Roy Morgan Research
August 15, 2023

One-in-seven Australians (3.1 million) live in a house with a swimming pool or spa

Topic: Press Release
Finding No: 9311
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New research shows over 3.1 million Australians these days live in a house with a swimming pool or spa, equivalent to one-in-seven Australians (14%) and up slightly from 13% the last time Roy Morgan looked at the prevalence of swimming pools and spas around Australia in late 2018.

Regional Queensland, which includes the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and a string of regional cities up the coast such as Bundaberg, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns, leads the nation. Nearly one-in-four regional Queenslanders (24%) live in a house with a swimming pool or spa.

It won’t come as any surprise to know Australia’s three most northerly State capitals are far more likely to have houses with swimming pools than their southerly counterparts. Just under a fifth, 19%, of Brisbane residents, 17% of Perth residents and 16% of Sydney residents have a swimming pool or spa at home.

Swimming pool ownership is below the national average in other capital cities. Adelaide is just below the national average on 13% while only 11% of Canberra residents and just 9% of Melbourne residents live in a house with a swimming pool or spa.

Swimming pool and spa ownership around Australia March 2023

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January – March 2023 (n=2,071). Base: Australians 14+.

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan, says Australia’s love of swimming was on show recently at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan:

Block Quote

“Australians have long been known as some of the world’s keenest swimmers. At the recent 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, held in late July, Australia won 13 gold medals to top the medal tally for swimming ahead of the United States with seven golds and China with five golds in the pool.

“Backing up that performance on the world stage is the latest data from Roy Morgan which shows that five million Australians now swim regularly or occasionally – equivalent to 23% of the population – and around half of this number, 2.4 million, swim regularly.

“Although many Australians are keen swimmers, there are Australians who are not as confident in the water as their peers. The latest figures from the ‘National Drowning Report’ show that 339 people lost their lives to drowning in the 12 months to June 2022 – a period when we were emerging from COVID-19 restrictions and returning to the water.

“The United Nations recognises this hazard each year with the recently held World Drowning Prevention Day. The day aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drowning – something that is most likely to occur for children aged 1-4 years and 5-9 old.

“One of the best preventative steps families can take to guard against the potential hazard of drowning is to familiarise their children with water from an early age – and the home swimming pool is a key factor in introducing many youngsters to the popular activity.

“This is a message many Australians take to heart and our love of swimming translates into a high penetration of swimming pools and spas around the country. Now one-in-seven Australians (14%) live in a house with a swimming pool or spa, up from 13% in late 2018.

“As we have seen before it is Australians in the warmer climates who are most likely to have a swimming pool. Regional Queenslanders living in places such as the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and a string of sizeable regional cities up the coast including Mackay, Townsville and Cairns top the nation with 24% now owning a swimming pool or spa, up 4% points from 2018.

“Behind regional Queensland are the three northernmost State capitals: Brisbane (19%), Perth (17%) and Sydney (16%) – all clearly above the national rate of swimming pool or spa ownership.

“It is hardly surprising that the rate of swimming in these cities is also significantly higher than the national average. Over a quarter of people in Perth (26%) and around a quarter of people in Brisbane (25%) and Sydney (24%) say they go swimming regularly or occasionally.

“This compares to under 20% of people in southern capitals such as Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart – who are also less likely to have a swimming pool or spa at home. On the mainland it is residents of Canberra (11%) and Melbourne (9%) who are the least likely along with those in regional Victoria at only 8%.”

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size Percentage Estimate
40% – 60% 25% or 75% 10% or 90% 5% or 95%
1,000 ±3.0 ±2.7 ±1.9 ±1.3
5,000 ±1.4 ±1.2 ±0.8 ±0.6
7,500 ±1.1 ±1.0 ±0.7 ±0.5
10,000 ±1.0 ±0.9 ±0.6 ±0.4
20,000 ±0.7 ±0.6 ±0.4 ±0.3
50,000 ±0.4 ±0.4 ±0.3 ±0.2

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