Millions of people benefit directly from the tireless work of park and recreation professionals — from coordinating fun family events and ensuring clean and safe open spaces to exercise to providing community resources where residents can get a nutritious meal. We have always known that local parks and recreation add significant value and benefits to their communities in terms of Health and Wellness, Equity and Conservation. Beyond that, local park and recreation agencies and their dedicated staff also are engines of economic activity in their communities.

Parks and Recreation Contribute to the U.S. Economy

Thanks to the efforts of park and recreation professionals through the United States, local park and recreation agencies generated $218 billion in economic activity and supported more than 1.3 million jobs in 2019.

Beyond the nationwide impact, this report shows the economic contribution of parks and recreation at the state level too. The estimates of total economic impacts include the direct, indirect and induced effects of operations and capital spending by local park and recreation agencies in each state and the District of Columbia.

These are the key findings from research conducted by NRPA and the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University for the Economic Impact of Local Parks Report.

Policymakers and elected officials at all levels of government should take notice. Investments made to local and regional parks not only raise the standard of living in our neighborhoods, towns and cities, but also spark activity that can ripple throughout the economy.

Read The Executive Summary Report


Spread the Word

Spread the word about the economic benefits of local parks in your community by state. Below you will find talking points to use when addressing local officials and others, a press release template that you can share with your local media contacts, and customized state fliers highlighting the economic impact of local parks in your state.


Interactive Charts

About the Study

NRPA joined forces with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University in 2015 to conduct the first nationwide study on the economic impact of local park and recreation agencies’ operations and capital spending. NRPA and the Center for Regional Analysis have partnered multiple times over the years to update that landmark 2015 research. Each of the studies focuses exclusively on the direct, indirect and induced effects local park and recreation agencies’ spending have on economic activity using U.S. Census Bureau data compiled for the analysis.

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