How the Active People Survey works

The Active People Survey continuously measures the number of people taking part in sport across the nation and in local communities

Active People is the largest survey of sport and activity ever carried out in Europe. TNS-BMRB runs the survey on behalf of Sport England.

Key features

  • The largest sample size ever established for a survey of its kind – 169,800 adults (age 14 and over) in Active People Survey 8 Q2
  • Comparative data stretching back to 2005/6 – annual data gathered since 2007/8
  • Findings are published every six months
  • Provides estimates of the number of people taking part in sport
  • Tracks how often people take part in sport and what sports they do
  • Tracks variations between different regions
  • Allows analysis by demographic factors such as gender, social class, ethnicity, age and disability
  • Also tracks regular sport volunteering, club membership, involvement in competition, levels of tuition or coaching

Key measures

The key measure is the ‘1 x 30’ indicator. This is defined as the percentage of the adult population participating in sport, at moderate intensity, for at least 30 minutes on at least four days out of the last four weeks (equivalent to 30 minutes on one or more day a week).

The indicator does not include recreational walking or recreational cycling. It does include more strenuous walking activities, such as hillwalking, rambling and powerwalking.

For those aged 65 and over, it includes light intensity activities such as yoga, pilates, bowls, archery and croquet.

Besides the activities listed above, this includes cycling if done at least once a week at moderate intensity for 30 minutes.

The questionnaire is available to download. 

Method details

  • Landline telephone interviews using random digit dialling with adults aged 16 and over – this was extended to age 14 and over in July 2012
  • Calls are made throughout the year and at different times across each day
  • Around 500 interviews per district and single tier local authority since 2007/8, 1,000 interviews per local authority in 2005/6

Releasing results

Fieldwork for Active People Survey 8 Q2 ran from April 2013 to April 2014. The latest findings, for the year to April 2014, were published in June 2014. Fieldwork for Active People Survey 8 (APS8) began on 15 October 2013 and the annual results for APS8 (based on data from October 2013 - October 2014) will be released in December 2014.

The dataset is available to download for those affiliated to an academic institution or certain not-for-profit organisations at the UK Data Service

Any upcoming or retrospective changes to the definitions used in the Active People Survey are outlined in the document available below.