As many as 11.5 million people play baseball in the United States, as of 2011. Youth participation in the sport reached 5.61 million kids ages 6 to 18 in 2012. Both of these numbers are down from previous years.
There are several reasons for the decline, including more sports in which children specialize, fewer baseball leagues in urban areas, overworked children in youth leagues and more entertainment choices at home. Baseball is the third-most popular boys' sport among high schools, with more than 15,700 programs as of 2011. As of 2012, basketball is the number one youth sport, followed by soccer, because boys and girls are more likely to play these sports.