Investment and Participation
- The value of arts and cultural production in America in 2014 was $729.6 billion, amounting to 4.2% of gross domestic product. The arts contribute more to the national economy than do the construction, mining, utilities, insurance, and accommodation and food services industries.
- Between 1998 and 2014, the arts and culture sector’s contribution to GDP grew by 35.1%.
- The United States had a $26.4 billion trade surplus in arts and cultural commodities in 2014. America exported $60.2 billion and imported $33.8 billion worth of arts and culture.
- Independent artists, performing arts companies and performing arts presenters added a combined total of $46 billion to the U.S. economy in 2014
- America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $135.2 billion in economic activity every year, resulting in $22.3 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
- Spending by arts audiences on goods and services in addition to admission tickets—such as food, lodging and gifts—annually generates more than $74.1 billion in revenue.
- In 2012, 115 million Americans—about half the country’s adult population—attended a live visual or performing arts activity.
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.
- Arts and cultural employment in the U.S. grew by 1.3% in 2014.
- For every arts job created in America in 2012, an additional 1.62 positions outside of the arts were created as a result.
- Artists are highly entrepreneurial. They are 3.5 times more likely than the total U.S. work force to be self-employed.
- Artists are highly educated. Artists have higher levels of education when compared to the U.S. work force as a whole.
- More than half of the artists in the United States (54%) are employed by the private, for-profit sector.
- Most U.S. employers (97%) say creativity is increasingly important to them. Eighty-five percent of employers looking to hire creative people say they are unable to find the applicants they seek.
- Source: The Conference Board, Ready to Innovate, 2008
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.
- 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 resources or contact Paul Pietsch at NASAA.
Updated spring 2017