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Facts & Figures on the Creative Economy

Investment and Participation

Sources: National Endowment for the Arts, The U.S. Arts Economy in 2019: A National Summary Report, and U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Data for 1998-2019 (2021)

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, The Arts and Economic Growth (2021)

  • The United States had a $33 billion trade surplus in arts and cultural commodities in 2019. America exported $78.1 billion and imported $45.3 billion worth of arts and culture.

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Data for 1998-2019 (2021)

Sources: National Endowment for the Arts, The U.S. Arts Economy in 2019: A National Summary Report, and U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Data for 1998-2019 (2021)

Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity 5: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations & Their Audiences (2017)

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Patterns of Arts Participation: A Full Report from the 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (2019)

The Creative Workforce

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Data for 1998-2019 (2021)

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Data for 1998-2019 (2021)

  • Artists are highly entrepreneurial. They are 3.6 times more likely than the total U.S. workforce to be self-employed.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Artists and Other Cultural Workers: A Statistical Portrait (2019)

  • Artists are highly educated. 63% of all artists (aged 25 and older) hold bachelor’s degrees or higher levels of education, as compared to 36% of all workers in the labor force.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Artists and Other Cultural Workers: A Statistical Portrait (2019)

  • More than half of the artists in the United States (58%) are employed in the private, for-profit sector.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Artists and Other Cultural Workers: A Statistical Portrait (2019)

  • “Creativity, originality and initiative” is the number-three in-demand skill predicted for 2022, especially as the demand for manual skills and physical ability continues to fall.

Source: World Economic Forum, The Future of Jobs Report, 2018

  • Leading employers see creativity as a critical skill for the future workforce. 50% of opportunities in the job market cite creativity as a necessary skill, and 74% of educators say that the risk of job automation is lower in professions that require creative problem-solving skills.

Source: Adobe, Get Hired: The Importance of Creativity and Soft Skills (2019)

 

Creative Places and Innovation 

  • In rural communities, having a single performing arts organization more than doubles the probability that rural businesses in the community will innovate through the use of design services, trademark registration or producing copyright-eligible materials.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Rural Arts, Design, and Innovation in America (2017)

  • Arts and cultural goods and services drive industries primarily focused on producing copyrighted content, accounting for nearly half of their combined $1.2 trillion value.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, The U.S. Arts Economy in 2019: A National Summary Report

  • The goals of creative placemaking investments are associated with GDP growth. Cities with high levels of community attachment—the degree of loyalty and affection residents have for their community—also have high GDP growth over time.

Source: Knight Foundation, Soul of the Community Project (2010)

  • Creative places are innovative places. The presence of arts districts has been shown to increase the production of media arts patents.

Source: Arts Districts, Universities, and the Rise of Media Arts, Douglas S. Noonan and Shiri M. Breznitz, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology, presented at the National Endowment for the Arts and Brookings Institution’s The Arts, New Growth Theory, and Economic Development Symposium

 

Cultural Tourism

  • Of the 116 million American adults who traveled more than 50 miles one-way in 2012, 32.5 million (28%) extended their trip in order to participate in a cultural, arts, heritage, or historic activity or event. Of those who did so, 40% extended their trip by one or more nights.

Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts Facts…Cultural Tourism (2018)

  • Foreign visitors to the United States partake in arts and cultural activities. In 2016, 28% of foreign visitors went to an American art museum or gallery, while 16% attended a concert, play or musical.

Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts Facts…Cultural Tourism (2018)

 

Updated spring 2020