Competing Against the Statistics

Statistics show why Square Dancing has declined.

by John Brant

The numbers of Square Dancers have dropped significantly during the past ten to fifteen years. A lot of Square Dancers have put the blame on many different factors, such as the list of moves being too large and it taking too long to learn, or the dance being outdated for modern times. The largest factor has nothing to do with the dancing itself but how our society has changed in the work place. Over the past three decades we as a nation have been putting in more and more time on our jobs. Also, the number of Women entering the workforce has doubled during the same time. Workers also spend more time commuting in ever increasing stressful driving situations.

According to a Families and Work Institute study done in 1998, hours worked at all jobs for all employees average 46 per week- up from 43.6 hours in 1977. Commute time now averages nearly 50 minutes a day. One in three surveyed bring home work at least once a week.

Recent studies citing government statistics confirm the institute survey. The typical married-couple family worked 247 more hours (6.2 workweeks) per year in 1996 than in 1989. 88 percent of Americans reported having to work very hard, and 68 percent have to work very fast, yet 60 percent still don't have time to get it all done. 71 percent feel used up at the end of the day. 57 percent reported being burned out or stressed by work.

When looking at these statistics it becomes very obvious why so many working people have very little desire of making a weekly commitment to Square Dancing. When people do have spare time they prefer to stay home and be entertained by electronic devices. The statistics show why Square Dancing has declined in numbers and why the average age has risen to that of retirement age.

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