Customer Diversity And The Future Demand For Outdoor Recreation
A supporting technical document for the 1993 Update of the 1989 RPA
Changes in the composition of the U.S. population may alter the demand
for outdoor recreation in the future. Several demographic changes are likely to affect
future recreation demand and participation: the average age is increasing, the proportion
of racial and ethnic minorities is increasing, and the proportion of urban residents is
increasing. This study reviewed and analyzed the relationship between recreation
participation and changing demographics.
Highlights include the following:
- Leveling of participation rates in most activities seems to occur as the
individual reaches middle age. Participation in physically strenuous activities starts to
decline at early ages, with participation in other activities beginning to decline later
in life. Exceptions are walking and observing nature, which are enjoyed by people of all
- Significant differences in recreation participation occur between
different racial and ethnic groups. For example, Caucasians and Hispanics had
significantly higher participation rates than African Americans in almost all recreation
activities. Participation rates for athletic activities are higher for African Americans
and Hispanics than for Caucasians.
- Rural residents are more likely to participate in activities associated
with wildland areas than their urban counterparts. Urban residents are more likely to
participate in activities requiring specialized facilities. These differences reflect the
availability of recreation opportunities in close proximity.
- The implications of demographic changes for future recreation behavior
are difficult to predict. Recreation resource managers may face reduced growth in the
number of customers, increased customer diversity, and changing demands for activities,
the design of settings and facilities, and visitor programs.
Dwyer, John F. 1994. Customer diversity and the future demand for
outdoor recreation. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM252. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 58 p.