1. Main facts and figures
- overall, in 2017/18, 62% of people aged 16 years and over in England were classed as ‘physically active’ – that is, they did 150 minutes or more of moderate intensity physical activity a week
- people of Mixed ethnicity were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to be physically active – this has remained consistent since 2015/16
- people from the Asian ethnic group were less likely than the overall average to be physically active – again, this has remained consistent since 2015/16
- within the Asian and White British ethnic groups, men were more active than women – although the figures show differences between men and women in other ethnic groups, sample sizes were too small to make reliable generalisations
The ethnic categories used in this data
Sports England used the following broad ethnic categories when analysing data from the Active Lives Survey:
- Asian – this data counts people from South Asian ethnic groups like Indian and Pakistani as ‘Asian’
- White British
- White Other
2. By ethnicity
|Physically active||Fairly active||Physically inactive|
|Ethnicity||Physically active %||Physically active Number of respondents||Fairly active %||Fairly active Number of respondents||Physically inactive %||Physically inactive Number of respondents|
3. By ethnicity and gender
|Ethnicity||All %||All Number of Respondents||Female %||Female Number of Respondents||Male %||Male Number of Respondents|
4. By ethnicity and age group
|Ethnicity||16-24 %||16-24 Number of Respondents||25-34 %||25-34 Number of Respondents||35-44 %||35-44 Number of Respondents||45-54 %||45-54 Number of Respondents||55-64 %||55-64 Number of Respondents||65-74 %||65-74 Number of Respondents||75+ %||75+ Number of Respondents|
|Black||69||386||59||407||53||599||54||621||47||364||51||132||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
|Chinese||66||151||63||248||54||250||59||133||50||128||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
|Mixed||76||470||73||512||73||442||63||314||59||171||60||70||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
|Other||70||125||63||234||48||373||58||240||50||174||61||122||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
5. By ethnicity and area
|All||Asian||Black||Chinese||Mixed||White British||White other||Other|
|Geography||All %||All Number of Respondents||Asian %||Asian Number of Respondents||Black %||Black Number of Respondents||Chinese %||Chinese Number of Respondents||Mixed %||Mixed Number of Respondents||White British %||White British Number of Respondents||White other %||White other Number of Respondents||Other %||Other Number of Respondents|
|North East||60||8,349||51||148||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||63||48||60||63||61||7,580||57||210||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable|
|South West||67||20,556||48||161||70||67||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||79||157||67||18,736||69||730||52||66|
|Yorkshire and the Humber||61||14,380||53||435||55||108||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||69||117||62||12,772||57||409||53||96|
6. By ethnicity and socio-economic group
|Managerial and professional occupations||Intermediate occupations and lower supervisory||Routine and manual occupations||Long term unemployed||Full-time student or unclassified|
|Ethnicity||Managerial and professional occupations %||Managerial and professional occupations Number of Respondents||Intermediate occupations and lower supervisory %||Intermediate occupations and lower supervisory Number of Respondents||Routine and manual occupations %||Routine and manual occupations Number of Respondents||Long term unemployed %||Long term unemployed Number of Respondents||Full-time student or unclassified %||Full-time student or unclassified Number of Respondents|
|Chinese||66||526||45||189||45||69||withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable||*||67||155|
The Active Lives Survey involves up to 4 postal mail-outs designed to encourage participants to complete the survey online. A letter is sent to a household inviting up to 2 people per household to take part in the survey, either online or by requesting a paper version of the questionnaire.
The overall sample size is just under 200,000 people each year. The survey sample is randomly selected from the Royal Mail’s Postal Address File, which is a list of addresses in the UK that is maintained by the Royal Mail and has a very high coverage of private residential addresses.
Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.
For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split.
Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.
Data has been weighted to ONS population measures for geography and key demographics.
Suppression rules and disclosure control
Results are not published when they're based on fewer than 30 respondents.
Estimates in the charts and tables are given to the nearest whole number but all gaps and differences have been calculated on unrounded data.
You can download more detailed estimates (to 1 decimal place) if you download the data.
Further technical information
8. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Twice a year
Purpose of data source
The Active Lives Survey measures the number of people aged 16 and over who take part in sport and physical activity.
This data informs the government’s strategy on physical activity, Sporting Future, which looks at 5 aspects of physical activity:
- physical well-being
- mental well-being
- individual development
- social and community development
- economic development
9. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, activity level, year, geography, gender, age, socio-economic status, value, denominator, numerator, upper CI, lower CI and number of respondents