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  • Feb 21, 2019 The 2019 Physical Activity Council Participation Report shows overall activity growth in 2018 >>Read More

Report Methodology

This Overview Report from the Physical Activity Council (PAC) is produced by a partnership of eight of the major trade associations in U.S. sports, fitness, and leisure industries. Each partner produces more detailed reports on their specific areas of interest, but this Overview Report summarizes “topline” data on levels of activity in the U.S. The overall aim of this report is to establish levels of activity and identify key trends in sports, fitness, and recreation participation.

During 2018, a total of 20,069 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals from the U.S. Online Panel of over one million people operated by IPSOS. The total panel is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population for people ages six and older. Strict quotas associated with gender, age, income, region, and ethnicity were followed to ensure a balanced sample. The 2018 participation survey sample size of 20,069 completed interviews provides a high degree of statistical accuracy. All surveys are subject to some level of standard error - that is, the degree to which the results might differ from those obtained by a complete census of every person in the US. A sport with a participation rate of five percent has a confidence interval of plus or minus 0.31 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. A weighting technique was used to balance the data to reflect the total U.S. population ages six and above. The following variables were used: gender, age, income, ethnicity, household size, region, population density, and panel join date. The total population figure used was 300,652,039 people age six and older.

“Inactivity” was defined to include those participants who reported no physical activity in 2018 and an additional 17 activities that require minimal to no physical exertion. Data reported for “winter sports” are based on seasons: 2013 year is 2012/2013 season, 2014 year is 2013/2014 season, 2015 year is 2014/2015 season, 2016 year is 2015/2016 season, 2017 year is 2016/2017 season, and 2018 year is 2017/2018 season.

Data trends published in previous reports may not match up to data published in this report. Due to changes in the activity list over the years, the data for inactivity and activity categories were recalculated. Included with the data this year are some quotes taken from the research. Respondents were asked to describe which activity, if any, they identify with and to explain why they identify with that activity.

If you have specific questions regarding the methodology, please contact Sports Marketing Surveys USA at or (561) 427-0647.

The Physical Activity Council is made up of the following industry leading organizations:

  • GOLF: The National Golf Foundation (NGF) p: 561.744.6006 e:
  • SNOWSPORTS: The Snowsports Industries America (SIA) p: 703.556.9020 e:
  • OUTDOOR : The Outdoor Foundation (OF) p: 202.271-3511 e:
  • TENNIS: The Tennis Industry Association (TIA) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) p: 866.686.3036 e:
  • CLUB/INSTITUTIONAL FITNESS: International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) p: 617.951.0155 e:
  • TEAM SPORTS / INDIVIDUAL SPORTS / GENERAL FITNESS / WATERSPORTS: The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) p: 301.495.6321 e: and USA Football p: (317) 489-4417 web: