- Key findings
- The cost of leisure
- Who spends the most?
- Spending per category
The average person spends 5.27 hours per day on “leisure and sports” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  Bureau of Labor Statistics - Time Use Survey https://www.bls.gov/tus/a1-2021.pdf. The majority of this time (2.86 hours per day) comprises spending time watching TV at home, while the remainder is split among hobbies and other interests.
But how much money are people spending during their leisure time? Analyzing recent BLS expenditure and time use data, our latest study reveals just how much people are spending in their free time on leisure and cultural activities.
According to microdata from the BLS’ Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE)  Bureau of Labor Statistics - Consumer Expenditure Survey https://www.bls.gov/cex/pumd/data/sas/intrvw21.zip, the average person spends $487 on leisure activities per year.
However, analyzing regional and state micro data reveals that these expenditures vary quite significantly depending on where in the country you live. Using the map below you can see how much people spend on various leisure activities in your region (and state).
Median spending across the six categories found that at a national level people spend:
|Expenditure Category||Median annual spend|
|Parks and Museums||$69|
|Play, Theatre, Opera & Concerts||$150|
|Social, Recreation and Health Clubs||$39|
According to expenditure data from the BLS, those living in the Mountain South region - comprising of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico - spend the most on their leisure, totaling a median of $1,398 per year.
Figures reveal that the majority of this annual spending goes towards attending sporting events ($558), followed by attending concerts and other events ($382) and participating in sports ($309).
The second-highest spenders on leisure activities are those living in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas (the West South Central region), where median leisure spending adds up to $954 per year.
Like those in the Mountain South region, those living in the West South Central states spend the majority of their leisure spending attending sporting events ($549).
At the other end of the scale, those in the West North Central region of the U.S. (in the states of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota), spend the least on leisure activities and pursuits, spending a median of $328 per year.
The second lowest spenders are those in New England (the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), who spend $421 per year on leisure activities.
Analyzing state median income  Census Bureau - Median Household income https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=income&g=0100000US_0400000US01,02,04,05,06,08,09,10,11,12,13,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51,53,54,55,56&tid=ACSST5Y2020.S1903&moe=false&tp=false against median leisure spending, it was revealed that those in New Mexico spend the most (as a percentage) of their median incomes. Results showed that people in New Mexico spend 2.73% of the median $51,243 (pre-tax) income on leisure pursuits.
The second and third highest spending states against median income also come from the Mountain South region of the U.S., with those in Arizona spending 2.27% of their median $61,529 income on leisure pursuits, while those in Nevada spend 2.25% of their income of $62,043.
At the other end of the table, those in Minnesota spend the least on leisure. 0.45% of their median income ($73,382) is spent on leisure pursuits and activities.
Those in Massachusetts and North Dakota are the second and third lowest spenders when accounting for local median incomes, spending 0.50% of their $84,385 and $65,315 incomes respectively.
Those living in the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont spend the most attending parks and museums, totaling a median of $101 annually.
In comparison, those living in Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia spend the least, totaling $30 per year.
|Region||Parks and museums spending|
|West South Central||$77.50|
|East North Central||$70.00|
|East South Central||$70.00|
|West North Central||$50.00|
Residents of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico spend the most attending theaters and concerts, spending a median of $382 annually.
In comparison, those living in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota spend the least, totaling $82 per year attending the theater and/or concerts.
|Region||Play, theater, opera & concert spending|
|East North Central||$150|
|East South Central||$150|
|West South Central||$123|
|West North Central||$82|
People living in the states of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico spend the most participating in sports, with the average person spending a median of $309 per year.
Meanwhile, those living in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota spend the least, $45 annually.
|Region||Sports participation spending|
|West South Central||$125|
|East North Central||$60|
|East South Central||$60|
|West North Central||$45|
Attending sporting events also appears to be important to those living in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, with the average person spending a median of $558 per year attending some kind of sporting event.
Similar to sports participation spending, those living in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota spend the least attending sports events, totalling $81 annually.
|Region||Sporting event spending|
|West South Central||$549|
|East North Central||$90|
|East South Central||$90|
|West North Central||$81|
Spending on movie tickets is highest in the states of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, where residents of the Mountain South region spend $65 annually.
In comparison, those living in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont spend the least, spending $21 per year on movie tickets.
|Region||Movie ticket spending|
|East North Central||$37|
|East South Central||$37|
|West South Central||$30|
|West North Central||$25|
Residents of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas (West South Central region), as well as those in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania (Middle Atlantic region) spend the most on social, recreation and health clubs each year, spending a median of $50 annually.
While those in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee spend the least on social, recreation and health clubs, spending $30 annually.
|Region||Parks and Museums|
|West South Central||$50|
|West North Central||$45|
|East North Central||$30|
|East South Central||$30|
The analysis of consumer spending on leisure activities was conducted using Consumer Expenditure Survey  Bureau of Labor Statistics - Consumer Expenditure Survey https://www.bls.gov/cex/pumd/data/sas/intrvw21.zip microdata, analyzing the spending categories for Parks and Museums, Play, Theater, Opera & Concert, Participant Sports, Sporting Events, Movie Tickets, and Social, Recreation and Health Clubs.
Analysis looked at spending per state to provide enough data and sampling for regional medians to be produced. Median spending was chosen ahead of averages to reduce the variance between states and for any instances of low sample numbers within the Consumer Expenditure Survey microdata.
Data was last reviewed January 2023 relating to the 2021 Consumer Expenditure Survey, the latest available at the time.