Pickleball statistics - the numbers behind America's fastest growing sport in 2024

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Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Mar 13, 2024

Two pickleball players get ready to return an incoming shot from their opponents

Pickleball is now the fastest-growing sport in America for the third year running. The sport, which is a cross between table tennis, badminton, and tennis, was invented by three vacationers on Bainbridge Island, near Seattle, in 1965.

Pickleball is easy to learn how to play and can be enjoyed well into one’s later years, making it a popular sport among seniors.

Add to that its popular "open play format", allowing players to mix and match with dozens of others in a session, you've got a social and accessible sport that's booming in popularity.

To show you just how much the sport has taken off, we've compiled the top pickleball statistics, from player adoption to the growth rate in courts.

Key pickleball statistics

Let's take a look at the figures for 2024:

A graphic showing six key pickleball statistics for 2024
A graphic showing six key pickleball statistics for 2024
  • There are an estimated 48.3 million pickleball players in the United States according to the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP) in 2023.
  • Pickleball participation has grown an average of 223.5% over the last 3 years according to the SFIA.
  • Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in America for the past three years.
  • Players 18-34 make up the largest percentage of pickleball players at 28.8% nationwide.
  • There are currently 13,969 pickleball courts in the United States.
  • The pickleball paddle market size is estimated at $152.8 million in 2021 and is forecasted to grow at 7.7% CAGR through 2028.

While numbers vary depending on the source, there's no denying how quickly pickleball is growing in popularity. When it comes to player numbers, we're confident it's already surpassed the likes of golf, tennis, and basketball. Give it time, and it could even overtake running and cycling as the US's most popular pastime.

"You will find the pickleball craze is alive and well, still the fastest-growing sport in the United States." - Tom Cove (President and CEO of the SFIA)

Total number of pickleball players

There are 36.5 million pickleball players in the United States according to data released last year by the Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP).

The study was conducted by YouGov and tracked participation rates in the 12-month period from August 2021 to August 2022.

Over that period:

  • 14% of Americans played pickleball at least once
  • 8.5 million people played eight times or more
  • 45% say they plan to play more pickleball in the next 6 months than they did in the prior 6-month period

This release marks a large increase over earlier participation data reported by the SFIA for 2021. That report pinned the number at 4.8 million pickleball players in the US, according to the 2022 Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) Single Sport Participation Report on Pickleball.

The report places pickleball as one of the biggest sports in America, measured by participation, trailing only running & cycling:

A graph showing the participation rates for different sports, including pickleball

The pickleball industry is eagerly awaiting the release of SFIA's 2023 report on pickleball, which will show comparable estimates for 2022 player counts.

Here's a summary of past data reported by the SFIA:

Year Total Pickleball Players
2017 3,132,000
2018 3,301,000
2019 3,460,000
2020 4,200,000
2021 4,820,000
2022 8,900,000
2023 13,600,000

According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), more than 13.6 million people played pickleball across the US in 2023.

That's a 65% increase from the previous year, which saw 8.9 million players take up a paddle. Overall, there's been an average increase of 223.5% participation over the last three years.

And here’s that same growth data in a table:

Year Annual Pickleball Growth Rate %
2017 11.3%
2018 5.4%
2019 4.8%
2020 21.4%
2021 14.8%
2022 85.7%

Pickleball players by region

The US region with the highest total number of participants was the South Atlantic Region (Deleware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia) with 1,087,000 or 22.6% of all players.

The West North Central Region (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) showed the fastest growth in pickleball players at 29.8% year-over-year in 2022.

Middle-America pickleball hot spots like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas are among the biggest drivers of the sport's strong recent growth.

The Middle Atlantic Region (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia) showed the slowest growth in pickleball players at 5.8% year-over-year in 2021.

Pickleball demographics: players by gender

Men made up 60.5% of pickleball players in 2021, while women made up 39.5% of total players.

A pie chart showing the ration of male to female pickleball players

Women grew slightly faster than men, at 17.6% year-over-year in 2021, compared to men who grew at 13.0% year-over-year.

Pickleball demographics: players by age

Players aged 55 and up were the largest age bracket of pickleball players in 2021, comprising 19.8% of total participants. Players aged 18 to 34 were the second largest age bracket, making up 18.5% of total participants.

The average age of pickleball players was 38.1 years in 2021. The average age of pickleball players is dropping and declined 2.9 years from an average of 41.0 years in 2020.

Pickleball player growth in 2021 was the fastest among players under 24 years of age (21%). Growth among players 55 and older was slower at 10% year-over-year.

Total number of US pickleball courts

There are currently 10,320 places to play pickleball in the US. This included dedicated courts and other places to play such as tennis courts with pickleball lines drawn.

Pickleball courts by state

There are more places to play pickleball in California than anywhere else in the US, with 1,048 known locations. Close behind, there are 1,071 locations to play pickleball in Florida , while the number of pickleball courts in Texas sees the state claim third place with 755 locations.

Pickleball Courts by State - Pickleball Statistics

Here are the top 10 states with the most places to play pickleball:

State # of Pickleball Locations
California 1,048
Florida 1,071
Texas 755
New York 586
North Carolina 525
Illinois 525
Michigan 465
Pennsylvania 447
Washington 417
Ohio 528

Unfortunately, pickleball courts in New Jersey aren't as common as you might expect. Despite having the 11th highest population in the US, ranks #22 on the list of pickleball states with 284 total locations.

If you want to find pickleball courts in North Carolina, you're in luck. The state is over-indexing with the 4th highest total of pickleball locations, despite ranking only #9 in states by population.

Pickleball courts by city

Pickleball courts in New York are more numerous than in any other city, with a total of 58 known locations.

Houston's selection of pickleball courts makes it the sport's second city in this regard with 51 courts to choose from in total, while Seattle's court locations ensure the city rounds off the top three, with 46 locations.

The table below shows the top 10 cities in the US ranked by the number of places to play pickleball:

City # of Pickleball Locations
New York, NY 58
Houston, TX 51
Seattle, WA 48
Atlanta, GA 44
Denver, CO 43
Chicago, IL 43
Las Vegas, NV 41
Cincinnati, OH 41
Austin, TX 40
San Diego, CA 39

It’s no surprise to see Seattle so high up on the list of pickleball cities since pickleball was invented on Bainbridge Island in 1965, near Seattle.

Recently, Austin has emerged as a pickleball hot spot with the Austin Pickle Ranch, one of the largest pickleball facilities in the country.

Pickleball market size

Pickleball is becoming a big business. The pickleball paddle market size is currently estimated at $152.8 million in 2022, with some of the best pickleball paddles retailing at over $200.

The pickleball paddle market is forecasted to grow at a 7.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2028.

Pickleball tournaments

There were 47 major pickleball tournaments held in the US across 2023 between the top three pro tours: Major League Pickleball (MLP), the Professional Pickleball Association (PPA), and the American Association of Pickleball Professionals (APP).

The total prize pool of pickleball tournaments was around $9-11 million.

Pickleball pro players

Below are the current pickleball player rankings as reported by the PPA Tour. The top five ranked men’s pickleball singles players as of March 2024 are:

The top 5 ranked players - men’s singles

Ranking Player Hometown
#1 Ben Johns MD
#2 Federico Staksrud Argentina
#3 Tyson McGuffin WA
#4 Connor Garnett CA
#5 Christian Alshon FL

The top five ranked women’s pickleball singles players as of January 2023 are:

The top 5 ranked players - women’s singles

Ranking Player Hometown
#1 Anna Leigh Waters FL
#2 Catherine Parenteau FL
#3 Mary Brascia CA
#4 Lea Jansen WA
#5 Lauren Stratman CA

The top 5 ranked men’s pickleball doubles players as of January 2023 are:

The top 5 ranked players - men’s doubles

Ranking Player Hometown
#1 Ben Johns MD
#2 Collin Johns MD
#3 Matt Wright KS
#4 Federico Staksrud Argentina
#5 Pablo Tellez Colombia

The top 5 ranked women’s pickleball doubles players as of January 2023 are:

The top 5 ranked players - women’s doubles

Ranking Player Hometown
#1 Anna Leigh Waters FL
#2 Catherine Parenteau FL
#3 Anna Bright TX
#4 Callie Smith UT
#5 Lucy Kovalova Slovakia

The top 5 ranked pickleball mixed doubles players as of January 2023 are:

The top 5 ranked players - mixed doubles

Ranking Player Hometown
#1 Anna Leigh Waters FL
#2 Ben Johns MD
#3 Anna Bright TX
#4 James Ignatowich FL
#5 Vivienne David Canada

Interest in pickleball

Interest in pickleball has increased 550% over the past 5 years as measured by Google Trends:

Utah is the state showing the most interest in pickleball currently. Arizona has the second highest interest in pickleball, followed by Hawaii in third.

Bottom line

That’s it for our list of pickleball statistics. Hopefully, the facts and figures we’ve shared have helped tell pickleball’s growth story. It will be fun to watch pickleball continue to grow in popularity.

Now we’d like to hear from you. Do you think pickleball can maintain its title as America’s fastest-growing sport for another year? Will it spread worldwide as it has in the US? Will we see pickleball in the Olympics anytime soon?

Recent updates

March 2024

I updated the article with new statistics for 2024.


About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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