EDUCATION & RESEARCH RESOURCES
Through our partnership with the LA84 Foundation, the Play Equity Fund collectively is dedicated to learning and evaluation. We seek insight and research to inform our strategies – and maximize the impact of our work in supporting programs and actions to ensure kids have equal access to sport and structured play for lifelong well-being.
Summary: The LA84 Foundation is pleased to present the 2020 Los Angeles County Youth Sports Participation Survey. This is the latest in a biennial report on an assessment of youth sports that began in 2016. This comprehensive study provides both aggregated and sport-by-sport data about the more than 1.2 million youngsters – ages 6 through 17 – who play sports in Los Angeles County. This report offers an opportunity to view youth sports through several lenses including race, gender, age, ability, facility type, mode of transportation and family income. The 2020 report traces the evolution of youth sports in Los Angeles over the past half-decade, and there are encouraging trends. However, for all who are committed to Play Equity there is data that raises concerns.
Summary: Play Equity is a cornerstone of social justice. The fundamental principle of Play Equity is that sports opportunities should be available to all children and teenagers regardless of income, ethnicity, gender or ability level. While most children have access to a wide range of sports, opportunities for young people with disabilities are more limited. The limited sports resources for young people with disabilities is a prime example of the Play Equity gap. In sports, the two major disability categories are intellectual and physical disabilities. Special Olympics is one example of an organization dedicated to providing sports programs for people with disabilities. The study utilized U.S. Census data, interviews with young adaptive athletes, parents, administrators of adaptive sports programs, U.S. Census staff and experts at the University of Southern California.
Summary: This survey shows that 1.2 million young people, 82.3% of all kids, in Los Angeles County, participate in sports and that in most sports the participation rates in LA county exceed national rates, often by wide margins. Although the number of young people playing sports is impressive, youth sports participation remains closely tied to household income, with children from the lowest-income households participating at the lowest rate.
Summary: Youth sports are a real and potential educational resource. Sports involvement favorably influences many boys’ and girls’ academic development. The presence of sports programs within schools should be seen as an institutional resource—for students, families, and the community.
Summary: The Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC) has researched various aspects of adolescent development in Latino youth for twenty-four years. The CESLAC undertook a study in East Los Angeles to learn about perceptions of sport, girls’ role in sports and ways to encourage higher participation rates among Latina girls. As part of the project, CESLAC conducted focus groups among Latino residents of East Los Angeles that included groups girls ages 7 to 14, parents and youth sport administrators at parks and recreation centers.