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Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia

Contains details on the number and characteristics of people aged 15 years and over who participate in a range of sport and physical activities

Reference period
2013 - 2014

Participation in sport and physical recreation

Of the Australian population aged 15 years and over, an estimated 60% (11.1 million people) reported that they had participated in sport and physical recreation at least once during the 12 months prior to the interview in 2013–14, compared with 65% in 2011-12.

Participation generally decreased with age. People aged 15–17 years reported the highest participation rate in sport and physical recreation (74%), while people aged 65 years and over had the lowest (47%). Male and female participation rates were similar, except in the 25-34 age group where participation rates were higher for males (67%) than females (61%).

The highest participation rate for sport and physical recreation was in the Australian Capital Territory (73%), while the other states ranged from 54% in Queensland to 67% in Tasmania.

Walking for exercise was the most popular physical recreational activity, with 19% of people aged 15 years and over walking for exercise at least once in the 12 months prior to interview. Females were more likely to walk for exercise than males (25% and 14% respectively). Fitness and gym were the next most popular activity (17%) again with more females than males participating (19% and 16% respectively). Males were more likely than females to play golf (6.6% and 1.4% respectively) or participate in cycling and BMXing (8.5% and 4.0% respectively).

Involvement in organised sport and physical activity

People can be involved in organised sport and physical activity as players, participants or competitors, or in non-playing roles. Non-playing roles include: coach, instructor or teacher; referee or umpire; committee member or administrator; scorer or timekeeper; medical support; and other roles. A person can be involved in more than one kind of sport or physical activity and in more than one role.

In the 12 months prior to interview, an estimated 5.2 million people aged 15 years and over (28%) reported that they were involved in organised sport and physical activity. This included 4.7 million people involved in playing roles (26% of persons aged 15 years and over), and 1.4 million people involved in non-playing roles (7.7%).

Involvement in organised sport and physical activity generally decreased with age. People aged 15-24 years had the highest rate of involvement in a playing role (43%) and the highest rate of involvement overall (44%). In comparison, people aged 55-64 and 65 years and over had the lowest rate of involvement in a playing role (18% and 17% respectively ) and the lowest involvement overall (19% and 18% respectively).

Of the 5.2 million people involved in organised sport and physical activity, 6.8% received some type of payment for their involvement. People involved as a coach, instructor or teacher were more likely to receive some payment (26%) than people in a playing role (2.8%).

Additional data

For users who wish to undertake more detailed analysis of the survey data, the survey microdata will be released through the TableBuilder product in 2015. For more details, refer to the TableBuilder information, Microdata: Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia (cat. no. 4177.0.55.002).

Data downloads

Participation in sport and physical recreation, Australia, 2013-14

Involvement in organised sport and physical activity, Australia, 2013-14

Data item list