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Participants in tackle football in the U.S. from 2006 to 2018

The number of people over the age of six participating in tackle football in the United States amounted to approximately 5.16 million in 2018.

Tackle football vs flag football

Football is a popular recreational sport in the United States - for adults, adolescents and children alike. Played with almost the same rules as professional football, children can start playing tackle football around the age of five. Over the past few years, there has been a decline in the number of people participating in tackle football. Comparatively, more and more people have been turning to flag football, where rather than tackling players to the ground (as done in tackle football) the defensive team must remove a flag from the player carrying the ball. In 2018, the number of participants in flag football was approximately 6.57 million, a number that has risen steadily over the past five years.

Too old for outdoor activities?

It would seem that children participate more often in outdoor activities than people of older age groups do. A survey found that 61 percent of the respondents aged six to 12 participated at least once in an outdoor activity in 2017. Meanwhile, respondents aged 45 and older amounted to less than 40 percent.

Number of participants in tackle football in the United States from 2006 to 2018

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

2006 to 2018

Number of respondents

20,069 respondents

Age group

6 years and older

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

A weighting technique was used to balance the data to reflect the total U.S. population ages six and above.
A participant was defined as an individual who took part in the activity at least once in the given year.
Data for 2009 was collected in January and February 2010 (Data for 2010 in January / February 2011). Information on survey dates for 2006 to 2008 were not given.

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