Across the U.S., racial and ethnic minorities visit national forests much less than white counterparts from neighboring counties. This disparity is the most pronounced in areas with the highest share of minorities living nearby, suggesting a significant need for creative outreach efforts.
In Taos, New Mexico, Hispanic residents and low-income residents are less likely to have used trails during the previous year, but those who have used trails during the previous year use them just as often as other (non-Hispanic) residents. Among low-income residents, those with a park or trail within a 10-minute walk of their house were 50 percent more likely to have used trails during the previous year.
In Los Angeles, historic land use policies that emphasized low-density housing and did not prioritize public park spaces have led to significant inequities of park access across race, ethnicity, and income. A fund designed to improve access to public parks could exacerbate this problem unless it considers proposals for nontraditional public spaces such as schoolyards and vacant lots, because there is very little available park space in the most underserved neighborhoods.
By following a large sample of children over time, this study demonstrates that children who participate in recreation programs, or who live a walkable distance from parks, are much less likely to be obese or overweight. These benefits can be achieved through formal parks and programs, but also through accessible green space or other small, informal places that encourage informal play.
Research has established that low-income people tend to have higher mortality rates than high-income residents. This study across all of England demonstrates that this gap in mortality rate is about half the size in areas with the most green space compared to areas with the least green space.
At a sample of recreation centers in southern California, researchers find that several measures of facility condition and amenities are better in high-income neighborhoods relative to low-income neighborhoods. The likelihood that a child uses the recreation center increases 23 percent for each $10,000 increase in neighborhood income, but the authors do not find a relationship between the quality of the facility and participation rates.
A large study of 50 urban parks in Southern California measures park use by nearby residents and other users across high-, medium-, and low-poverty areas, finding that parks are used less in high-poverty areas. Those who do use parks in high-poverty areas, however, on average use the parks more per week, are more likely to see familiar people in the parks, and use the parks more when there are more staff present.