State Recreation Economy Rankings Show Growth

ORR's new ranking of state outdoor recreation economies, based on new data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, identifies the top states in terms of overall size, top year-over-year growth, top growth since before the pandemic, and contribution to state GDP. The release comes on the heels of a new national release showing that in 2022, outdoor recreation generated $1.1 trillion in economic output (2.2% of GDP) and 5 million jobs, comprising 3.2% of U.S. workers. Over the past year, the outdoor recreation economy grew 2.5 times the rate of the U.S. economy as a whole.

“It is incredible and unsurprising to see that outdoor recreation grew in every state across the country in 2022,” said Chris Perkins, vice president of programs for ORR. “We hope these stats are used to kick-start conversations within states about new opportunities to advocate for outdoor recreation infrastructure investments, create favorable conditions for outdoor businesses to thrive, build programs to ensure that all residents, especially along the lines of race, income and ability level, have access to the outdoors, and support communities who provide outdoor recreation access. The 20 states that have created State Offices of Outdoor Recreation are emblematic of the opportunity to achieve these goals in unison.”

To learn more about how to support the outdoor recreation industry in your community through grant funding or even establishing state-wide Offices of Outdoor Recreation (ORECs), visit the ORR website.

The top five states by size of the GDP for the outdoor recreation industry include: California ($73.8 billion), Florida ($52.4 billion), Texas ($47.6 billion), New York ($31.2 billion) and Illinois ($21.9 billion).

The top five states in terms of growth from 2021 to 2022 include: Hawaii (44.4%), Alaska (29.5%), District of Columbia (28.6%), Wyoming (26.1%), and Florida (20.8%). 

The top five states when it comes to growth since the pandemic (2019 to 2022) include: Indiana (12.5%), South Dakota (10.2%), Iowa (9.5%), Idaho (9.4%), and Arkansas (9.3%).

And the top five states by percentage of GDP include: Hawaii (5.6%), Vermont (4.6%), Montana (4.3%), Wyoming (4.1%), and Alaska (4%).