2021 USPA Member Survey Data
Compiled by USPA Sport Promotion Department
Serving the largest skydiving community in the world, USPA is home to skydivers, drop zone operators, and skydive instructors. While membership fluctuates throughout the year, there are approximately 41,000 USPA members worldwide, and this continues to grow.
USPA conducts a member survey each year to take the pulse of our skydive community so that we can get to know our members and better understand how to continue to provide exceptional service and value to our membership. USPA generally receives responses from about 15% of the membership.
Who is the USPA member?
USPA keeps member birthdays on file, so we omitted this question from our survey in 2021. It is clear that all ages enjoy skydiving, but the bulk of our membership falls between ages 21-49.
Gender is also collected through our system. While female participation fluctuates year-over-year, we are excited to see growth in 2021 to 14%! Learn more about women in skydiving.
USPA members are diverse in the workforce. Careers in military (7%), health and medicine (6%), and engineering (8%) are especially prominent, with self-employed members at 7%. Retirees account for 11% of the membership.
58% of USPA Member Households make over $75,000/year and 23% make over $150,000/year.
USPA members are exceptionally active across various other sports. This chart shows that skydivers are likely to also participate in hiking, indoor skydiving and camping. Other popular activities include running, cycling, cross-fit/weightlifting and swimming.
USPA members live across the world, but each U.S. member is represented within one of 14 regions. In 2021, international members made up 22% of our total membership, up from 18.9% in 2020.
What about skydiving data?
Now that you know a little bit about USPA members, let's talk about the fun stuff: skydiving! The following report is based on the 2021 USPA Member Survey that asked skydivers about their skydiving data from the year, such as total jumps, 2021 jumps, injuries, reserve rides, and wing loading. Generally speaking, after each skydive, a USPA member logs it (sometimes using the assistance of a freefall computer or similar device).
USPA Members all have different experience levels, and sometimes members will take time off and eventually come back to the sport (due to work, families, etc.). The majority of our members fall between 26 and 3,000 skydives, and 18% of our members in 2021 had over 3,000 skydives.
On the 2021 USPA Member Survey, we asked about exit weight and canopy size. The average wing loading from their reported data was 1.26:1, with the most reported wing loading being 1.0:1.
We also asked members approximately how many jumps they made in 2021. On average, a USPA member made 91 skydives last year. USPA members also reported conducting more jumps than any other year we’ve kept record, with a whopping 3.57 million jumps made worldwide.
While all USPA members participate in skydiving, our sport is also categorized by 16 disciplines, which can differ year after year depending on current trends and new disciplines and what defines each discipline. Members were asked to select ALL disciplines in which they most often participate. Unsurprisingly, almost half of our members participate in Formation Skydiving, which is a belly-to-earth position that should be mastered prior to freeflying or other advanced flying.
An estimated 12% of USPA Members reported using their reserve parachute in 2021. Some jumpers reported more than one, bring the estimated total reserve rides in 2021 at 4,762.
Only 6% of member reported that they experienced an injury that required treatment as a medical care facility in 2021, although not all filled out an incident report. This trend has stayed steady over the year, but most likely spiked up from 5% in 2020 due to more jumps.
USPA members reported 252 incidents in 2021, the most received since keeping record and a 102% increase since 2020. Incident reporting has not been a viable source of data collection for the last few decades due to the reporting system's lack of participation. Since 2018, incident reporting has increased significantly due to USPA’s significant effort to revitalize the program. In the 2021 survey, we learned that of those who experienced an injury, 1% took the opportunity to fill out an incident report whereas 7% did not.
Many USPA members pursue advanced licenses as they continue to progress in the sport. 24.4% of members hold an A license as their highest license. 16.8% hold a B license as their highest, while 13.2% hold the C. The largest group of members hold a D license as their highest at 30.2%, while 15.4% of members hold no license.
Every year, more and more people are advancing in the sport of skydiving! Currently only 2.5% of members hold the USPA PRO rating. Below are numbers of rating holders by method.
When we asked USPA members if they attended a Safety Day seminar in 2021, 40% reported attending.
Social Media Platforms
USPA seeks to stay engaged with members on various platforms, and inquired where our members spent most of their time on social media. The majority responded with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, where USPA will continue to create content.
USPA is governed by a 22-member Board, which is elected solely by members. Since 2021 was an election year, we surveyed members on their voting habits to find areas for improvement for the next election. While more than half of USPA members voted, 17% of members reported not knowing enough about the candidates to vote, prompting USPA to research more ways to deliver that information to them for the next election.
Perception of USPA
USPA values members’ opinions, so we asked how well we were doing at our core functions. We were pleased to find that the majority of members believe USPA is performing Good, Very Good, and Excellent. Only 2% of members reported they felt USPA was performing poorly and 14% had no opinion.
Finally, to assist with marketing efforts, USPA asked members why they started skydiving and created a word cloud to help understand the results. Most prominent are the words "Wanted," "Fun," and "Always," reiterating that most folks have always wanted to skydive and made the jump because it was FUN!
After taking a look at who our membership is now, we want you to know, our future members matter to us as well! Whether you're looking to experience the thrill of lifetime on a tandem skydive or you are ready to take the leap and become a licensed skydiver, you are invited to join our community! Once a skydiver, one is always a skydiver, both on the ground and in the air.