Over the past 15 years many government initiatives have adopted sport and physical recreation participation estimates as a performance indicator. National participation data at a sport level is a key input to the Australian Sports Commission’s (ASC’s) national sporting organisation (NSO) Participation Investment Categorisation Framework.
Since 2015 sport and physical recreation participation data has been collected by AusPlay, however in the preceding years there was the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation survey (2011-14) and the Exercise, Recreation and Sport Survey (ERASS) between 2001-10.
AusPlay fills a major gap in national data following the ABS decision in 2014 to cease funding for all sport and recreation data collection. AusPlay is now a continuous survey with fieldwork happening throughout the year and provides national data on the number of people participating in sport and physical activity and how they participate.
If you are planning for recreation and open space AusPlay is where you should be headed to collect up-to-date and relevant sport and physical recreation participation data.
Comparing ERASS, ABS and AusPlay results
It’s the nature of surveying that if several surveys examine one topic, results from one survey can differ from those of the others. This is particularly likely where there are differences in interviewee selection, sample design, sample size, questionnaire design and how the survey is conducted. The ERASS, ABS and AusPlay surveys differ in each of these aspects and any comparison of survey data should take these methodological differences into account.
Take a look at the data collection comparison information here so you can make an informed decision on the best way to compare results from current and past data from AusPlay, ABS and ERASS.