AusPlay Publishes New National Participation Statistics

AusPlay Publishes New National Participation Statistics

General Category

The latest edition of the National Sport and Physical Activity Participation report, presented by AusPlay provides a valuable snapshot of participation trends across various demographic groups in Australia. Released on October 31st, 2023, this report builds on the initial publication from November 2022 and is a valuable resource for individuals, researchers, and policymakers interested in understanding the dynamics of physical activity in the country. It serves as a reference document, allowing readers to access key information about participation rates, motivations, barriers, and popular activities among different segments of the population. 


The report offers detailed insights into various demographic groups, including Australians aged 15 and above, males, females, young adults, older Australians, those with disabilities, those who speak a language other than English at home (LOTE), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, residents of major cities, and those in regional/rural areas, as well as children aged 0-14. 

The AusPlay survey, initiated in October 2015, is the most extensive and comprehensive of its kind ever conducted in Australia. Over the years, it has collected data from 20,000 Australian residents aged 15 or older. It not only gathers information about individual participation but also seeks input from parents and guardians about organized physical activities undertaken by children aged 0-14 outside of school hours. 


The latest edition of the report features: 

New National and State Data: Fresh data tables for the 2022-23 financial year are now available, providing an up-to-date look at participation trends across the country.   

Year-on-Year Comparisons: Get ready for a year-on-year comparison of selected measures from 2016-17 to 2022-23, offering valuable insights into how physical activity has evolved over the years. You’ll find these comparisons in the national data tables. 

Updated Data Visualizations and Portal: Dive into updated data visualizations and the data portal, based on AusPlay’s extensive sample spanning from October 2015 to June 2023. These resources include individual reports for almost 60 sports and physical activities. 


In July 2023, the AusPlay survey transitioned from telephone-based interviews to online data collection. This shift will significantly expand the annual sample size to 40,000, providing more detailed insights into participation rates among different population segments. It will also incorporate questions on gender diversity and sex using Australian Bureau of Statistics standards from 2020, further enriching the report’s data. 


The most recent report reviewed data from July 2022 to June 2023. Among other trends, the report presents the following key findings: 

Participation Levels among Australian Women: One notable finding from the report is that higher frequency participation among Australian women aged 15 and above, which saw a significant increase during the height of COVID-19 restrictions, has returned to pre-pandemic levels since the easing of restrictions. The pandemic had initially driven increased participation, particularly among women, but those heightened levels of participation were not sustained. 

Children’s Return to Regular Sporting Activity: The report also highlights the trends among children aged 0-14. During the pandemic, regular participation in sport-related activities (defined as participating at least once per week) had reached a low point. However, in the post-COVID-19 period, children have been gradually returning to sports activities, though rates have not yet fully rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. 

Motivations for Exercise: Australians’ motivations for engaging in physical activity have evolved. The report suggests that an increasing number of Australians aged 15 and above have been exercising for social or mental health benefits. While this trend appeared to slow down, these motivations remain significant and have become even more important than before the pandemic. 


The National Sport and Physical Activity Participation report is a valuable resource for understanding the changing landscape of physical activity in Australia. It provides essential insights into how participation trends have evolved, especially in response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As participation in sports and physical activities remains a crucial component of the nation’s overall health and well-being, this report serves as a valuable reference for individuals and organizations working to promote physical activity across Australia. Future editions of the report are expected to be exclusively online, offering even more detailed and up-to-date information on the state of physical activity in the country.