AZA News Releases

American Zoos and Aquariums Contribute $16.0 Billion to Economy

Silver Spring, MD– Zoos and aquariums around the country generate significant economic benefits locally, regionally and nationally, according to a new analysis conducted by nationally recognized economist, Dr. Stephen Fuller, for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

“Zoos and aquariums are important economic engines,” said Jim Maddy, President and CEO of AZA. “Not only are AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums deeply committed to science education and wildlife conservation, but they generate jobs and support local communities.”

According to the report:

“Annual spending by zoos and aquariums for operations and capital projects generate significant economic benefits for their host jurisdictions. These benefits build from the initial outlays, as they are re-spent across the breadth of the economy.  These benefits accumulate and expand the economy’s total output as measured by their contributions to Gross Domestic Product and respective Gross State Products.  These benefits also generate new personal earnings to the benefit of workers residing in the host jurisdictions and support job growth locally, regionally and nationally.”

The cumulative economic impact of the 212 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums in the U.S. as they serve more than 179 million annual visitors is as follows:

$16.0 billion in economic activity (contribution to GDP);

$4.7 billion in personal earnings (salaries and wages); and

142,000 jobs.

A copy of Dr. Fuller’s report can be downloaded as a PDF.

Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation. Look for the AZA logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation, and your link to helping animals in their native habitats. 

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