Access to Recreation Centers Enhances Communities, Survey Finds

(June 4, 2019)

Fifty-seven percent of park and recreation agencies nationwide provide access to recreation centers

Ashburn, Va. (June 4, 2019) — According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the vast majority (91 percent) of Americans agree that easy access to local recreation and community centers enhances their neighborhoods. This includes low-/no-cost fitness and educational opportunities typically offered at these facilities.

People of all ages agree access to recreation or community centers is important, with millennials (95 percent) most likely to agree, followed by Gen Xers and baby boomers (90 percent). Women are most likely to “completely” agree with this sentiment: 42 percent versus 34 percent of men.  

“At the heart of vibrant neighborhoods are community and recreation centers, where people of differing interests, abilities and financial means are welcome,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of professional development, research and technology. “These coveted resources provide people of all ages and abilities with opportunities that improve quality of life and build a sense of community.”

Nationwide, 58 percent of local park and recreation agencies provide community centers, while 57 percent operate recreation centers that include gyms and fitness centers. Two in 5 agencies provide senior centers. Each of these facilities offer a wide variety of programs and activities that promote healthy lifestyles, including, wellness education (80 percent), fitness enhancement classes (79 percent), aquatics (71 percent), performing arts (61 percent), martial arts (60 percent), and natural and cultural history activities (55 percent). Additional programs and activities are highlighted here.

This poll is part of NRPA’s Park Pulse, a continuing series of monthly surveys that gauge the public’s opinion on topics relating to parks and recreation. To explore previous Park Pulse survey results, visit   

To view the interactive charts with the survey results, click here.

To view the full-size infographic, click here.

To learn more about NRPA, visit   


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit