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Trends in Western Australians' engagement with sport, arts & racing clubs and organisations

The Western Australian community’s engagement with sport, racing and arts clubs and organisations between 1992 and 2010.


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Engaging in recreational activities such as sport, racing and arts events is a popular pursuit. People engage in these recreational activities in many ways, including as members, spectators, or participants of clubs/organisations. Previous Healthway-funded Surveys on Recreation and Health (community surveys) showed sport, arts and racing clubs and organisation membership among Western Australians was 42% in 2006, having risen slightly from 37% in 1992. The same research showed that arts organisation membership among Western Australians remained fairly constant at around 12% between 1992 and 2006 (Mitchell et al. 2007; Mills et al. 2007). 

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS 2010) data indicate that the proportion of Western Australians in 2009/2010 who spectated at sport or racing events was about 43%, with Australian rules football matches the most popular spectator events (16%), followed by horse racing (11%), rugby league (9%) and motor sports (8%). These figures are similar to those released by the wagering and gaming commission in 2005 (Victorian Gambling Research Panel 2005). The previous community surveys showed the level of spectating among Western Australians at sport, racing and arts events during the previous year was 46% in 1992, increasing to 56% in 2006 (Mitchell et al. 2007; Mills et al. 2007). In 2010, the Australia Council for the Arts reported that 72% of Australian adults had attended at least one art-related activity or event in the previous 12 months (Australia Council for the Arts 2010). 

In addition, the ABS (2011) reported that overall participation in exercise, recreation and sport three times a week or more increased from 37% of the population in 2001 to 44% in 2005 and 64% in 2010. Participation in sport, racing and arts events has been shown to differ among the population, with younger Australians more likely to be sports spectators than older Australians and males significantly more likely to spectate at sport events than females. Differences have also been observed whereby people who attend sports and horse racing had relatively higher weekly household incomes than people not attending these events (Mitchell et al. 2007). In addition to demographic differences in community engagement with sport, racing and arts clubs/organisations, health-related behaviours have been shown to vary across levels of engagement. Sport and art club/organisation members were less likely to be smokers, but more likely to engage in risky drinking compared with non-members. Spectating was associated with higher levels of risky drinking for sport, racing and arts events compared with non-spectating (Mitchell et al. 2007).



Rosenberg M, Ferguson R and Pettigrew S. (2012) Surveys on Recreation and Health 1992-2010: Engagement with Sport, Racing and Arts Clubs and Organisations. Health Promotion Evaluation Unit, The University of Western Australia, Perth.



2010 Survey on Recreationa and Health_SAR memberships PDF 4.75MB Download
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