2.1 Million American Artists!

3 Nov

This month the National Endowment for the Arts released a study that examines the demographics of the country’s artists. Here are some of the highlights:

  • There are 2.1 million artists (defined as the following: Actors, Announcers, Architects, Dancers and choreographers, Designers, Fine artists, Art directors, Animators, Musicians, Other entertainers, Photographers, Producers, Directors, Writers & Authors) in the United States.
  • These artists make up 1.4% of the total workforce, and 6.9% of the professional workforce.
  • Artists in America are 3.5 times more likely than the total U.S. workforce to be self-employed.
  • Over half of all artists have received at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Women artists earn $0.81 cents for every dollar earned by men artists. This gap is similar to that in the overall labor force (where women earn $0.80 cents for every dollar earned by men).
  • To no one’s surprise, New York and California have the most artists.

2 Responses to “2.1 Million American Artists!”

  1. dave November 4, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    these are interesting numbers. the census does not cover, however, those people with talent who have not pursued art as a profession. perhaps this characteristic will be inadvertently added to the definition of “artist”. i can’t help but wonder how artists will feel about that.

    • hellosinki November 11, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

      Hi, Dave! Thanks for your comment! Yeah, that’s interesting. I think many careers require artistry and creativity. Nothing makes me sadder than hearing someone say they used to paint or draw, but quit. As it stands, the definition from the NEA for artists seems broad to me but I love to think that there is one huge family of artists in America!
      I tend to think that there is a vast ocean of difference between people who have talent and those who actually commit to the discipline and effort of a career in the arts. Talent can only take one so far. I think the real key is absurd ambition as I wrote about in my last article for Art21!
      Professionally, I’m covering my bases–day job to pay the bills, night job as a studio artist. And maybe a few other gigs here and there…

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