By the numbers: Top 10 high school sports for girls

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The number of girls competing in high school sports has grown steadily since the 1970s, when participation figures were first made available.

In 1971-72, 294,015 girls played high school sports, compared with 3.665 million boys.

That number increased to 3.224 million girls playing high school athletics in 2015-16, which is still much lower than 4.5 million boys who played sports.

In Florida, 123,220 girls played high school sports in the 2015-16 season, compared with 162,665 boys.

Here’s a look at the most popular sports in the country for girls, both by number of participants and the number of school programs.

Ten most popular girls high school sports, by participants
1. Track and field (outdoor) 485,969
2. Volleyball 436,309
3. Basketball 429,380
4. Soccer 381,529
5. Softball (fast-pitch) 366,685
6. Cross country 222,516
7. Tennis 183,800
8. Swimming and diving 166,747
9. Competitive spirit squads 125,531
10. Lacrosse 88,050

Ten most popular girls sports programs, by school

1. Basketball, 17,890
2. Track and field (outdoor) 16,508
3. Volleyball 15,755
4. Softball (fast-pitch) 15,304
5. Cross country 14,698
6. Soccer 11,676
7. Tennis 10,122
8. Golf 10,046
9. Swimming and diving 7,559
10. Competitive spirit squads 5,432

Source: 2015-16 numbers provided by National Federation of State High School Associations