Natural Resources, School of


First Advisor

Kevin Pope

Date of this Version

Winter 12-2-2022


Barlow, B. 2022. DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS DIFFER IN URBAN RECREATIONAL BEHAVIOR. Dissertations & Theses in Natural Resources.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Natural Resource Sciences, Under the supervision of Professor Kevin L. Pope. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2022

Copyright © 2022 Brandon J. Barlow


Urban recreational behavior is an essential component to understanding both how our recreational opportunities will be utilized and how they can be further improved. By improving recreational opportunities, we can ensure safe and reliable emotional and physical outlets for users. As urban areas continue to expand both in geographic area and in population size, urban recreational opportunities will also see growth in the number of recreational users. Demographics provide the opportunity to further understand and predict recreational behavior, producing a variety of decision management tools. Our goal was to understand differences in urban recreational behavior among demographic groups. To address this goal, we proposed the following question: Does recreational behavior differ among demographic groups in an urban setting? We used demographic data provided by Esri Demographics and behavioral data acquired via a survey distributed to Omaha residents who purchased a fishing license during 2019 to explore the behavior-demographics relationship. We discovered that differences exist among urbanization groups (a proxy to demographic groups), as demonstrated by the differences in harvest propensity, species sought, and waterbody site-choice. This discovery was used to create a predictive model that provides the probability that urbanization groups will conduct various angler behaviors, equipping recreational managers with a collection of decision support tools. This research provides an unprecedented look into how demographics can be used to both understand and predict recreational behavior in an urban setting, and we anticipate the methodology presented will be applicable to other recreational opportunities and urban areas.

Advisor: Kevin L. Pope