Feature Article - June 2016
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A Look at Trends in YMCAs

In this section we cover "YMCAs," a category that, for our purposes, includes not only YMCAs, but also similar facilities that are generally nonprofit, such as YWCAs, JCCs, and Boys & Girls Clubs. Due to their nonprofit nature, these facilities tend to stand apart in unique ways from the other multipurpose facilities, such as recreation centers and health clubs, which they resemble. Respondents from these types of facilities made up 5.5 percent of survey respondents.

YMCA respondents were most likely to be located in the Midwest, with more than one-third (35.3 percent) of these respondents calling the Midwest home. They were followed by the Northeast, with 21.6 percent of YMCA respondents. Smaller numbers were located in the South Atlantic region (18.1 percent), the West (12.9 percent) and the South Central region (12.1 percent).

Slightly less than half (46.1 percent) of YMCA respondents said they were located in suburban communities. Another 29.6 percent were located in rural communities, and 24.3 percent were found in urban areas.

On average, YMCA respondents said they serve a population of 66,900. Some 41.4 percent of YMCA respondents said they reached a population of 20,000 or fewer people, while 19 percent served an audience of 100,000 or more.

YMCA respondents managed an average of 3.7 facilities. They were far more likely than non-YMCA respondents to report that they managed between one and three facilities. Some 86.1 percent of YMCA respondents said they manage one to three facilities, compared with 57.5 percent of non-YMCA respondents. And, while 7 percent of YMCA respondents said they manage 10 or more facilities, 18 percent of non-YMCA respondents do so.

YMCA respondents are more likely than any other facility type to report that they formed partnerships with outside organizations. Some 98.3 percent of YMCA respondents said they had formed such partnerships, compared with 81.8 percent of non-YMCA respondents. The most common partners for YMCAs were: local schools (80.2 percent of YMCA respondents had partnered with them); nonprofit organizations (79.3 percent); healthcare or medical facilities (69 percent); corporate or local businesses (56.9 percent); and other YMCAs (56 percent). (See Figure 56.)

Interestingly, there was a significant jump in the percentage of YMCA respondents who said they partner with healthcare and medical facilities, from 54.1 percent in 2015 to 69 percent in 2016. Just 16.2 percent of non-YMCA respondents said they partner with healthcare or medical facilities.

YMCA respondents were more likely than others to report that they served an all-ages audience. Some 57.8 percent of YMCA respondents said their primary audience was all ages, compared with 40.2 percent of non-YMCA respondents. Another 23.3 percent of YMCA respondents said their primary audience was adults ages 19 to 64, and 13.8 percent said their primary audience was children ages 4 to 12. Smaller numbers had seniors (3.4 percent) and teens (1.7 percent) as their primary audience.