Nearly half of Americans didn’t go outside to recreate in 2018. That has the outdoor industry worried.
Sobering statistics in the Outdoor Participation Report show even kids are staying inside. “We should really be concerned as a nation that we are becoming an indoor nation,” Outdoor Foundation boss Lise Aangeenbrug says.
For the glass-half-full crowd that makes up the outdoor industry, the results of the latest outdoor participation survey are sobering.
Outdoor businesses need people to get outside, but almost half of Americans don’t venture outdoors to play. The steady decline in participation threatens not just the bottom line but the outdoor industry’s mission to collectively steer policy on critical issues like climate change, environmental protection and public lands.
While the Outdoor Foundation’s 2019 Outdoor Participation Report showed that while a bit more than half of Americans went outside to play at least once in 2018, nearly half did not go outside for recreation at all. Americans went on 1 billion fewer outdoor outings in 2018 than they did in 2008. The number of adolescents ages 6 to 12 who recreate outdoors has fallen four years in a row, dropping more than 3% since 2007.
The number of outings for kids has fallen 15% since 2012. The number of moderate outdoor recreation participants declined, and only 18% of Americans played outside at least once a week.
“It’s not just the outdoor industry that should care about this,” said Lise Aangeenbrug, the executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. “Study after study indicates that time spent outdoors, particularly active time outdoors, can help us improve our mental health, physical health, academic outcomes and more. We should really be concerned as a nation that we are becoming an indoor nation.”
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When the Braidwood Condominiums in Winter Park were built in the 1980s, the building lacked hallways wide enough for wheelchairs, walls between units were slim and the fire suppression system couldn’t compare to modern requirements.