57.6% compared with 47.1%).
  • The proportion of capital city residents who participated in sport or physical activities (55.8%) was higher than the corresponding proportion of those living in other parts of Australia (52.5%).
  • The highest participation rates for States and Territories were achieved in the Australian Capital Territory (65.3%) and Western Australia (64.5%). The lowest rates occurred in South Australia (50.1%), Tasmania (51.3%) and New South Wales (52.7%).
  • 28.9% of persons (3,986,600) had participated in sport or physical activities organised by a club or association. More than half of these (2,192,600 persons or 15.9% of all persons aged 18 years and over) also took part in non-organised activities.
  • 25.8% of persons (3,555,000) participated solely in non-organised activities.
  • 26.2% of persons (3,613,100) participated in a sport or physical activity as members of a club or association whose primary focus was the activity concerned.

ACTIVITIES WITH MOST PARTICIPANTS

Sports and physical activities that attracted most participants were walking, swimming, aerobics/fitness, golf and tennis. These activities were among the ten most popular non-organised activities, of which walking, with two and one-half million participants, was the most reported. For organised activities, the five most reported activities were aerobics/fitness, golf, lawn bowls, tennis and netball.


SPORTS AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES WITH MOST PARTICIPANTS(a)
Participation
Number
rate(b)
'000
%

Walking
2,598.7
18.8
Swimming
1,911.6
13.9
Aerobics/fitness
1,444.9
10.5
Golf
1,324.8
9.6
Tennis
1,020.4
7.4
Fishing
729.8
5.3
Cycling
678.9
4.9
Running
655.0
4.7
Tenpin bowling
400.6
2.9
Netball
376.0
2.7

(a) Relates to participation by persons aged 18 years and over in organised and non-organised activities during a 12-month period prior to interview in 1999-2000.
(b) Percentage of the civilian population aged 18 years and over.


GEOGRAPHIC COMPARISONS

Because participation is strongly related to age and sex, differences in age and sex profiles of the States and Territories should be considered when making comparisons. For example, the proportion of younger adults in the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory is higher than the Australian average, while the populations of South Australia and Tasmania have a greater than average percentage of aged persons. Furthermore, the Northern Territory has a lower than average percentage of females.

The following table shows the participation rates for each State and Territory recorded from the survey, as well as standardised rates depicting those that could have been expected to occur if each State and Territory had the same age and sex profile as the Australian population in February 2000.

The standardised results indicate that when age and sex are taken into account the highest participation rate (of 63.8%) was shared by both the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia. While the lowest rate was still observed in South Australia (51.1%), the rate in the Northern Territory was similar (51.2%).

PARTICIPATION RATES FOR EACH STATE AND TERRITORY-1999-2000
Unstandardised
Standardised
participation
participation
rate
rate(a)
%
%

New South Wales
52.7
52.8
Victoria
54.7
54.7
Queensland
54.5
54.4
South Australia
50.1
51.1
Western Australia
64.5
63.8
Tasmania
51.3
52.5
Northern Territory
55.7
51.2
Australian Capital Territory
65.3
63.8
Australia
54.7
54.7

(a) Age and sex standardised to the February 2000 Australian population.


CHANGE IN PARTICIPATION

Participation in all sport and physical activities has only been measured on a comparable basis in 1998-99 and 1999-2000. The total participation rates in those years were 59.4% and 54.7% respectively. This decrease in the participation rate occurred in all age groups.


TRENDS IN ORGANISED PARTICIPATION

Approximately three in ten Australians aged 18 years and over took part in sport and physical activities organised by clubs or associations in 1999-2000. From 1996-97 to 1998-99, the rate rose from 26.5% to 30.3% before declining to 28.9% in 1999-2000. In terms of persons involved, the number of participants has increased from 3.5 million in 1996-97 to 4.0 million in 1999-2000.

The following graph highlights the fact that the male participation rate in organised sport and physical activities continues to be higher than that for females. The gap in the organised participation rates for males and females has been growing wider over recent years-in 1997-98 the difference was 6.1 percentage points (31.4% for males and 25.3% for females), while in 1999-2000, the rate for males (33.3%) was 8.7 percentage points higher than the rate for females (24.6%).

PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES(a)
Graph - PARTICIPATION IN ORGANISED SPORT AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

(a) Relates to persons aged 18 years and over who participated in sport or physical activity over a 12-month period prior to interview.


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication presents information on participation in sport and physical activities by Australians. Data have been obtained from information collected during 1999-2000 in the Population Survey Monitor (PSM). The data relate to participation in the 12 months prior to interview.

The PSM is a quarterly household survey conducted throughout Australia, with government agencies funding topics of their choice. Funding for questions on sport and recreation was provided by the Australian Sports Commission and the Recreation and Sport Industry Statistics Group. Results from the four quarterly surveys in 1999-2000 have been collated to produce annual estimates.

In this publication the term 'participant' is defined as a player or a person who physically undertakes the activity. It excludes coaches, instructors, umpires and committee members.


FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information about these statistics, contact Nigel Williams on Adelaide 08 8237 7404 or email
nccrs@abs.gov.au.

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