Feature Article - June 2022
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Trends in YMCAs, YWCAs, JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs

A Look at Trends in YMCAs

By Emily Tipping


In this section, we'll cover the trends reported by what we refer to as "Y respondents," which includes not only YMCAs and YWCAs, but other facilities that provide similar programs and services and are nonprofit in nature, such as JCCs and Boys & Girls Clubs. In addition to typically being nonprofit facilities, this group tends to stand out in other ways, such as a larger number of program offerings and community outreach. Respondents from Ys and similar facilities made up 8.3% of the survey audience in 2022.

Respondents from Ys were most likely to be located in the Midwest, with 30.4% of these respondents indicating they were from this region. The South Central region followed, with 23.9% of Y respondents. Slightly fewer respondents were from the Northeastern (17.4%) and South Atlantic (17.4%) states. And the Western region was home to 10.9% of Y respondents.

The largest number of Y respondents—45.5%—were from suburban communities. Another 30.4% were located in rural communities, and 26.1% were to be found in urban areas.

On average, Y respondents said they reach a population of 141,200 people, up from 106,700 in 2021. They were somewhat less likely to serve 20,000 or fewer people, while being slightly more likely to reach 100,000 or more, compared with respondents from other facility types. Some 36.2% of Y respondents said they reach a population of 20,000 or fewer, compared with 54.6% of non-Y respondents. At the other end of the spectrum, 21.3% of Y respondents said they reach a population of 100,000 or more, compared with 16.5% of non-Y respondents.

Y respondents managed an average of 4.6 individual facilities in 2022, up from 4 in 2021. They were somewhat more likely than non-Y respondents to report that they managed between one and three facilities. Some 72.3% of Y respondents said they manage one to three facilities, compared with 66.9% of non-Y respondents. Some 14.9% of Y respondents said they manage 10 or more individual facilities, a similar number to non-Y respondents (14.2%).

Respondents from Ys were among those most likely to report that they had formed partnerships with other organizations. Nearly all—97.9%—Y respondents said they have such partnerships, compared with 80.9% of non-Y respondents. With the exception of private health clubs, which no Y respondents partnered with, Y respondents were more likely to engage with every other kind of partner named in the survey than those from other facilities. The most common partners for Ys in 2022 were: local schools (89.4%, compared with 56.8% of non-Y respondents), nonprofit organizations (89.4% vs. 42.4%), corporate and local business (74.5% vs. 25.8%), local government (72.3% vs. 45.2%), and other Ys and similar organizations (61.7% vs. 12.6%). (See Figure 62.)

Respondents from Ys were most likely to report that they work with all ages as the primary audience for their facilities. Nearly half (48.9%) of Y respondents said they primarily reach all ages, compared with 34.9% of non-Y respondents. Another 29.8% of Y respondents said their primary audience is made up of children ages 4 to 12, and 21.3% said they primarily reach adults.