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Participation in Selected Cultural Activities

Statistics about people who have participated in selected cultural activities for both adults and children (aged 5-14 years)

Reference period
2017 - 2018

Key statistics

  • Persons aged 15 and over had a cultural participation rate of 31.4%.
  • 90.3% of children aged 5 to 14 participated in screen based activities.
  • 78.5% of children aged 5 to 14 participated in reading for pleasure.

Adults participation

In 2017-18, almost a third (31.4%) of the Australian population aged 15 years and over participated in at least one selected cultural activity. Overall, women had a higher participation rate than men (37.1% compared with 25.4%); people aged 15-24 years had a higher participation rate (38.9%) than people of any other age group. After people aged 15-24 years, the next highest participation rate was for people aged 25-34 years (32.0%).

Table 1. Participation rates in cultural activities(a), by age and sex, 2017-18

PARTICIPATION RATE (%)
Age group (years)MalesFemalesPersons
15-24
32.7
45.2
38.9
25-34
26.5
37.3
32.0
35-44
27.9
34.0
31.0
45-54
23.6
34.1
28.8
55-64
21.7
37.0
29.5
65 and over
19.5
36.0
28.2
Total
25.4
37.1
31.4
a. Excludes activities participated in for secondary or tertiary studies.
 


Participation rates varied depending on a person's household income, household composition, educational attainment and labour force status:

  • People living in households in the highest income quintile had a higher participation rate (34.8%) than those in the lowest (29.3%).
  • People who were unemployed had a higher participation rate (39.8%) than people who were employed or not in the labour force (31.6% and 30.0%)
  • People who worked part-time had a higher participation rate than people who worked full-time (37.8% compared to 28.7%). Men who worked part-time had a higher participation rate than men who worked full-time (34.9% compared to 24.1%). Women working full-time and part-time had a similar participation rate (36.8% and 39.0%).
     

The participation rate for people aged 15 years and over living in greater capital city regions was 32.4%, significantly higher than for people living in other regions of Australia (29.2%).

Australian Capital Territory residents had the highest participation rate (45.0%), 13.6 percentage points above the national rate. Northern Territory residents had the lowest rate (25.0%), 6.4 percentage points below the national rate.

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  1. Excludes activities participated in for secondary or tertiary studies.


Only one in ten participants (9.6%) received an income for their involvement in cultural activities, with those participating in Fashion, interior or graphic design activities the most likely to receive income (32.6%).

Some participants were volunteering in the cultural activity they reported. This was most common for people engaging in performing arts, where 41.1% of people Performing in a drama, comedy, musical or variety act were volunteers and 32.7% of people Singing or playing a musical instrument were volunteers.

Most Australians aged 15 years and over who participated in a cultural activity participated in just one activity (59.9% of participants).

Female and male participants had different patterns of participation in 2017-18. The most popular cultural activities for female participants were Craft activities, with 56.1% of women who participated listing this as one of their activities. Visual art activities such as painting, drawing and sculpting were also popular for women (37.1%), as well as Writing fiction or non-fiction (15.7%). In contrast, the most popular activities for male participants were Visual art activities such as painting, drawing and sculpting (24.6%), Craft activities (24.5%) and Photography, film-making or editing (22.6%).

Performing in a drama, comedy, musical or variety act attracted relatively few participants overall (4.2% of female participants and 5.9% of male participants). Writing song lyrics or mixing or composing music also had relatively few female participants (also 4.2% of female participants). Fashion, interior or graphic design had relatively few female or male participants (6.1% of female participants and 7.3% of male participants).

The largest difference between female and male participation rates was for Craft activities (56.1% female participation compared to 24.5%). Other large differences were for Designing websites, computer games or interactive software (6.7% female participation compared to 20.3% for males) and Visual art activities, such as painting, drawing and sculpting (37.1% female participation compared to 24.6% for males).

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  1. Excludes activities participated in for secondary or tertiary studies.

Children's participation

In 2017-18, most Australian children aged 5 to 14 years participated in a cultural activity outside of school hours (95.6%).

Nine in ten children participated in screen based activities (90.3%), and 78.5% of children participated in Reading for pleasure. Creative activities, including drama, music, dancing, art and craft activities, creative writing and creating digital content were also popular, with a participation rate of 63.4%.

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  1. Participating outside of school hours


More than half of the children participating in screen based activities generally did so 10 or more hours a week (56.8% of children participating in screen based activities), while more than half of the children participating in Reading for pleasure did so for less than 5 hours per week (58.6%). More than half of the children who participated in a Creative activity spent 2 hours or less participating in their activity.

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  1. Participating outside of school hours


For Creative activities, girls had a higher participation rate than boys (71.3% compared with 55.7%). Younger children were also more likely to participate, children aged 5 to 8 years and 9 to 11 years had higher participation rates (66.6% and 65.2% respectively) than children aged 12 to 14 years (56.6%).

The most popular Creative activities were Art and craft activities, with a participation rate of 38.8%, followed by Singing or playing a musical instrument (23.0%).

Approximately 80.9% of children who participated in dancing received lessons, compared with 49.5% of children participating in drama activities.

Participation rates for children engaging in screen based activities remained similar across all ages, while Reading for pleasure showed slight variation. Younger children had slightly higher rates of Reading for pleasure (80.4% and 80.9% for 5 to 8 year olds and 9 to 11 year olds, respectively) than older children (73.2% for children aged 12 to 14 years).

Data downloads

Participation in selected cultural activities, Australia, 2017-18

Children's participation in selected cultural activities, Australia, 2017-18

Data item list