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Sport bounces back - more people playing sport

December 13, 2013

Figures published yesterday by Sport England from the Active Peoples Survey (APS) show that 15.5 million people are playing sport once a week, every week, an increase of over 1.5m since London won the bid to host the Games. We are the first host nation to have increased the number of people playing sport off the back of the Games and we see the continuing positive impact of London 2012 on people’s sporting habits.

When APS figures were published in June they showed a small dip reflecting the exceptionally cold winter when icy roads and waterlogged pitches kept people at home. Today’s figures indicate that once the snow had cleared people got back on their bikes and put on their trainers. This shows that more people are continuing to play sport and the growth we saw in 2012 was not just a post-Olympic bounce.

The figures also reveal a record 1.67 million disabled people now playing sport each week, up by 62,000 over the last year. This is testament both to the impact of the Paralympic Games and Sport England’s increased investment in the grassroots.

There are also record numbers when it comes to people of BME origin with 2.7 million now playing sport once a week every week.

Although the data shows record participation numbers for many areas, there is still more to be done. Figures for the 16-25 year old age group have declined by 51,000 over the last year to 3.74 million. While this means the majority of this age group still play sport regularly the numbers are not going up. The evidence shows a sharp drop in the popularity of traditional sports like football and netball, and Sport England is committed to making sure young people have a wider range of sporting activities to choose from.

In Cumbria the 3x30 measure or NI8 Indicator - The percentage of the adult (age 16 and over) population in a local area who participate in sport and active recreation, at moderate intensity, for at least 30 minutes on at least 12 days out of the last 4 weeks (equivalent to 30 minutes on 3 or more days a week) shows a positive increase with Cumbria at 30.0% (APS7) which ranks the county as 3rd most active county in England compared to 21.2% measure on Active People Survey 1 (APS1).

All District Council areas have also seen an increase when calculating the results from APS6/7 with those achieved in APS1 as follows:

  • Allerdale 20.6% APS1 – 28.9% APS6/7
  • Barrow 20.0% - 24.5%
  • Carlisle 21.2% - 25.2%
  • Copeland 19.5% - 27.5%
  • Eden 20.6% - 30.0%
  • South Lakeland 24.2% - 29.5%
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Active People Survey

The number of people playing sport is tracked continuously through Active People – the largest survey of sport and active recreation ever carried out in Europe. Since 2005/6, the findings have become a valuable resource for the sports sector. Results are usually released in June and December each year.

Active People provides information on:



Active People Interactive

Sport England's new tool for analysing Active People Survey data is live!

This unique and valuable resource helps unlock the potential of APS data, allowing you to create your own tailored analysis to better understand who takes part in sport.

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