Good to Know: Facts About Pools, Spas, Swimming and Safety

What You Need to Know Before Swimming in a Public or Private Pool

What percentage of the United States population goes swimming during a given year? How many pools and hot tubs are in the U.S.? Which recreational water infection is most prevalent?

We have compiled facts and statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, and the U.S. Census Bureau to enlighten and address questions you might have regarding swimming and safety. Arming yourself with knowledge will help in making good decisions regarading recreational water activities.

  • 01 of 09

    How Many Pools are in the United States?

    aerial view near phoenix
    Scottsdale housing tract. David Sucsy/Getty Images

    There are 10.4 million residential and 309,000 public swimming pools in the United States, according to the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals (APSP).

  • 02 of 09

    How Popular is Swimming in the United States?

    Man about to dive into swimming pool
    Ojo Images/Iconica/Getty Images

    Swimming is the fourth most-popular sport or activity in the U.S. No. 1 is walking and No. 2 is exercising with equipment, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

  • 03 of 09

    How Many Adults and Kids Swim Annually?

    Children splash in a swimming pool. Fuse/Getty Images

    According to statistics, 36 percent of children aged 7-17 years, and 15 percent of adults go swimming at least six times annually in the United States.

    Swimming isn't restricted to residential and public pools. About 91 million people over the age of 16 swim in oceans, lakes, and rivers each year in the United States

  • 04 of 09

    Kids and Teens

    teens in a pool
    Teen girls in an infinity pool. L. Taylor

    Swimming is the most popular recreational activity for children and teens (ages 7-17) 

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    How Many Hot Tubs?

    jacuzzi hot tub spa
    Relaxing in a Jacuzzi at a party. Photo &copy Jacuzzi

    There are more than 7.3 million hot tubs in operation in the U.S., according to a study conducted by Pool and Spa Marketing. 

  • 06 of 09

    How Many Spa Closures?

    cast in hot tub from 'hot tub time machine'
    Soaking and time warping in 'Hot Tub Time Machine.'. Photo/MGM

    About half (56.8 percent) of hot tubs and spas are in violation of local environmental health ordinances, and about 1 in 9 spas require immediate closure (11 percent) , according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

  • 07 of 09

    Swimming With Diarrhea. Eww.

    A little girl peeks over the edge of a pool. Sarah Small/Getty Images

    You may think that swimming with sharks poses a danger, but swimming with diarrhea can pose a real threat to those around you. So, if you're experiencing a bout of it, do everyone a favor and stay out of the pool until your tummy has resolved itself.

    More than 1 in 5 (21.6 percent) of American adults aren't aware that swimming while sick with diarrhea can contaminate pool water and make other swimmers sick.

  • 08 of 09

    Beware the Crypto

    Cryptosporidium (or Crypto) is an extremely chlorine-tolerant parasite that can survive in a properly chlorinated pool for 3.5–10.6 days.

    • Of 49 recreational water–associated outbreaks of gastroenteritis during 2009-2010, 55 percent were caused by Crypto 
    • Of 57 gastroenteritis outbreaks associated with treated (for example, chlorinated) recreational water venues, 84 percent were caused by Crypto
    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    How Long Does it Take for Chlorine to Destroy Germs in a Pool?

    Chlorine kills most bacteria such as E. coli in about a minute if it is maintained at proper disinfection levels (1–3 parts per million [ppm] free chlorine) and under ideal water conditions (pH at 7.5 or less; temperature at 77° F [25° C] or more) throughout the pool. However, a few germs are moderately (Giardia and Hepatitis A) to highly (Cryptosporidium) chlorine-tolerant.