The social significance of sport in Austria. Creation of a sport index.


The significance of sport in modern societies is a recurring topic in debates, both by the general public and in the field of science. Contributions to these debates are, due to a lack of empiric evidence, usually limited to rough classifications concerning the social significance of sport (for example a country might end up being referred to as a “ski nation” or a “football nation”). The aim of this research project was to operationalise the social significance of sport with the help of several indicators, thus creating a sport index. With these objective measurements and the resulting sport index, the social significance of sport becomes comparable. Additionally, a west-east-decline in the social significance of sport in Austria (as is often maintained) will be examined.

The research is based on the following indicators:

  1. Sport in federal schools (in hours per week)
  2. Participation in ski courses and sport weeks offered by schools
  3. Average complimentary sport offers at school
  4. Percentage of the population with a Membership in sport clubs
  5. Walking
  6. Hiking, running
  7. Bicycling as a sport
  8. Fitness, gymnastics
  9. Other sports

After analysing the nine indicators and calculating a sport index (which projects the social significance of sport in the Austrian federal states), decline from the western to the eastern states despite opposing trends in individual states can be confirmed. However, the differences between the states are less significant than expected:



    Total sport index ranking: federal states in Austria