Active People survey shows positive signs of growth in participation among college-age population

Sport England’s latest Active People survey indicates positive news for participation in sport and physical activity among college-age people.


3.83million (55.5%) 16 to 25-year-olds are now playing sport once a week, an increase of 3,700 since this time last year, and an increase of 151,200 over the last decade.

The results are in-line with findings from AoC Sport’s recent College Sport survey, which indicated participation was up by 3.5% since 2015, with growth also among females and black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.

AoC Sport managing director Marcus Kingwell, said: “The latest Active People survey results are hugely encouraging for sport and physical activity in the FE sector.

“They indicate we are moving in the right direction in our aim to get every student active on a regular basis and, beyond that, that the nation as a whole is becoming more active.

“We now need to continue the good work to cement a change in behaviour and make sport and physical activity part of people’s everyday lives.”



The survey has also shown a record number of females are now participating, with more than 7.2million playing sport or taking part in physical activity on a regular basis.

This has seen the gender gap reduce to 1.55million, when it was once above the two million mark.

Colleges are helping this trend with projects and initiatives including female fitness festivals, as well as taking part in events such as The FA’s Girls’ Football Week and Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign.

Team sports including football, netball and hockey have all seen growth in participation, while keep fit sessions and going to the gym remain the most popular activities, with 7.1million people getting involved each week – an increase of more than 286,000 over the past year.

We will be feeding back more detailed figures on participation in colleges in due course.

Read more about Sport England’s Active People survey results