The Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) has unveiled updated pickleball participation research which reveals that 48.3 million adult Americans – nearly 19% of the total adult population – have played pickleball at least once in the past 12 months. This represents an increase of 35% since the APP’s last research was concluded in August 2022, when the adult participation number reached 36.5 million. The updated study also revealed that the average age of pickleball players is 34.8 years, considerably younger than previously assumed, highlighting the growth of the game, in particular, among people between 18 and 44.
The new research reveals additional data points for demographics and geographics of the pickleball-playing population in the United States.
Demographics – Who is Playing Pickleball the Most?
Avid pickleball players (those playing at least once per month) are much younger than ever stated or assumed. The latest research reveals that the average age of avid pickleball players is 34.8. More than 70% of avid pickleball players are between the ages of 18 and 44; 40% are between 25 and 34; and 18% are between 18 and 24. Additionally, since August 2022 there has been an 86% growth in players aged 35-44, and a 32% growth in casual players (those playing at least once per year).
Pickleball is an inclusive sport by nature, appealing to all demographics, but the highest concentration of avid players are male – 62%. Among casual players, 57% are male and 43% are female.
Geographics – Where Are People Playing Pickleball?
The APP’s latest research also shows the hotspots of where pickleball is being played throughout the United States. The research revealed the top 10 DMAs (Designated Market Areas) account for 45% of all pickleball participation, with New York City and Los Angeles accounting for more than 21%.
The top 10 DMAs for pickleball participation are:
“The APP’s latest research proves that the rapid growth of pickleball continues unabated,” commented Tom Webb, Chief Marketing Officer of the APP. “We revealed in January just how fast participation numbers have increased in the last two years, and now we now are able to answer the question, ‘who is playing pickleball?’. Those people are younger than anyone thought, and there are many more people playing pickleball than has ever been seen before.
“Over the past few years, we have seen this sport spread at an unprecedented rate – from recreational play in driveways, schools and clubs, to competitive leagues and tournaments, to the elite players at the professional level. That growth has brought a remarkable influx of players nationwide - they are younger, more diverse, and can be found in more places than anyone ever thought. Every day we hear stories across the nation of a new pickleball facility breaking ground, courts being built, and local communities gathering together to take part in the sport for the first time – and falling in love with pickleball. As stewards of the sport, the APP is honored to represent the nearly 50 million players who are now finding so much enjoyment from the game every day. Through the APP’s research, we are proud to be at the forefront of understanding the pickleball revolution – not only learning the metrics of how popular pickleball is becoming in the USA, and around the world, but solidifying our understanding of just how far the game has come, and leading where it goes.”