Comparing Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy to Indiana and Ohio

Outdoor Industry Association provides state statistics on the Outdoor Recreation Economy across the United States of America.

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.

A recent report from Michigan State University Extension reviews the growth of the industry and what is considered to be the economy of the future.

The 2017 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 ORE.

OIA has released statistics on the impact of the Outdoor Recreation Economy for each state too, but how does Michigan’s ORE compare to the other East North Central Region states? This figure below compares Michigan outdoor recreation economy to Ohio and Indiana’s data using OIA generated statistics presented in their 2017 national report.

OR=Outdoor Recreation




% of residents that participate annually in OR

63 percent

59 percent

58 percent

Direct Jobs in OR




State/Local Taxes Generated from OR (in billions)




Wages and Salaries (in billions)




Consumer spending (annually)




According to the statistics provided by Outdoor Industry Association, Michigan, with our abundance of natural resources and outdoor opportunities, benefits more so from direct jobs and consumer spending compared to Indiana. However, Michigan and Ohio benefit roughly the same in those categories except for state and local taxes. Indiana benefits the least of the three states in wages, consumer spending and taxes. All three states are fairly comparable when specifically looking at percentage of residents that participate annually in outdoor recreation.

With abundant access to fresh water lakes and shorelines, it is no wonder that the OIA reports residents of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio are more likely to participate in camping than the average American. 

Did you find this article useful?