Some sports pundits have suggested that baseball is declining or even dying as our National Pastime, arguing that the game is too slow for generations raised on video and the internet; or that the game is too expensive; or it requires space not available in urban areas.

But the Center’s study of sports fan behavior and the media suggests that baseball is still popular among many Americans, surpassed only by NFL football in the overall percentage of people who say they watch or follow the sport.

Looking at Americans who follow at least one sport in season, the Center’s survey found that 51% of respondents said that they follow or watch baseball.

How does interest in baseball vary based on demographics?


Americans who follow baseball include 58% of men and 43% of women.


Fifty-six percent of white respondents and 54% of Latinos follow baseball — this contrasts with 30% of both blacks and Asians.


The survey found stark age differences in interest in baseball. Of those aged 21-74, 54% are fans of baseball. But among members of generation Z (age 15 to 20), only 26% follow or watch the game.


Interest in baseball also differs based on household income — although less dramatically than the difference based on age. Sixty-six percent of respondents from households with yearly incomes of $75K to less than $100K said they are fans or followers, as did 60% of those with household incomes of $100K to less than $125K, and 63% of those whose incomes are $125K or more.

Fifty-six percent of those with incomes of $50K to less than $75K and 48% with household incomes of $25K to less than $50K count themselves as watchers/followers of baseball, and only 37% of those from households bringing in less than $25K a year do.


Interest in baseball also varies based on regional differences. Baseball is most popular with those in the Northeast (66% are followers), and least in the South (40%). The Midwest (55%) and the West (50%) fall in between.


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May 14, 2018