More than 71 million Americans — that’s one in 3 people over the age of 16 — participated in wildlife watching in 2006. That’s more than four times the total attendance of all National Football League games that year. I found this, and many other interesting stats, in a recent US Fish and Wildlife Service report that describes the importance of wildlife watching to the US economy.
- Expenditures for wildlife watching are equivalent to the revenues generated from all spectator sports, amusement parks and arcades, non-hotel casinos, bowling centers and skiing facilities combined.
- In 2006, the direct expenditures of wildlife watchers generated $122.6 billion in total industrial output. Wildlife watchers spent their bucks on items such as cameras, binoculars and bird food, as well as trip-related expenses such as lodging, transportation and food.
- About 95% of the 71 million people who connected with nature did so within one mile of their own homes.
This resulted in 1,063,482 jobs, a federal tax revenue of $9.3 billion, and a state and local tax revenue of $8.9 billion. The top 5 States ranked by economic output include California, Florida, Texas, Georgia and New York.