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Most Americans Prefer to Spend Their Summer Evenings Outdoors

Most Americans Prefer to Spend Their Summer Evenings Outdoors

Sitting on the deck, patio, or porch most often mentioned as favorite activity

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The latest Gallup Poll panel survey asked a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults about their favorite way to spend an evening in the summer. The poll finds a majority of Americans preferring to spend their summer evenings outdoors, with sitting on one's patio, deck, or porch, and barbecuing the most common responses. Ten percent also say they like to be at home with family. Other common activities include reading and being by the water (at a beach, lake, or ocean).

Just 5% of Americans say watching television is their favorite evening activity in the summer. When Gallup asks a similar question that is not specific to a season (Wording: What is your favorite way of spending an evening?), watching television usually rates as the top response or is second to staying home with the family.

The full list of categorized responses from the July 23-26, 2007, survey is shown below:

What is your favorite way of spending an evening in the summer? [OPEN-ENDED]

%

Sitting outside on deck/porch/patio

12

Barbecuing/Cooking out

10

At home with family

10

Reading

7

Going to the beach/lake/ocean

6

Swimming/In the pool

5

Watching TV

5

Taking a walk

5

Visiting with friends

4

Watching movies

4

Going out to dinner

3

Fishing

3

Watching baseball

3

Camping

3

Sitting in the air conditioning

3

Gardening

2

Going to the park/picnic

2

Relaxing (non-specific)

2

Boating

2

Attending a concert/musical event

1

Golfing

1

Going for a bike ride

1

 

Other

9

 

Nothing in particular (vol.)

*

No opinion

*

* Less than 0.5%

Fifteen percent of older Americans say their favorite summer activity is sitting outdoors, compared with 9% of those below age 50. Residents of the milder climates of the East (17%) and Midwest (15%) are also more likely to prefer sitting outside than Americans living in the South (7%) and West (9%).

Older Americans are also much more likely to say watching television is their favorite way to pass their summer evenings -- 10% of those aged 50 and older mention this, compared with just 2% of those under 50.

When the various categories are combined into two groups based on whether they are activities that can only be performed outdoors or are indoor activities (or could be done either indoors or outdoors), 57% of Americans mention a specific outdoor-only activity as their favorite way to spend a summer evening. There are not meaningful differences among most demographic groups in the percentages of people who say they prefer to be outdoors during summer evenings. For example, 59% of men and 55% of women most like to engage in outdoor activities during summer evenings.

There are significant differences by employment status, however. Sixty-three percent of those employed full-time like to be outdoors on summer evenings, compared with 51% of those who are not employed full-time. Many of those full-time workers may be stuck indoors during the day and appreciate the chance to get outside when they leave work.

Younger men also show a decided preference for outdoor activity during the summer. Sixty-four percent of men below age 50 like to spend their summer evenings outdoors, compared with 58% of their female age cohorts and 51% of both men and women aged 50 and older.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup Panel study are based on telephone interviews with 1,011 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted July 23-26, 2007. Respondents were drawn from Gallup's household panel, which was originally recruited through random selection methods. The final sample is weighted so that it is demographically representative of the U.S. adult population. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/28294/Most-Americans-Prefer-Spend-Their-Summer-Evenings-Outdoors.aspx
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