Understanding access and use of municipal parks and recreation through an intersectionality perspective

Samantha L. Powers, Kang Jae Jerry Lee, Nicholas A. Pitas, Alan R. Graefe, Andrew J. Mowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We applied the multiple hierarchy stratification perspective to examine how access and use of municipal parks and recreation vary based upon the intersections of gender, race/ethnicity, age, income, place of residence, and education. We hierarchically stratified demographic combinations and calculated probabilities for having a park within walking distance, using parks, and participating in recreation programs. Findings demonstrated that as membership in multiple marginalized groups increases, individuals are generally less likely to visit parks and perceive they have a park within walking distance from home. However, program participation did not show a similar trend. Research has repeatedly identified various benefits of parks and recreation, yet disparities by social stratification may be impeding access to those benefits, particularly among those belonging to multiple marginalized groups. To reduce such disparities, park and recreation agencies should focus on increasing engagement among the most underserved groups—individuals with multiple disadvantaged statuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-396
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 7 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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