New Report Examines the State of Parks and Recreation

Ashburn, Va. (April 28, 2022)

A recently released National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) report, the 2022 NRPA Agency Performance Review (2022 APR), outlines the vital services parks and recreation provides communities and offers industry professionals the information they need to gain funding support, improve operations and better serve their communities. This report, with its accompanying interactive and customizable online reporting tools, is the most comprehensive resource of park and recreation data and insights in the United States.

The 2022 APR outlines key metrics that enable park and recreation professionals to compare agencies and identify best practices. Key findings from the report show that the typical park and recreation agency:

  • Has 2,323 residents per park
  • Has one playground for every 3,750 residents
  • Has 8.9 full-time employees per 10,000 residents
  • Has operating expenditures per capita of $93.01
  • Has 10.4 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents
  • Has revenue to operating expenditures of 23.6 percent

The report also finds that 80 percent of agencies have an expressed commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in their foundational documents and 92 percent of park and recreation agencies have hiring practices and policies that promote a diverse workforce.

The 2022 APR’s key findings come from the data provided by more than 1,000 park and recreation agencies in NRPA Park Metrics, NRPA’s benchmarking resource that assists park and recreation professionals in the effective management and planning of their operating resources and capital facilities. The report supports the park and recreation industry by allowing agencies to evaluate their performance against their peers, validate the need for resources and funding, and gain a greater understanding of the current state of the field nationwide.

“The past two years have proven how vital parks and recreation is to our communities in a variety of ways,” said Kevin Roth, NRPA vice president of research, evaluation and technology. “The 2022 APR demonstrates the need for continued investment in open spaces, recreation opportunities and programming for park and recreation agencies, in order for professionals to continue serving and strengthening their communities.”

The 2022 APR helps park and recreation professionals evaluate the performance of their agencies by understanding how they relate to their peers in terms of staffing, budget, and the amount of park space and facilities. Combined with other resources — such as NRPA’s Engagement with Parks report, Parks Snapshot surveys and Park Pulse polls — this data can help park and recreation professionals receive the support they need to provide services that meet the unique needs of their communities.

To view the report, interactive tables, customizable reports and corresponding infographic, visit

To learn more about NRPA, visit


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to building strong, vibrant and resilient communities through the power of parks and recreation. With more than 60,000 members, NRPA advances this mission by investing in and championing the work of park and recreation professionals and advocates — the catalysts for positive change in service of equity, climate-readiness, and overall health and well-being. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit