Feature Article - June 2020
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2020 Report on the State of the Managed Recreation Industry

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


The largest number of respondents in 2020 were from the Midwest, with 30% of respondents indicating they were from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota or Wisconsin. (See Figure 1.)

The second largest region, in terms of survey representation, was the West, with 22.3%. This includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

The South Atlantic is home to 19.6% of survey respondents. This includes Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.

Some 15.3% of respondents said they were from the Northeast, including the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Some 12.6% of respondents said they were from the South Central region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

Finally, just 0.2% of survey respondents said they were from outside the United States.

Similar to past years' surveys, the largest percentage of respondents in 2020 said they were from suburban communities. Some 41.2% of respondents call the suburbs home. More than one-third (35.4%) said they were from rural areas, and another 23.4% were from urban communities. (See Figure 2.)

On average, the departments, facilities and organizations covered here serve a population of 108,300 people, up substantially from 2019, when the average was 92,030. In fact, with the exception of 2017, the population size of respondents has been on the rise since 2016, when it was 83,200 people.

Despite the higher average population, though, a majority of respondents said their facilities reach fewer than 50,000 people. Some 61.6% of respondents said their facilities reach an average population of 50,000 or fewer people. And more than three in 10 (30.9%) said they reach fewer than 10,000. Another 14.6% of respondents said they serve a population of 50,000 to 99,999 people. Some 11.5% said their facilities reach an average population of between 100,000 and 199,999 people. Finally, 12.3% of respondents said they reach a population of 200,000 or more.