Rural Arts, Design, and Innovation in America (2017)

Posted November 2017

This NEA Arts Data Profile includes a research report—and a series of research briefs—based on a collaboration with the Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Although the focus is on “rural arts, design, and innovation,” some of the findings pertain to performing arts organizations in rural communities.

Accordingly, the map below reports the number of performing arts organizations in rural (i.e., non-metro) counties. The counts were taken from 2014 County Business Patterns (CBP), produced by the U.S. Census Bureau. CBP draws on the Census’ Business Register, a multi-relational database that contains a record for each known business establishment located in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico and the Island Areas— with paid employees.

As the map shows, the performing arts, as captured by CBP, are relatively scarce in rural counties. In 2014, fewer than 20 percent of non-metropolitan counties hosted performing arts companies with paid employees. Of those counties, 65 percent are home to just one performing-arts organization with paid workers; 20 percent are home to two.