Participation: The AusPlay survey results for 2021

Sport Australia has released its latest AusPlay survey results, for the year January to December 2021.

Bushwalking ranking – Nationally, in 2021 bushwalking (/hiking) has remained in the top six of the 133 activities with regard to participation, only one place behind cycling, and remains in the top seven in WA.

Participation – 9.3% (1.99 million) of Australia’s adult population participated in bushwalking compared to 14.5% in cycling and 2.2% in mountain biking. In WA, bushwalking participation was a little lower than nationally, at 7.6% (~165,000) of adults.

Gender participation – In WA, the ratio of female:male participation in bushwalking (/hiking) appears to have shifted back into near-balance at 49.3%:50.7% contrasting with a female:male ratio of 56%:44% ratio for 2020 in WA and a ratio of  53%:47% nationally for 2021. The seemingly anomalous change in WA possibly reflects a temporary reduction of many commercial guided hike activities in WA through 2021 due to COVID restrictions; such activities tend to have a substantially higher female than male participation. Gender participation in the more male-centric activity of mountain biking remained stable nationally at 18% female:82% male.

Long-term increase in participation – The longer term national data shows an overall increase of 4% for adult participation in bushwalking over the past 20 years compared to a 6.4% increase in cycling. However over the past 5 years, participation in bushwalking has increased from 4% to 9.3% of the adult population. The greatest rate of increase occurred in 2020, when bushwalking was among the top four of ten activities that all experienced significant increases in participation, reflecting their accessibility in a restrictive COVID-19 environment and/or their ability to be performed socially distanced.

Non-sports versus Sports activities – Nationally in 2021, 26.9% of adults participated in non-sports related activities compared to 14.5% in sport-related activities. Despite the participation increases seen in 2019-2020 for some activities such as bushwalking in the COVID environment, in 2021 there was an overall drop in participation in non-sports activities of 0.8% and a larger drop of 1.9% in sports activities.

See the AusPlay National and State results released 29 April 2021.


(Posted 30 April 2022.)

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