Additional Information About Arts Participation

A Decade of Arts Engagement: Detailed Findings from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 2002-2012

Released in tandem with Arts Data Profile #4, the NEA’s A Decade of Arts Engagement provides a comprehensive trend analysis of U.S. adults’ arts participation between 2002 and 2012. Topics cover the major “modes” of arts participation: arts attendance; literary reading; arts creation and performance; electronic consumption via electronic media; and arts education. The study also analyzes rates for specific art forms within those modes, and examines U.S. regional differences in participation habits.

Arts Data Profile #5, States of Engagement: Arts Participation by U.S. Geography

ADP #5 features state and metropolitan-area analyses of the NEA’s 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. For the 11 metropolitan areas covered by the SPPA, this ADP reports the percentage of adults attending a detailed list of performing arts events, including jazz concerts, musical plays, and ballet performances. ADP #5 also features metro-level tables showing attendance at visual arts events, as well as literary-reading rates, for the 11 metro areas covered.

Age and Arts Participation: A Case Against Demographic Destiny

Authored by Mark J. Stern (University of Pennsylvania) for the National Endowment for the Arts, this report uses data from the 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, as well as earlier waves of the survey, to investigate the roles that age and generational cohorts play in arts participation. Among Stern’s key findings is that once other factors are controlled for, particularly educational attainment, the relationship between arts participation and age or generation is weak.

Stern’s report introduces the “index of representativeness,” which is used in briefs #4 and #5 of this ADP [hyperlink].

Educational Attainment for Workers 25 Years and Older by Detailed Occupation

Produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, this table reports educational attainment for U.S. workers in 820 occupations. Although the estimates are based on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), the occupations reported in this BLS table are more detailed than are available in public ACS data files and tables.

In 2012-2013, for example, 30.8 percent of music directors and composers held bachelor’s degrees as their highest level of education. Among all U.S. workers, the share holding bachelor’s degrees was 22.1 percent. (Public ACS data on occupations combine estimates for music directors and composer with estimates for musicians and singers.)

Neither Class nor Status: Arts Participation and the Social Strata

In this paper, Oxford sociologist Aaron Reeves uses the U.K.’s “Taking Part” survey to investigate the relationship between social strata and arts participation. Reeves concludes that arts participation is not primarily explained through social class but rather through education.