• Health;
  • Household preferences;
  • Random effects;
  • Social inclusion;
  • Sporting participation

We provide a detailed statistical investigation into the economic and demographic factors that determine sporting participation in England. Using data from the 1997 health survey of England we fit random-effects probit models that take into account unobservable household preferences for sporting activities, as well as the economic and demographic characteristics of respondents. Our main results from the multivariate analysis are that sporting participation is positively related to household income, the educated participate in sports to a greater extent than the uneducated, there is no evidence of regional differentials in sporting participation and household preferences play an important role in the decision to participate in sports.