A Statistical Profile of Artists in Ontario

Commissioned from Hill Strategies Research by the Ontario Arts Council

Based on the 2001 census, this study finds a number of significant characteristics about artists in Ontario, including:

  • high levels of education;
    * a high proportion of self-employment;
    * a predominance of women;
    * very low earnings; and
    * strong growth in the number of artists between 1991 and 2001.

The report is available from the Ontario Arts Council:
A Statistical Profile of Artists in Ontario

Some of the key findings of the report:

  • There are 52,500 artists in Ontario who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May 2001.
    * The arts labour force comprises 0.8% of the overall Ontario labour force.
    * Between 1991 and 2001, the number of artists grew by 33%, three times the rate of growth of the overall labour force (11%).
    * Artists' earnings are very low, with average earnings of $26,800, 24% less than the average earnings in the overall Ontario labour force ($35,200).
    * Average earnings are particularly low for Aboriginal, visible minority, non-official language and female artists.
    * In five arts occupations, median earnings are about $11,000 or less. This means that a typical artisan or craftsperson, dancer, musician or singer, other performer, painter, sculptor or other visual artist earns $11,000 or less.
    * There are many more female (29,100) than male (23,300) artists.
    * The rate of self-employment is over six times higher for artists than for the overall labour force (44% versus 7%).
    * The percentage of artists with a university degree, certificate or diploma (43%) is almost double the rate in the overall labour force (23%).
    * Just over one-third of artists worked on a full-time full-year basis in 2000, compared to over one-half of the overall Ontario labour force.