Our Survey Research of Sports-Based Youth Development in the U.S.

The community of organizations and individuals providing sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs for children from low income, underserved communities is diverse and growing. However, these youth sports programs collectively are not well documented and thus known.

YSCN is conducting its latest national survey to measure the impact of the coronavirus on these valuable programs. YSCN is using UpMetrics impact analytics platform and data services to conduct the survey. The survey is assessing the collective benefits of these programs prior to COVID-19 as well as the pandemic's subsequent impact on them.

This survey and research initiative is being supported by a variety of foundations and multi-location SBYD programs to ensure a much larger national participation of these programs than its first national survey research conducted in 2017 -- see more below.

Click here to review a PDF of the 2020 survey.

If you are a sports program serving youth in the US that qualify for free or reduced price Federal School Lunch, please contact Rob Smith at [email protected] for the link to take the survey.

The Youth Sports Collaborative Network launched as its first initiative a national  online survey to quantify the breadth of these efforts in the U.S. The survey was open from February 1 – May 8, 2017.  64 SBYD programs located in 13 states and 25 cities/towns answered the survey and provided 26 different types of sports and fitness activities -- summary details below.

Click for 2017 Survey Results Infographic

The complete 2017 survey results are detailed in the 2017 report, The First Annual State of Sports-Based Youth Development in the U.S. - Helping America's Most Vulnerable Children. Members receive a copy of this survey for free.  

Based on the results of a 2017 online survey, the Youth Sports Collaborative Network found that 72% of these 64 organizations had more children in their sports/fitness programs for 2016 than 2015. Further these 72% led to a 26% increase in the total number of low-income children being served in 2016.

These results are in contrast to other research showing decline in youth sport/fitness participation. For example, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association found that in 2008, 30.2% of youth ages 6 to 12 were active to a healthy level through sports, organized or unstructured; by 2016 that number had dropped to 24.8%. More research on the decline of youth sports participation in the U.S.. and the affect of this decline on the increase in youth obesity can be found in the YSCN research report.

Additional aggregate survey results include:

  • Age ranges of children participating in the programs and a listing of the 26 individual sport/fitness activities being offered,
  • Number of weeks during a year and minutes/day(s) a week sports/fitness program(s) being offered,
  • Other forms of youth development support such as academic, mentorship, and outpatient clinical support, 
  • Location of facilities/fields used to deliver the programs, and
  • Sources of funding for programs.

Report also provides additional statistics on and links to U.S. youth sports participation and youth obesity data compiled by the U.S. Center for Disease Control. 

YSCN members and all 64 organizations/individuals that took the survey receive a free PDF copy.  Go to Member Benefits for details on membership. Government officials, press and bloggers may request a free copy by contacting [email protected].

All others may purchase the report as a PDF at a price based on the buyer's use – used only by the individual ($15) or used by an entire organization ($45) which can be shared with employees and board directors for the purchasing organization.

To purchase report please send an e-mail to [email protected] and indicate whether report's use is for personal or organizational use.