Participation in sports depends on gap between lower and middle families

Latest study by RAND Corporation focuses on participation in sports among lower and middle income families.

The study reveals that parents from lower-income are less likely to encourage children in youth sports in comparison to those from higher-income parents. Extracurricular activities and rising costs are determined as major attributes by researchers.

For the study, 52% of lower income families reported their children from grade 6-12 participated in sports, whereas the number varied to 66% for middle-income families.

The resaerch indicated that although costs for sports had increased since the past five years, 63% public school administrators claimed that school funding for sports was either flat or was decreasing considerably.

Furthermore, 35% families said financial costs were the sole reason for not involving children in sports, the same reason was cited by 42% of parents with low income.

“Most survey participants thought youth sports participation provided physical health, social and emotional and academic benefits,” commented Anamarie Whitaker, lead author of the report and a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. “However, the increasing costs for such activities are often passed along to families, which has become more burdensome for those who are lower-income.”

The study suggests, increased participation in sports from children belonging to lower-income families could be made possible by providing transportation and equipment and also by reducing parent time commitments.