Benchmarking Report Now Available for Park and Recreation Agencies

The 2023 NRPA Agency Performance Review, a report released by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), demonstrates the full power of parks and recreation. The annual report is based on data collected fromNRPA Park Metrics, the benchmarking resource that assists park and recreation professionals in the effective management and planning of their operating resources and capital facilities. Taken together, the 2023 NRPA Agency Performance Review and NRPA Park Metrics deliver the most comprehensive collection of park and recreation-related benchmarks and insights that apprise professionals, key stakeholders and the public about the state of the park and recreation industry.   

Local parks and recreation shape our landscapes; more importantly, they shape our lives. Throughout the past year, more than 275 million people in the United States visited a local park or recreation facility. Proximity to high-quality parks and recreation opportunities consistently is an important factor in people’s decision regarding where to live.

The 2023 NRPA Agency Performance Review outlines key metrics that enable park and recreation professionals to compare agencies and identify best practices. Key findings from the report show that the typical park and recreation agency has:

  • 2,287 residents per park
  • one playground for every 3,759 residents
  • 8.9 full-time employees per 10,000 residents
  • operating expenditures per capita of $94.77
  • revenue to operating expenditures of 24.6 percent
  • 10.8 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents
  • 46 percent of full-time staff dedicated to operations/maintenance

The report also finds that 81 percent of agencies have an expressed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in their foundational documents and 90 percent of park and recreation agencies have hiring practices and policies that promote a diverse workforce.

The 2023 NRPA Agency Performance Review’s key findings come from the data provided by more than 1,000 park and recreation agencies in NRPA Park Metrics, NRPA’s benchmarking resource that assists park and recreation professionals in the effective management and planning of their operating resources and capital facilities. The report supports the park and recreation industry by allowing agencies to evaluate their performance against their peers, validate the need for resources and funding, and gain a greater understanding of the current state of the field nationwide.

“The report highlights the importance of investing in people, programming and infrastructure to ensure every member of every community enjoys the benefits of parks and recreation,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. “People place a high value on parks and recreation, and it is important that professionals can continue serving and strengthening their communities.”

The 2023 NRPA Agency Performance Review helps park and recreation professionals evaluate the performance of their agencies by understanding how they relate to their peers in terms of staffing, budget, and the amount of park space and facilities. Combined with other resources — such as NRPA’s Engagement With Parks ReportThe Economic Impact of Local Parks report and Park Pulse polls — this data can help park and recreation professionals receive the support they need to provide services that meet the unique needs of their communities.

To view the report, interactive tables, customizable reports and corresponding infographic, visit

To learn more about NRPA, visit