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Feature Article - June 2014

A Look at Regional Trends

Regional Information



Just as the depth and impact of the economic recession varied a great deal from one region to another, different regions of the United States have begun to recovery more or less rapidly. These varying degrees of recession and recovery continue to affect budgets and revenues at recreation, sports and fitness facilities across the country. In this section, we take a look at some of the regional variances, not only in the financial information provided by respondents, but also in their expectations in terms of memberships, staffing, facility growth, programming and more.

As in past reports, the regional distribution of respondents coincides closely with U.S. Census population numbers, with the exception of the Midwest. According to census numbers from 2010, 17.9 percent of the U.S. population lives in the Northeast, 21.7 percent in the Midwest, 19.4 percent in the South Atlantic states, 17.7 percent in the South Central states, and 23.3 percent in the West. In 2014, 15.4 percent of respondents are from the Northeast, 31.5 percent live in the Midwest, 17 percent are from the South Atlantic, 15.1 percent from the South Central states and 20.1 percent live in the West. Less than one in 100 (0.9 percent) are from outside of the United States.

Respondents from the Northeast and South Atlantic states were more likely than others to be from suburban communities. Nearly half (47.6 percent) of Northeastern respondents and 44.7 percent of South Atlantic respondents were from suburban communities. Respondents from the South Central states were least likely to be from suburban communities, with 30.4 percent of respondents in this region reporting they worked in suburban areas.

Respondents from the Midwest and the South Central states were more likely than others to be from rural areas. Some 44 percent of Midwestern respondents and 39.3 percent of South Central respondents were from rural areas. Respondents from the South Atlantic states were least likely to be from rural communities. Just 27.6 percent of South Atlantic respondents said they worked in rural areas.

Respondents from the South Central states and the West were more heavily weighted toward urban areas than those in other regions. Some 30.4 percent of South Central respondents and 27.8 percent of Western respondents were from urban communities. Respondents from the Northeast were least likely to be from urban communities, with 20.2 percent of these respondents working in urban areas.

Public organizations were most likely to be found in the Midwest, with nearly a third (32.6 percent) of public organization respondents indicating they call the Midwest home. It was followed by the West (21 percent), the South Atlantic (17.2 percent), the South Central region (14.3 percent), and the Northeast (13.9 percent).

Private, for-profit organizations were more likely to be from the Midwest and the West, with 25.8 percent of these respondents coming from the Midwest, and 24 percent coming from the West. They were followed by the Northeast (17.5 percent), South Central (16.6 percent) and South Atlantic states (15.3 percent).

Private nonprofit organizations were much more likely to be from the Midwest than from any other region. Some 31.1 percent of private nonprofit respondents call the Midwest home. They were far less likely to be from the Northeast (18.9 percent), South Atlantic (16.8 percent), South Central (16.6 percent) or West (15.6 percent).

Different types of facilities also were more likely to be found in some regions than others. For example, although parks were the predominant facility type in all regions, they were much more prevalent among respondents in the South Atlantic states and in the West. In the South Atlantic, 45.9 percent of respondents worked for park facilities, and in the West, 41 percent were with parks. In contrast, only 28.1 percent of South Central respondents were from parks. (See Figure 29.)

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