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Number of sports participants in Australia 2020 by type of sports

Sport is often acknowledged as an important part of the Australian cultural identity and despite Australia’s relatively small population, it performs considerably well on the international sporting stage. Among Australia's favorite sporting codes are Rugby, Netball, Cricket, and Australian Rules Football (AFL), however when it comes to sport participation, individual sports dominate the top ten preferred sports in Australia. In 2020 a survey of over 20,000 respondents named recreational walking as the top participation sport, with 9.5 million regular participants, followed by fitness/gym and swimming.

Individual versus team sports

Almost 35 percent of Australians participate in some kind of fitness and gym activities and while participation rates in team and club sports reach almost 50 percent in the 15 to 17 year old age group, this participation rate drops steeply after the age of 18. This drop in organized sport activity is likely due to competing priorities in the later age groups, such as work and family commitments. Furthermore, this may also account for the preference towards more flexible, individual sport outlets that can be worked in around other commitments.

Sport and public health

In 2018, around a quarter of Australian children were overweight or obese. Australia ranks highly against other developed countries in terms of proportion of overweight and obese population. In response to these concerning numbers, Australian policy makers have recognized the potential sport participation can have to curb obesity rates, and a range of programs and initiatives are available to encourage sports participation in both children and adults.

Number of people participating in sports in Australia 2020, by type

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Release date

October 2020



Survey time period

July 2019 to June 2020

Number of respondents

20,000 respondents

Age group

15 years and older

Method of interview

CATI, online interview

Supplementary notes

Note: Only sports with over 100,000 participants are displayed.

Figures are estimates.

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