Feature Article - June 2008
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COMMUNITY TRENDS

Town and Country


Perhaps reflecting their larger percentage of parks and recreation departments, respondents from urban and suburban facilities were far more likely to report that they managed or operated 10 or more facilities compared to rural respondents, who were far more likely to operate just a single facility.

Among urban respondents, less than a third (32.1 percent) said they managed just one facility. Another 37.9 percent said they managed between two and nine facilities, and 30 percent managed 10 or more.

For suburban respondents, just over a third (34.6 percent) said they managed a single facility, compared to 44.8 percent who managed from two to nine facilities, and more than one out of five respondents (20.6 percent) who managed 10 or more.

Rural respondents were more likely to manage a single facility. More than two-fifths (41.7 percent) said they managed a single facility, while nearly half (47.3 percent) said they managed between two and nine facilities, with nearly a quarter (24.5 percent) managing just two or three facilities, Another 11 percent said they managed or operated 10 or more facilities. (See Figure 31.)

Numbers were pretty similar for all community types for changes in usage from 2006 to 2007. While urban and suburban community respondents were more likely to report that they had seen a decrease than rural respondents, they also were more likely to report an increase. More than 7 percent of both urban (7.3 percent) and suburban (7.5 percent) respondents said the number of people using their facility had decreased from 2006 to 2007, compared with just 4.9 percent of rural respondents. But 43 percent of suburban respondents and 45.9 percent of urban respondents said they had seen increases in that same year—with nearly 29 percent of urban respondents reporting an increase of 10 percent or more—while 41.2 percent of rural respondents said they had seen increases in participation.

Over the next several years, urban respondents were more likely than other communities to be expecting increasing participation. From 2008 to 2009, 46.3 percent of respondents from urban communities said they were expecting the number of people using their facilities to increase, compared to 43.3 percent of suburban respondents and just 39.4 percent of rural respondents. More than 30 percent of urban respondents were anticipating increases of 10 percent or more that year. Rural respondents were more likely to be expecting things to remain even. Almost 60 percent of respondents from rural facilities said they expected the number of people visiting them to remain the same from 2008 to 2009.