At A Glance

Noteworthy Characteristics

  • Survey is unique in its focus on active and passive recreational activities engaged in by individuals.
  • Main survey of individuals ages 16 years and older indicates whether the household includes children younger than age 16, providing an indicator of outdoor activity modeling by adults in households with children.
  • Lifestyle module includes questions relevant to diet and physical activity practices within the household.
  • Provides information on barriers to outdoor activity, such as safety concerns, and participation in indoor active and passive recreational activities.
  • Uses Census Bureau survey protocols.
  • Trend data available.

Website

http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/trends/Nsre/nsre2.html

Purpose

To collect data about participation in outdoor recreational activities, and related behaviors and attitudes for individuals in the United States (US).

Target Population

Civilian, non-institutionalized individuals ages 16 years and older in the US.

Conducted

Began in 1960 as the National Recreation Survey (renamed in 1994-1995). Conducted periodically (1960, 1965, 1970, 1972, 1977, 1982-1983, 1994-1995, 1999-2001, and 2005-2011). Most recent year conducted was 2010.

Sponsor

National Forest Service, US Department of Agriculture

Special Note(s)

Contact:

Dr. Ken Cordell
USDA Forest Service
Southern Research Station, SRS-4901
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
320 Green Street
Athens, GA 306079

Sampling

Sample Design

Cross-sectional, random sampling. Learn more about the NSRE sampling design.

Sample Size

Approximately 30,000 individuals total over five years, from 2005 to 2010.

Key Variables

Demographic

NameMethods of Assessment
SexInterview/questionnaire
Age groupInterview/questionnaire
Race/ethnicityInterview/questionnaire
Citizenship and country of originInterview/questionnaire
Children in the household younger than 16 years and younger than 6 yearsInterview/questionnaire
Number of household members by age, sex, and family statusInterview/questionnaire
Education levelInterview/questionnaire
Occupation and employment statusInterview/questionnaire
Rural/urban residenceInterview/questionnaire
Age of child (bicycle helmet use module and National Kids Survey)Interview/questionnaire
Gender of child (bicycle helmet use module and National Kids Survey)Interview/questionnaire
Race/ethnicity of child (National Kids Survey)Interview/questionnaire
Household income Interview/questionnaire

Diet-Related

NameMethods of Assessment
Eat out or order take out at least twice a weekInterview/questionnaire
Most of the meals cooked at homeInterview/questionnaire
Grow vegetables or fruit in gardenInterview/questionnaire

Physical Activity-Related

NameMethods of Assessment
Number of days participated in specific outdoor recreational activity (e.g., walking, hiking, kayaking, backpacking, snowboarding) during the past yearInterview/questionnaire
Favorite outdoor activitiesInterview/questionnaire
Constraints on outdoor activities (e.g., lack of money; lack of time due to work, family, or other obligations; health restrictions; lack of companion for activity; inadequate transportation; pollution)Interview/questionnaire
Children’s bicycle use in past yearInterview/questionnaire
Frequency of child’s bicycle riding in past monthInterview/questionnaire
Children’s bicycle helmet ownership Interview/questionnaire
Exercise at least 3 times a weekInterview/questionnaire
TV watching 3 or more hours per dayInterview/questionnaire
Take frequent walks in neighborhoodInterview/questionnaire
Ride a bicycle to work or for other transportation Interview/questionnaire

Other

NameMethods of Assessment
Devote most of lifestyle to raising children under the age of 12Interview/questionnaire

Special Note(s)

Not all variables are included in all iterations of the survey. Outdoor recreation participation and demographics are the only core variables that are always included.

Data Access and Cost

Data Availability

Obtain data by completing (with signature) a "Certification Agreement for Access" and "User Analysis Plan". Submit forms to:

Dr. Ken Cordell
USDA Forest Service
Southern Research Station, SRS-4901
Forestry Sciences Laboratory
320 Green Street
Athens, GA 306079

Cost

Free of charge.

Geocode/Linkage

Geocode Variable(s)

Region, county, zip code.

Existing Linkages

None found.

Selected Publications

Physical Activity-Related

Cordell HK and Green GT. National Kids Survey Part IV: Favorite Activities for Spending Time Outdoors. Internet Information Series (IRIS) Research Report. Athens (GA): University of Georgia, September 2009.

Cordell HK, Betz CJ, Green GT, Dunleavy PG. Part V: Kids Outdoors Summary. Internet Information Series (IRIS) Research Report. Athens (GA): University of Georgia, July 2010.

Cordell HK, Betz CJ, Green GT. National Kids Survey Part III: What do kids do outdoors? Internet Information Series (IRIS) Research Report. Athens (GA): University of Georgia, June 2009.

Cordell HK, Betz CJ, Green GT. Nature-based outdoor recreation trends and wilderness. International Journal of Wilderness 2008;14(2):7-13.

Cordell HK, Green GT, Betz CJ. Long-term National Trends in Outdoor Recreation Activity Participation—1980 to Now Internet Information Series (IRIS) Research Report. Athens (GA): University of Georgia, May 2009.

Cordell HK. The latest on trends in nature-based outdoor recreation. Forest History Today 2008:4-10.

Methods

Cordell HK, Betz CJ, Green GT, Mou S, Leeworthy VR, Wiley PC, Barry JJ, Hellerstein D. Outdoor recreation for 21st century America: A report to the nation: the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment. State College, PA: Venture Publishing, 2004. 293 pages.

Schuett MA, Warnick RB, Lu J. A qualitative analysis of national outdoor recreation surveys. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 2009;27(2):46-59.

Resources