Comparing Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy to other states with access to the Great Lakes

With access to the Great Lakes, how do Minnesota and New York compare to Michigan. Outdoor Industry Association provides state statistics on the Outdoor Recreation Economy across the USA.

February 19, 2019 - Author: ,

Since 2007, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) has released a national report every five years describing the importance and magnitude of the outdoor recreation economy (ORE) in the U.S. The most recent edition was released in early 2017 highlighting the growth of the industry between 2011 and 2016. This report “takes a broader view of the growing industry and its shifting demographics.” The growth of the industry tells the story of the importance of outdoor recreation across the U.S.

 The 2017 OIA report groups states by region; for example, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are considered the East North Central Region (ENCR). Those five states together, according to the Outdoor Industry Association, are said to generate $7.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $7.6 billion in state and local tax revenue from the outdoor recreation economy.

The Outdoor Industry Association has released statistics on the impact of the outdoor recreation economy for each state, but how does Michigan’s ORE compare to the other states with access to the Great Lakes? This chart below compares Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy to Minnesota and New York. These statistics are presented in OIA’s 2017 national report.

OR=Outdoor Recreation




% of residents that participate annually in OR




Direct Jobs in OR




State/Local Taxes Generated from OR (in billions)




Wages and Salaries (in billions)




Consumer spending (annually)




Additional information on outdoor recreation economy for  Michigan, Minnesota, and New York can be viewed by clicking on the state name.

According to the OIA research, Michigan wages and salaries are roughly half compared to New York‘s and approximately 65 percent more than Minnesota. Even though New Yorkers participate in outdoor recreation nearly ten percent less than Michiganders and approximately 20 percent less than Minnesotans, their percentage of direct jobs related to the ORE are more than double of MN and approximately 25 percent higher than Michigan’s. In summary, this research shows that New York benefits from outdoor recreation more so than Michigan and Minnesota when looking at direct jobs, state/local taxes, wages and salaries, as well as consumer spending. This could be in part due to goods and services costing more and/or New York does a better inducing outdoor recreation participants to spend more.

The Outdoor Industry Association reports that residents of Minnesota are more likely to participate in cruising/sightseeing by boat and fishing and New Yorkers are more likely to participate in snowmobiling and downhill skiing than your average American. Michiganders on the other hand are more likely to participate in kayaking and camping than your average American.

Earlier Michigan State University Extension articles comparing Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy to other states with access to the Great Lakes can be read by clicking the links below.

Tags: msu extension, outdoor industry association, outdoor recreation

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