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Feature Article - June 2015

Regional Information

A Look at Regional Trends


There are always regional differences in terms of construction costs, economic impacts and much more, which will have an effect on the operations of recreation, sports and fitness facilities. In this section, we'll take a look at some of the regional variances, from budgets and revenues to usage, staffing, programming and more.

As we've seen in past Industry Reports, the regional distribution of our 2,300-plus respondents coincides relatively closely with U.S. Census numbers, with the exception of the Midwest, which is always more heavily weighted in our survey responses. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 17.9 percent of the U.S. population lives in the Northeast, 21.7 percent is in the Midwest, 19.4 percent are in the South Atlantic states, 17.7 percent in the South Central states, and 23.3 percent are located in the West. In the 2015 survey, 17.4 percent of respondents are located in the Northeast, 30.7 percent in the Midwest, 18.7 percent in the South Atlantic, 12.4 percent in the South Central region, and 20.4 percent in the West. Less than one in 100 (0.4 percent) of respondents said they are located outside the United States.

Respondents from the South Central region and the West were more likely than others to be from urban communities. More than one-third (33.6 percent) of South Central respondents and nearly a quarter (24.7 percent) of Western respondents said they were reporting from urban communities. Respondents from the Northeast were the least likely to be from urban areas, with 18.4 percent of these respondents indicating they lived in urban communities.

Respondents from the Northeast and South Atlantic states were more likely than others to be from suburban communities. More than half (51.4 percent) of Northeastern respondents and nearly half (48.7 percent) of South Atlantic respondents indicated they were from suburban communities. South Central respondents were the least likely to be from suburban communities, though more than one-third (34.6 percent) reported that they call the suburbs home.

Respondents from the Midwest and the West were more likely than those in other regions to report in from rural areas. Some 41.4 percent of Midwestern respondents and 35.7 percent of Western respondents said they were located in rural areas. South Atlantic respondents were the least likely to work in rural areas, with just 24.1 percent of these respondents indicating that they were located in a rural community.

Respondents from public organizations were most likely to be located in the Midwest and the West, with 32.4 percent of these respondents located in the Midwest, and 21.3 percent located in the West. They were followed by the South Atlantic region (19.3 percent), Northeast (14.9 percent) and South Central (12.1 percent).

Respondents from private, for-profit organizations were most likely to be located in the West and Northeast, with 25.6 percent reporting they were in the West, and 21 percent reporting from the Northeast. They were followed by the South Atlantic region (19.2 percent), the Midwest (18.9 percent) and the South Central states (13.9 percent).

Respondents from private nonprofit facilities were most likely to be located in the Midwest and Northeast, with 31.9 percent reporting from the Midwest and 23 percent in the Northeast. They were followed by the South Atlantic region (16.8 percent), the West (15 percent) and the South Central region (12.5 percent).

Different types of facilities also were more likely to be found in some regions than others. For example, although parks are the predominant facility type in most regions, they are much more prevalent among respondents in the South Atlantic and West than in the South Central region. In the South Atlantic, 44.3 percent of respondents are from parks organizations, and in the West, 43.7 percent of respondents were with parks. In contrast, just 28 percent of South Central respondents were with parks organizations. (See Figure 29.)


Colleges and universities were more common among respondents in the South Central and Northeast regions. Some 18.9 percent of South Central respondents and 17.3 percent of Northeastern respondents were with colleges and universities, compared with 8.7 percent of those in the West.

Schools and school districts were more common in the South Central and Midwest regions. Some 13.6 percent of South Central respondents and 12 percent of Midwestern respondents were with schools. Respondents from the South Atlantic region were least likely to be with schools, with just 5.3 percent of respondents in that region.

Health club respondents were more prevalent in the South Central states and in the West, with 4.5 percent and 4.2 percent of those respondents, respectively. They were least likely to be found in the Midwest, where 2.5 percent of respondents were with health clubs.

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