Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2015

The Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2015 is available from The Outdoor Foundation® annually. The report provides a snapshot of American participation in outdoor activities in 2014 with a focus on youth and young adults. The report is based on an online survey of nearly 11,000 Americans ages six and older.

Nearly half of all Americans — 48.4% — participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2014. This equates to 141.4 million participants, who went on a collective 11.8 billion outdoor outings.

Overall outdoor participation dropped .8% since 2013 and, by a small margin, reached the lowest levels since the report began in 2006. Extreme weather and an unusually cold winter are likely major contributors to the decline. While the typically popular gateway activities of running and biking lost participants in 2014, the indoor versions of these activities — running on the treadmill and using the stationary bike — added participants.* (* Data from participation in indoor activities comes from the overall Physical Activity Council’s survey, which measures various types of activity and forms the basis of this report. Since this report focuses on outdoor participation, indoor participation numbers are not included.)

Paddle sports are a bright spot in outdoor participation. Stand up paddling continued to be the top outdoor activity for growth, increasing participation by 38% from 2013 to 2014. Snow sports, such as telemarking (downhill), snowshoeing, freestyle skiing and cross-country skiing, also grew by significant margins.

During January and February of 2014 a total of 10,778 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the US Online Panel of over one million people operated by Synovate/IPSOS. A total of 5,067 individual and 5,711 household surveys were completed. The total panel is maintained to be representative of the US population for people ages six and older. Over sampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically under responding groups.


The 2015 participation survey sample size of 10,778 completed interviews provides a high degree of statistical accuracy. All surveys are subject to some level of standard error — that is, the degree to which the results might differ from those obtained by a complete census of every person in the US. A sport with a participation rate of five percent has a confidence interval of plus or minus 0.21 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. A weighting technique was used to balance the data to reflect the total US population ages six and above. The following variables were used: gender, age, income, household size, region, population density and panel join date. The total population figure used was 292,064,000 people ages six and older.

About The Outdoor Foundation

The Outdoor Foundation
419 7th Street, NW, Suite 401 | Washington, DC 20002 | 202.271.3252

About The Outdoor Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through youth engagement, community grantmaking and groundbreaking research, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors.

About the Physical Activity Council (PAC)

The survey that forms the basis of the Topline Report is produced by the Physical Activity Council (PAC), which is a partnership of leading organizations in the US sports, fitness and leisure industries. While the overall aim of the survey is to establish levels of activity and identify key trends in sports, fitness and recreation participation, each partner produces detailed reports on their specific areas of interest. Partners include: the Outdoor Foundation (OF); National Golf Foundation (NGF); Snowsports Industries America (SIA); Tennis Industry Association (TIA); United States Tennis Association (USTA); International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA); and Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA).

Here is the report: Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report 2015

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