Situation of artists

Volume: 7 Issue: 10

Legacy ID (armUID): 
In this issue: A number of recent reports have examined the situation of artists. This issue of the Arts Research Monitor reviews five reports from Canada and the U.S. concerning the number of artists, their earnings and other characteristics of artists' working lives.
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  • NEA Research Note #97
    Using unpublished labour statistics, this report finds that artists have particularly "high unemployment rates and discouraging job prospects" in the U.S. during the current recession.
  • Based on the 2006 Census

    This report from Hill Strategies Research shows that there are 140,000 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May 2006. The report indicates that the number of artists is slightly larger than the number of Canadians directly employed in the automotive industry (135,000). The report highlights the relatively low earnings of artists.

  • Based on the 2006 Census

    Like the report on artists in the country as a whole, this report from Hill Strategies Research examines the situation of artists, with a focus on the Canadian provinces and territories. Among the 10 provinces, British Columbia has the largest percentage of its labour force in arts occupations (1.08%).

  • This report indicates that there are about 2 million artists in the U.S., or 1.4% of the overall American labour force. Median income from all sources is $34,800 for artists, which is higher than the overall labour force median ($30,100) but lower than the median for other professionals ($43,200).

  • NEA Research Note #96
    This Research Note indicates that female artists who work full-year, full-time earn 25% less than male artists who also work full-year, full-time. The difference in earnings is much higher for older female artists than for younger ones.