Through innovative research conducted by the University of Michigan Economic Growth Institute (EGI) in collaboration with the American Camp Association (ACA), 2023 national and state camp trends were collected to uncover the camp industry’s significant economic impacts across the United States.


According to the study from the University of Michigan and ACA, the total economic impact of the camp industry on the state of New Jersey is $1.1 billion. In addition to $414 million in direct output impacts, the camp industry in New Jersey supports $704 million in output through business-to-business and employee-related purchases. The U.S. youth camp industry as a whole contributes $70 billion to the national economy, according to a news release.

1,273 camp programs in New Jersey employ 56,506 people full-time, part-time, and seasonally. Nationally, the camp industry employs 986,428 workers.
The camp industry is vital in fostering youth development and workforce skills throughout the state and country.

Study Reveals

The study revealed that the New Jersey youth camp industry’s total annual economic impact is significant, with $396 million in labor income attributed to a combination of direct, indirect, and induced impacts.

  • Direct impacts: These are the immediate economic contributions from the industry’s core operation. They include camp staff wages and the money spent to operate the camps.
  • Indirect impacts: These effects come from camps buying goods and services from other businesses, which creates a spending chain that boosts economic activity across sectors.
  • Induced impacts: This is the economic activity that occurs when employees from the camps and the businesses supplying them spend their wages, which further stimulates economic growth.

Crane and McClain to date have compiled an extensive dataset on day and overnight camp operations, encompassing more than 20,000 records and survey data from 1,137 camp operations. The comprehensive study enabled researchers to assess economic impacts both nationally and on a state-by-state basis.

“This project is the first national economic impact study for the industry conducted since 1982 and builds on state-level and regional economic impact analyses conducted over the last 15 years,” said Sarah Crane, director of research at U-M’s Economic Growth Institute, who conducted the study with EGI Research Project Manager Eli McClain.


“The research conducted in this study demonstrates that youth camping is an economically significant industry in the state of New Jersey,” said Alicia Skovera, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ. “Besides the impact on the economy, the long-term impact of summer camp is that it provides young people with long-lasting social and emotional benefits.”

Source: American Camp Asociation, NY and NJ