Cost of school sports still a problem for many families

School sports offer many health and educational benefits for kids who participate, including improving their performance at school. But for many families, the cost of school sports is too high – leaving their kids on the sidelines.

We asked parents of kids age 12-17 about their children’s participation in school sports and how the cost has impacted their families. Among parents in lower-income households (annual incomes less than $60,000), only 30% had a child who played sports. For parents in higher-income households (greater than $60,000 per year), 51% said they had a child playing sports. Overall, one in seven parents who did not have a child playing sports cited cost as the reason their children didn’t participate. Read the full report:  Pay-to-play sports keeping some kids on the sidelines.

Over 60% of parents whose children played sports said their children had a pay-to-play fee required for school sports participation. This infographic shows the amount of school sports participation fees as reported by parents in lower and higher income families:

Figure 1: School Sports Participation Fees for Kids 12-17, by Household Income

View full size image | See other health infographics

This NPCH Report was a follow-up to another report released in May 2012. Sports participation among lower-income students has decreased by 10% since the 2012 report. Additionally, nearly 10% of parents from higher-income households said cost had caused a decrease in participation for their children – which is nearly double the rate found in 2012.

NPCH Associate Director Sarah Clark, MPH discusses the cost of school sports and these results in this video:

What do you think?:
Are school sports too expensive? How has cost impacted your family? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter!