Neighborhood Amenities

The availability of neighborhood amenities, such as playgrounds, community centers, and libraries, provides children with opportunities for recreation, education, and socializing without going far from home. Overall, 76.6 percent of children were reported to live in neighborhoods with sidewalks or walking paths; 84.6 percent had a park or playground in their neighborhood; 88.6 percent had a library or bookmobile in the community; and 69.2 percent had a recreation center, community center, or Boys & Girls Club. Only 3.7 percent of children were reported to live in neighborhoods with none of these amenities, while 54.1 percent of children lived in neighborhoods with all of these amenities.

Children in urban areas were more likely to have access to neighborhood amenities than rural children, and children in small rural areas were less likely than those in large rural areas to have access. More than half of urban children (57.8 percent) had access to all four amenities, compared to 43.4 percent of children in large rural areas and 32.3 percent of those in small rural areas. Very few children in urban areas (3.0 percent) had access to none of the amenities assessed, compared to 6.2 percent of children in large rural areas and 7.9 percent of those in small rural areas. However, rural communities might have other features, such as swimming holes or hiking trails that were not included in the survey.

Libraries and bookmobiles were most likely to be available in all locations; more than 80 percent of children in both urban and rural areas have access to a library. Children in small rural areas were least likely to have access to a recreation center or community center; this was reported to be available to only 50.7 percent of children in these areas. Among children in large rural areas, the amenity least often reported was sidewalks or walking paths, available to 63.8 percent of children.

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