Gen Z May Soon Comprise Pickleball's Largest Age Group

Jack Munro, a young pickleball pro player, in the middle of a point.

We weren't surprised when a research company confirmed that, as outdoor temperatures rise, so too does the number of people playing pickleball.

Of course, we thought. Why even bother researching that?

According to Civic Science, who conducted the research, the percentage of U.S. adults who played pickleball within 30 days of being surveyed has increased from 4.2% in April 2024 to 5.0% in June.

But that's not the interesting part. Their research also found that Gen Z respondents were more likely to play pickleball in the last few months.

Of the nearly 17,000 people surveyed about whether they'd played pickleball within the last 30 days, 12% of respondents were between the ages of 18-24 -- the largest segment.

Gen Z beat out Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers in terms of recent pickleball participation:

Pickleball participation data in Q1 of 2024 shows Gen Z is the most likely to play.

Why is this a *record scratch* moment?

  • The most comprehensive research on pickleball demographics from 2023 found the average age of a pickleball player was 34.8 years old - so, Millennial, not Gen Z.
  • The 2023 study found Gen Z to be the least likely to play, meaning pickleball made serious inroads with the 18-24 crowd within the last year.

Let's be clear: it's no surprise that young people enjoy pickleball. It's hard to find a demographic that largely dislikes the sport. Even the tennis community must concede that many of their kind have taken to it.

What's surprising is just how fast pickleball is taking over the young adult demographic.

Read Next: From 17 Colleges to 130 in a Year

It took a few long pandemic years for pickleball to really switch from a primarily "elderly" sport in terms of participation to one with an average age of 34.

But this latest research suggests it won't be such a long wait for Gen Z's pickleball takeover. Welcome to the bright side, young ones.

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