Older News  » The power of numbers

Last updated 10:56 AM on 15 September 2011

Girls listen to pop music, use the internet to stay in touch with friends and enjoy playing netball.

Boys prefer rap, use the internet to play games and nominate AFL or soccer as their sport of choice.

These were some of the findings of a national survey of more than 20,000 students, of which more than a quarter came from NSW.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics CensusAtSchool for 2010 was open to students from Years 4 to 12, with the aim to spark students' interest in statistics and to improve their statistical literacy.

Striking results
Among the most striking results was the way in which boys and girls use the internet: for girls the internet is primarily used as a social networking tool, while boys mainly use the internet to play games.

However, it also showed students are not as locked into the computer as many parents believe. Students in Years 5 to 12 spend more hours per week hanging out with friends than using the computer/internet.

The survey also shows that younger students are more environmentally minded with the percentage of Year 4 students taking actions in the home to conserve the environment markedly higher than the number of Year 12s.

For example, more than 70 per cent of Year 4 and 5 students took shorter showers, while in Years 11 and 12 that figure drops to 43% and 38% respectively; and more Year 4 and 5 (91%) students turn off the water while they brush their teeth than senior students (84%).

The Census also appears to show that paid work is sacrificed in the final year of high school with just 5.6% of Year 12 students indicating they received money from paid work in the week before the Census compared with 17.6% of Year 11s and 22.3% of Year 10s.

More interesting data

Other findings include:

  • 40% of girls listen to pop as their favourite music while rap is the most popular choice for boys with 21%.
  • Over 21% of girls most enjoy participating in netball as a sport or activity while 18% of boys prefer AFL with soccer just behind at 17%.
  • Pizza and pasta are the take-away of choice.

Access the data
Students and teachers can access the data from the online Random Sampler to make comparisons between students like themselves and students in different year levels and parts of Australia.

The CensusAtSchool project is a free online questionnaire and analysis resource for students in Years 4 to 12 at all Australian schools.

The questionnaire phase is available annually during Terms 1 and 2 and the data is released early in Term 3 of each year.

Get more information on the CensusAtSchool project, including data for 2010.