Feature Article - June 2007
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From Cost to Coast, and Everywhere in Between

A Look at Regional Trends in Managed Recreation, Fitness and Sports Facilities

Looking at the survey respondents' answers from a regional perspective reveals that the greatest increases in budgets, revenues, usage, staffing, and new facility construction and renovations are expected in the South Atlantic states, as well as in Western states. This follows logically from U.S. Census Bureau projections, which show the greatest population increases between 2000 and 2010 in these regions. The South Atlantic states, which made up 18.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2000, are expected to make up 19.4 percent of the population in 2010. Western states are projected to see a similar increase, from 22.5 percent of the U.S. population in 2000 to 23.4 percent in 2010.

Northeastern and Midwestern populations are projected to decrease, according to the Census Bureau. The Northeast made up 19 percent of the U.S. population in 2000 and is projected to decrease to 18.1 percent of the population in 2010, while the Midwestern states were home to 22.9 percent of the population in 2000 and are expected to remain home to 21.8 percent in 2010. These decreases are likewise reflected in the regional information gathered from our survey respondents. Respondents in the Northeast and Midwest were more likely to report smaller increases in budgets, revenues and usage than other regions.

The number of respondents from each region was similar to U.S. Census measurements taken in 2000, with the exception of the Midwest, which had more respondents than any other region. (See Figure 27.) One percent of the respondents to the survey represent international organizations, 50 percent of which were military installations. Because this is such a small sample, we will not consider results for international respondents in this portion of the report.

On average across all respondents, 41.2 percent represented parks and recreation departments. This number was much higher for respondents from the Western region, where nearly 50 percent reported working for a parks and recreation department. The region with the fewest respondents from parks and recreation departments was the Northeast, where only 33 percent of respondents represented this type of organization. For the South Central region, 37.6 percent of respondents were from parks and recreation departments. The Midwest fell closer to the national average with 42.2 percent of respondents from this type of organization, and of the South Atlantic respondents, 46.8 percent were from parks and recreation departments.