Physical Sport and Recreation in Australia

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Analysis of ABS data released last month shows that 2 in 5 (40%) Australians aged over 15 have not participated in any sport or physical recreation even once in the last 12 months – which increased from just over a third (35%) in the past year. With increased sedentary lifestyles among Australians today, we shed light on what this means for the emerging generations and the challenge it presents to engage them in physical recreation not just virtual entertainment, and in face to face interaction not just screen-based communication.

Walking more popular than the gym

The most popular type of physical recreation Australians participate in is walking, indicated by 2.3 million females and 1.2 million males. This is followed closely by going to the gym or fitness, again more popular with females - almost 1.8 million females go to the gym with 1.4 million males doing the same. Males are more likely to go for a jog or run (740,500) than females (624,000).

The top 10 sports:

Whilst still popular, swimming and diving as a sport has dropped down the list in the most recent study, with an estimated 226,200 less people involved now than a year ago. Bushwalking has also lost participants, declining by 150,900 participants to a total of 285,600 being involved with the activity.

Aqua aerobics is rising up the list, growing from 75,300 participants to 90,800 in the past year along with triathlons which have become more popular, growing from 47,700 participants to 58,800 in the last year.

Younger generations most active:

Participation in sport and physical recreation was generally highest among younger generations. Almost three quarters of those aged 15-17 participated in sport (73.8%) which declines after finishing school to just over two-thirds of 18-24 year olds (67.2%). Just under half (46.6%) of Australians aged over 65 continue to participate in physical recreation and sport.

Sedentary lifestyles and the Screenage:

The sport participation rate has been declining across the board, and these younger generations are no exception, declining from a participation rate of 78 to 73.8 for Gen Zeds aged 15-17 in the last year.

In addition, Generation Z (born 1995-2009) have been born into the Screenage – where since 1997 we have spent more time on digital devices than in human face to face interaction.

Social researcher Claire Madden highlights that ‘the concern is the declining trend line of participation in physical recreation of Australians across age groups whilst at the same time an increasing trend of Australians likely to be obese or overweight, with current trend lines predicting that when Gen Z, born 1995-2009, reach adulthood in 2027, 78% of males and 62% of females in this generation are likely to be obese or overweight.’

Sedentary lifestyles are on the rise in this Screenage era, and based on a projection of the current trends, by the year 2027, when Gen Z have all reached adulthood, 77.9% of males and 61.8% of females are likely to be obese or overweight. ‘The concern is the declining trend line of participation in physical recreation of Australians across age groups whilst at the same time an increasing trend of Australians likely to be obese or overweight, with current trend lines predicting that when Gen Z, born 1995-2009, reach adulthood in 2027, 78% of males and 62% of females in this generation are likely to be obese or overweight.’

The challenge in our technological era is to engage these new generations in physical recreation not just virtual entertainment, in offline communities not just online networks, and face to face interaction not just screen-based communication.

For more information:

For media commentary please contact Ashley McKenzie ( on 02 8824 3422.

Australia Street: A visual representation of our nation as a street of 100 households [INFOGRAPHIC] [VIDEO]

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Screenshot Australia Street | No #1 place to liveMcCrindle Research has released AUSTRALIA STREET, a visual representation of our nation as a street of 100 households.

Click here to download the Social Analysis.
Download the full infographic here.
Watch the video animation here.

Shrinking families but growing homes

Australia Street is a diverse place to live, a mix of cultures, generations, life-stages and professions. There are 260 people living on Australia Street, with an average of 2.6 people per household. It’s a far cry from 100 years ago when the average home had 4.5 residents, but makes sense when considering the average fertility rate among Australian women. In 1961 the average was 3.5; a figure has decreased to just 1.88 in 2011.

Despite households decreasing, house sizes are on the rise! From 1976 to 2011 the proportion of dwellings with four or more bedrooms has risen from 17% to 31%, and the average number of bedrooms per dwelling has increased from 2.8 to 3.1! A reason for this increase might be that nearly 7 in 10 (69%) Australians believed having a bedroom per family member was a middle class staple and not only the domain of the elite (McCrindle Research 2011).

Sandwich generation: multi-generational homes increasing

Another reason for the increased size of houses is likely to be the phenomena of the Sandwich generation – multigenerational households where Baby Boomer parents have grown-up children and their own parents living at home. Gen Ys are staying in the family home longer, with rising property prices, delayed life-stages (like marriage) and longer years spent in education contributing to this. With Australians living longer, it’s also more likely that the grandparents may need additional support.

Hot property: Australia is a neighbourhood on the rise

Our growth rate of 1.5 (above the global average of 1.2) means Australia Street has four new neighbours moving in annually. In fact, if Australia Street was an average street length of 200 metres, we’d be growing at 3 metres per year. However, compared to others in the global street directory, this growth is small. India Street is 11km in length and growing by 180m per year and by 2020 will have overtaken China St to be the worlds “longest”.

Births, deaths and marriages

On this street of 100 households and 260 people, there is a marriage every nine months, a death every seven months and a birth every three months!

Raining cats and dogs

Australia Street is not only home to 260 people, but also 195 vehicles, 45 dogs, 27 cats and 252 fish. It’s your street, it’s our street. Welcome to Australia Street!

For more information about the changing demographic and social trends we are seeing on AUSTRALIA STREET, click here to download the full infographic, or watch the video animation below.

It's your street, it's my street... welcome to Australia Street! [VIDEO INFOGRAPHIC]

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Australia Street thumbnail | McCrindle ResearchIf Australia were a street of 100 households, what would it look like? What kind of dwellings are on Australia Street, and how many vehicles per household are there? What about population, employment, religion, education, births, deaths and marriages? What about pet ownership?

All these statistics and more are included in this little animation McCrindle Research put together! Enjoy!

We're sure you're now asking how you can get your hands on all of all these stats! Last Monday we shared our newest demographic infographic in a blog post here, which you can check out.

Otherwise, you can click here to download the Australia Street PDF, or...
Click here to download a high resolution image of the Australia Street infographic.

Finally, you can hear the full analysis of all the information included in Australia Street and more this Friday at our Australian Communities Forum event. Visit the website for more information or to register.

Melbourne Cup: The bets are off when it comes to the Cup, but we’re still tipped to celebrate!

Monday, November 05, 2012

McCrindle Research 2012 Melbourne Cup studyTuesday the 6th November: It’s the race that stops a nation and while many will gallop to celebrate, a significant proportion of Australians will hold fast to their philosophies about gambling and won’t bet.

Click here to download the Research Summary .

McCrindle Research surveyed 532 Australians nationally on how they celebrate the Melbourne cup and while 1 in 5 has a special lunch planned; having a punt is resisted by many.

Over a third of Australians will never bet – with the Melbourne Cup being no exception. Furthermore, 37% of us will only ever bet on the Melbourne Cup and not other sports at other times.

Generation Y was far more likely than the other generations to say they would never bet, with 43% indicating they felt this way compared to 35% of Generation Xs and Boomers, and 33% of Builders (those 66+).

“Generation Y have been shaped in an era where the downside of Australian culture has been examined, with gambling one such area.”
- Mark McCrindle, Social Researcher

Despite our hesitancy to gamble, we certainly aren’t averse to celebrating. Over 1 in 5 (22%) said their workplace was organising a special lunch for the Melbourne Cup, with a further 7% allowed to leave to attend another function.

Truancy is likely to play part in the Cup as well...while 1 in 10 didn’t have a special lunch planned at work; they planned on sneaking out to attend a function anyway!

Click here to download the Research Summary .

Sport and the Redefined Australian Identity - Post by Mark McCrindle

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sport and the redefined Australian identity | Aussie sports supporter

Australia has not had the number one cricket team for several years. The Wallabies finished third at last year’s Rugby World Cup. At Wimbledon this year, Australia had its worst result since 1938 and at the London Olympics, Australia ranked 10th- our worst result for twenty years. Yet while there are questions being asked, there is no national soul searching, no sense of mass mourning, and not even much visceral disappointment. All of which begs the question: why?

Australia has matured, changed, and with this Australians have developed a broader perspective and a more global outlook. There is a new self-assuredness of our place globally and a strong national identity defined beyond sporting success and the old ocker clichés. Gone is the tyranny of distance, and the insecurity of being “down under”, and in its place an awareness that Australia is home to some global cities, and being on the rim of Asia, we are close to the new epicentre of the world. Any sense of our small stature amongst mega-nations has been replaced by a confident posture of being a regional influencer, a cultural exporter and a global player. Its neither plucky overconfidence, nor nationalistic pride- but rather a grounded confidence.

There is a depth to our identity in the 21st Century. The iconic language and Australiana is retained and reinterpreted with a new sophistication, and without the cringe. Certainly the old affections run deep but with these, an acceptance of Australia as a cultural hub, a fashion destination, a global influencer, a thought leader, a business innovator, and a quick technology adopter. The “snags and beer”, “sheilas on the beach” Australia has seamlessly been transformed into an urban and urbane, cafe-cultured, cosmopolitan society of both sophistication and complexity. Somehow we’ve shaken off our adolescence and are free of any self-consciousness.

Only a people comfortable in their own skin can embrace both meat pies and foccacias. It’s not club footy or arts festivals but both. There is both a love for this sunburnt country with all its iconic landmarks, yet also pride in the medical innovations, cultural achievements and business success. There’s an understated confidence that welcomes the world to this unique landscape, yet has the posture to profile a culture of creativity rather than just the latest sporting victory.

Cultural diversity has come of age in Australia. You can tell because there is little self consciousness and even less tokenism expressed. Rather, the cultural mix is in our national DNA, it’s part of our lifestyle- it’s who we are. The fact that more than 1 in 4 of us weren’t born here seems unremarkable- as though it has always been thus. From the inner urban to the outer suburban is the richness of modern Australia that has been forged through the input of so many cultures.

The new attitude has influenced our old lexicon. “No worries” doesn’t mean “we don’t care” but rather “we’ll sort it out”. The land of the long-weekend has become a nation committed to hard work without compromising lifestyle. We’re care-free and laid-back perhaps, but professional, with high standards and big expectations. So the lucky country armed with a can-do attitude has become self-made yet it has kept its community spirit. We value independence but in a community-minded way. Helping out your mate and your neighbour alike still shines strongly in the Australian psyche.

From being recognised on the arena of sport to being noticed on the world stage of science, arts and technology, Australia has come of age- and no one noticed. The talented kid with the ball found meaning in a broad array of pursuits, and made a name for himself. And what’s more he’s still got great talent with the ball as well.

Australia and sports: are we at our best?

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Olympic ringsAustralians are learning to be patient for medals at the London Olympics. While the Australian Olympic team has always given their all, the expectations of many Australians are perhaps unrealistic high. The majority of Australians (52%) expect that we will rank 5th or better on the medal tally. While we have achieved 5th position at the last two Olympics, the global competition continues to rise and it is unlikely that the expectations of many will be realised. The 15% of Australians who think we will end up in 10th position or worse by the end of the Olympics have perhaps sensed the changes on the Olympic sporting stage.

Interestingly, 4 in 5 Australians believe that children's sport today in its focus on participation and having fun has lost the value of competition and improving on results...

Continue reading the findings and statistics of this research here: Olympics and Sports  

Australians' thoughts on where Australia will end up ranking on the medal tally at the London Olympics

How is Australia performing overall in sports & achievements?

Download the Research Summary here: Olympics and Sports

Other links / articles:

B&T: Aussies' high Olympic hopes
SMH: The crowd went mild: Sydney snubs live Games sites

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