Healthcare Economy

This Is America's Fittest City

In 2019, over 64 million Americans had fitness gym memberships to approximately 41,000 gyms. In all, these people paid about $33 billion for those memberships, though many people rarely used them. Some go once or twice and then drop out.

The gym membership movement is part of a larger effort by Americans to stay fit. Their efforts bring only modest results. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 53% of Americans over 18 met its “Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity.” Only 23% meet its “Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.”

Americans exercise for a number of reasons. One is to help control weight, as more than 40% of Americans top the standard for obesity. Others do it for heart health. Still others find that it is a way to get and preserve mental health.

FitRated created a survey of health nationwide to find “America’s Best Cities for Fitness Fanatics.” The authors used Yelp’s “Fitness and Instruction” category and calculated fitness locations per 100,000 people in America’s top 100 cities based on population.

New York City topped the list by a wide margin, with more than 233 fitness locations per 100,000 people. The study’s authors commented: “Without a doubt, New York City prides itself on a multitude of unique opportunities to burn calories.” Of course, the study did not gauge pride at all.

Las Vegas ranked second with almost 172 locations per 100,000. Many of the cities at the top of the list are in the South, including Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and Atlanta. There is no easy explanation for the geographic pattern.

These are the 20 cities with the most fitness locations per 100,000 residents:

  • New York (235.5)
  • Las Vegas (171.7)
  • Dallas (171.4)
  • Phoenix (147.0)
  • Scottsdale, Ariz. (118.4)
  • Miami (97.7)
  • San Francisco (97.2)
  • Orlando (95.9)
  • Atlanta (82.8)
  • Seattle (82.0)
  • Oakland (73.4)
  • Austin (72.4)
  • Honolulu (71.6)
  • Irvine, Calif. (71.4)
  • San Diego (65.6)
  • Tampa (62.0)
  • Sacramento (61.7)
  • Pittsburgh (61.1)
  • Denver (60.8)
  • Portland, Ore. (59.7)

Click here to see which are the 25 healthiest cities in America.