Facts & Figures on the Creative Economy

Investment and Participation

The Creative Work Force

  • There were 4.8 million arts and cultural sector jobs in America in 2014—accounting for3% of all U.S. jobs—which collectively paid workers a total of $355 billion.

Creative Places and Innovation

  • Arts and cultural goods and services drive industries primarily focused on producing copyrighted content, accounting for nearly half of their combined $906 billion value.
  • 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.
  • Creative places are innovative places. The presence of arts districts has been shown to increase the production of media arts patents.

Cultural Tourism

  • Each year, 76% of all American leisure travelers (about 130 million adults) participate in cultural activities while traveling, contributing more than $171 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • American cultural travelers spend on average 60% more than other types of travelers, about $1,300 per trip compared to $800 per trip. Generally, they also take more trips per year than non-cultural travelers.
  • 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.
  • Foreign visitors to the United States partake in arts and cultural activities. In 2012, 28.4% of foreign visitors went to an American art museum or gallery, while 18.4 attended a concert, play or musical.

For additional information, visit NASAA’s Creative Economy Resource Center or contact Paul Pietsch at NASAA.

Updated spring 2017

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