National Endowment for the Arts Releases Details of Latest Arts Participation Survey
More Than 80 Million Americans Report Attending Arts Activities in 2002
April 27, 2004
Washington, D.C. - The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today released further details of its latest arts participation survey, which measures participation in arts activities through attendance at live events, consumption of arts-related media, and personal participation in various art forms. The 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts also includes demographic information of participation broken down by sex, race, age, income, and education level. Initial highlights from the survey were published in July, 2003 in Research Note #81.
The new survey shows that, despite the impact of September 11th on travel and other plans, Americans continued regular attendance at arts events in the 12-month period ending in August 2002. Almost 40 percent of adults in the U.S., or 81 million people, attended at least one arts activity during the year, up from 76 million in the previous NEA poll conducted in 1992. The survey's demographic information shows that women continue to have higher attendance rates in most categories, as do non-Hispanic whites. Among respondents, arts attendance rose with age, education level and income.
"This information is valuable to those of us who are working to provide all Americans with the best cultural experiences this great nation has to offer, no matter who they are or where they live," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "We are pleased to see that participation has not declined in the wake of September 11th, but we must do more to ensure everyone has access to excellent art."
Counting all art forms and all types of participation, 76 percent of adults, or 157 million people, made the arts part of their lives during the survey period. Nearly one-third of adults reported going to at least one jazz, classical music, opera, musical, play, or ballet performance, not including elementary or high school shows. About one-fourth of adults said they visited an art museum or art gallery. Forty percent reported personally performing or creating art, while more than half watched or listened to the arts on television, radio, recorded media, or the Internet. About five percent took an arts-related class.
Similar to patterns in previous surveys, women generally had higher attendance rates, particularly at musicals, arts and crafts fairs, and ballet performances. In 2002, women made up almost 70 percent of ballet audiences and about 60 percent of adults attending musicals, plays, and arts and crafts fairs.
As with the adult population as a whole, arts attendees grew older between 1992 and 2002. For example, the median age of adults visiting art museums increased by five years to reach 45, and the median age of opera attendees was 48, up from 45. With a median age of 49, classical music audience members were the oldest participants. Jazz concertgoers remained the youngest group, with a median age of 43.
Conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau as a supplement to the Current Population Survey, the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts polled a nationally representative sample of 17,135 adult participants. The complete survey dataset can be downloaded at no charge from the Cultural Policy and the Arts National Data Archive Web site at www.cpanda.org, or a CD-ROM can be purchased from the U.S. Census Bureau's Customer Services Center at 301-763-INFO (4636).
Additional Research Division Reports will provide in-depth analysis of specific topics such as trends in literature participation and differences in arts participation by geographic area. The former will be available this summer and the latter in the fall.
For more information, please contact the NEA Office of Communications at 202-682-5570.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency