Statistics in Youth Sports
If you’re a parent whose child participates in youth sports, you’re probably well aware of all of the potential benefits that organized sports can bring to a child. Better health outcomes, higher high school and college graduation rates, reduced risk of drug use and sexual activity—these are only a few of the positive results that are related to youth sports participation.
Unfortunately, over the last eight years, we have seen the percentage of children involved in youth sports begin to decline. Participation in all of the largest youth sports, basketball, football, and baseball has gone down. Even soccer, which had the highest growth rates among the large youth sports, is now experiencing a period where participation remains flat.
So what can we do about the decrease in participation? Looking at current statistics, there are a few things we can learn about youth sports today and why some children have stopped participating.
Though it’s declining, youth sports are still incredibly large.
Number of Children (in Millsion) 5-18 Who Participate in Organized Sports
Percentage of Girls Playing Organized Sports
Percentage of Children Who Play Non-School Sports
Number of Children Playing Organized Basketball (in Millions)
Percentage of Boys Playing Organized Sports
Percentage of Children Playing Organized Soccer (In Millions)
Even with the drop in participation, youth sports are still an enormous part of American culture. Millions of kids all across the country are involved in these sports every year and are experiencing the many benefits that come with athletic activity and team sport participation. Statistics show that the earlier a child begins playing youth sports, the greater chance they continue youth sports and athletic activity in adulthood. Get your kids involved in sports early and often! They will thank you later.
Youth sports participation is affected by many factors including where the children live.
Girls Participation in Sports from Grades 3-5
Boys Participation in Sports from Grades 3-5
As you can see, participation is very different depending on the type of community where the children live. Urban communities have much less participation than suburban communities, and this difference is greatest for young girls. The stereotype of the suburban soccer mom/dad has some basis in fact, and suburban kids consistently have the most access and participation in youth sports.
There are many different reasons why a child quits an organized sport, but there is a good chance he will come back.
Top Reasons Why Boys Quit Sports
Top Reasons Why Girls Quit Sports
The Likelihood a Child Will Re-enter a Sport after Quitting: 33%
The top reasons why children quit sports are actually very predictable. If we would like to encourage more children to play on organized sports teams, parents and coaches must work together to address the reasons why kids leave sports in the first place.
Though organized sports at older ages become more competitive, sports teams filled with younger children should focus on making sports fun and exciting. There are a lot of great benefits to being athletically active at a young age, so it’s important that we keep kids interested, happy, and safe from injury when they’re playing sports. Balancing sports and school work is always a challenge, but with proper attention and support from their parents, all children can have the best of both worlds.
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