What’s Place Got to do With Art? A Statistical Study Using the Annual Arts Basic Survey

Authors: Sunil Iyengar*, National Endowment for the Arts, Bonnie Nichols, National Endowment for the Arts, Timothy Wojan, Economic Research Service, USDA
Topics: Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Creative activities, Annual Arts Basic Survey, rural
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 3, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In 2016, 34 percent of the U.S. adult population (or nearly 60 million people) engaged in one or more of the following creative activities: crafted pottery, ceramics, or jewelry; created leatherwork, metalwork, or woodwork; did weaving, quilting, or other textile arts; played a musical instrument; did any acting; performed or practiced dance or singing; created photographs, films, or videos as an artistic activity; created visual art such as paintings or sculptures; or did creative writing.

This paper will use the 2016 Annual Arts Basic Survey (a supplement to the Current Population Survey) to explore the geographic, personal, and work patterns of people who create or perform art. The analysis will include both descriptive statistics and logistic regression models to examine the key patterns of American creativity.

For example, adults living in non-metro/rural areas are just as likely to create or perform art as those living in metro/urban areas. But adults living in large metros (i.e., metros with populations of 5 million or more) are somewhat less likely to perform or create than are adults living in smaller metropolitan areas.

The Western Region hosts a relatively high share of creative people—in 2016, 39 percent of the region’s adults created or performed art. Contributing to the West’s creativity are residents of Colorado and Idaho, where roughly 50 percent of adults in both states created and performed art.

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