Among the 11 largest states, making up more than 56% of the U.S. population, residents of Michigan are the most active, according to an analysis of data contained in “Sports Participation in 2003 — State-by-State,” a report published annually by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA).

NSGA’s Sports Participation index indicates how likely it would be for a person in a given state to participate in a specific sport or activity. In the NSGA Index, the national average for each sport or activity equals 100. The index is created by dividing a state’s percentage of participants in a particular activity by its percentage of the U.S. population and then multiplying by 100.

Michigan, for example, has 7.9% of the total participants in golf and 3.6% of the U.S. population. This yields an index of 209, indicating residents of Michigan are more than twice as likely to play golf than the national average.

Among the most populous states, Michigan has NSGA Participation Indices of 100 or more in 24 of the 34 activities surveyed for 2003. Those sports/activities are backpacking (115), bicycle riding (132), billiards/pool (130), boating (power/motor) (137), bowling (148), camping (140), exercise walking (100), fresh water fishing (139), football (tackle) (126), football (touch) (100), golf (209), hunting w/firearms (146), inline skating (124), paintball (114), running/jogging (127), skiing (downhill) (113), snowboarding (122), soccer (111), softball (147), swimming (115), target shooting (121), tennis (103), volleyball (105), and work out at club (116).

California (11.0% of the U.S. population) and North Carolina (3.0%) ranked second with 22 participation indices of 100 or more, followed by Illinois (4.4%) with 20, New York (6.7%) with 19 and New Jersey (3.0%) with 18.

“Michigan is well known for its many year-round outdoor recreation venues, and residents of ‘The Great Lakes State’ don’t have to travel far to take advantage of these great activities,” said NSGA Vice President of Information & Research Thomas B. Doyle. “Of the 24 high-index activities, nine are considered outdoor recreation activities.”

In compiling this study, NSGA analyzed state-by-state participation for the following 34 activities: Aerobics, backpacking, baseball, basketball, bicycling, billiards/pool, boating (power), bowling, camping, exercise walking, exercising w/equipment, fishing (fresh water), fishing (salt water), football (tackle), football (touch), golf, hiking, hunting with firearms, mountain biking (off road), paintball games, roller skating (inline), running/jogging, scooter riding, skateboarding, skiing (downhill), snowboarding, soccer, softball, swimming, target shooting, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and work out at club.

The survey is available to NSGA members for $235.00. Non-members pay $325.00. For more information, contact the NSGA Research Department, 847-296-6742; e-mail: