More Than 80 Million Americans Report Attending Arts Activities in 2002 NEA Survey, Up Five million From 1992
July 16, 2003
Washington, D.C. - 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, according to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) 2002 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 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.
"We are encouraged to see that ever greater numbers of Americans are taking advantage of the great cultural resources this country has to offer," said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Dana Gioia. "We must continue our efforts, however, to bring the best of the arts to those populations that still are not being reached."
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).
The 2002 Survey of Public Participation Summary Report, a more detailed presentation of the survey information, will be available later in 2003. Additional Research Division Notes and Research Division Reports examining further topics such as differences in arts participation by geographic area, age and educational levels will be completed in 2004.
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency