A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada

Based on the 2006 Census

This report 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 number of artists is slightly larger than the number of Canadians directly employed in the automotive industry (135,000).

The report reveals 10 key facts about the working lives of artists in Canada.

1. The average earnings of artists are very low.
2. A typical artist in Canada earns less than half the typical earnings of all Canadian workers.
3. Artists' earnings decreased, even before the current recession.
4. There are more female than male artists, yet women artists earn much less than men.
5. Aboriginal and visible minority artists have particularly low earnings.
6. Economic returns to higher education are much lower for artists than for other workers.
7. Many artists are self-employed.
8. There are relatively few opportunities for full-time work in the arts.
9. There has been substantial growth in the number of artists since 1971, but the rate of growth is decreasing.
10. Artists, as a group, are becoming more diverse, older and better educated.

The broader cultural sector (including artists) has about 609,000 workers and comprises 3.3% of the overall labour force in Canada. One in every 30 people in Canada has a cultural occupation. This is about double the level of employment in the forestry sector in Canada (300,000) and more than double the level of employment in Canadian banks (257,000).

The Executive Summary and full reports are available below.

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