Activities Outside of School

For school-aged children, participation in organized activities–such as sports teams, lessons, Scouts, religious groups, or Boys’ or Girls’ Clubs—after school or on the weekends can be an important part of overall development, provide enrichment, and contribute to the development of social skills. Parents of children aged 6–17 years were asked whether their children had participated in any of these types of activities in the previous year. Overall, 80.8 percent of school-aged children participated in at least one organized activity outside of school. This percentage was slightly higher in urban areas (81.7 percent) than in large or small rural areas (77.7 and 77.5 percent, respectively).

In all locations, children in lower-income households were significantly less likely than those in higher-income households to participate in organized activities outside of school. For instance, among children in small rural areas, 59.4 percent of children with household incomes below 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) participated in activities outside of school, as did 74.2 percent of those with incomes of 100–199 percent of the FPL, and 91.9 percent of those with incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL. In general, the percentage of children who participate in activities does not vary significantly across locations, except that urban children with household incomes of 400 percent or more of the FPL (94.5 percent) were more likely to do so than their peers in large or small rural areas (91.2 and 91.9 percent, respectively).

In all locations, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic children were less likely to participate in activities outside of school than non-Hispanic White children. Among non-Hispanic children of each race, those in small rural areas were significantly less likely to participate in activities than their peers in urban areas.

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