New research indicates that 70% of all Australians aged 18 years and over, or about 12.8m people, go to the cinema at least once a year.

Over a half (56%) go more than five times and almost a quarter (23%) go more than 10 times.

The research is part of a door-to-door survey conducted from March to April 2002 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on what it terms "cultural" attendance.

It shows that people in the main capital cities, where cinemas are most accessible, go more often that those in rural areas. But is also shows that people in the least populated of the capital cities go the most, presumably because there is less competition for the entertainment dollar.

The extent to which attendance declines with age is clearly demonstrated: 92% of all 18 to 24-year-olds had been to the pictures at least once in the previous 12 months compared to only 31% of those 75 years and older.

The gap is lessening, however: attendance growth in the 1990s was highest in the 55 to 64-year-old group.

More women (72%) than men (68%) go to the pictures. Audiences also tend to be well educated, employed and from households with relatively high incomes.

There are high numbers of couples and single parents with dependent children within the audience.

Cinema was by far the most popular of all the events and venues surveyed, followed by libraries (42%), botanic gardens (42%) and zoos and aquariums (40%).