Spatial disparities in the distribution of parks and green spaces in the USA

Ann Behav Med. 2013 Feb;45 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S18-27. doi: 10.1007/s12160-012-9426-x.


Background: Little national evidence is available on spatial disparities in distributions of parks and green spaces in the USA.

Purpose: This study examines ecological associations of spatial access to parks and green spaces with percentages of black, Hispanic, and low-income residents across the urban-rural continuum in the conterminous USA.

Methods: Census tract-level park and green space data were linked with data from the 2010 U.S. Census and 2006-2010 American Community Surveys. Linear mixed regression models were performed to examine these associations.

Results: Poverty levels were negatively associated with distances to parks and percentages of green spaces in urban/suburban areas while positively associated in rural areas. Percentages of blacks and Hispanics were in general negatively linked to distances to parks and green space coverage along the urban-rural spectrum.

Conclusions: Place-based race-ethnicity and poverty are important correlates of spatial access to parks and green spaces, but the associations vary across the urbanization levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • Data Collection
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Recreation*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data