A survey of artists

The National Endowment for the Arts has released a new survey of artists working in the U.S. See where you fit in. Among the findings:

Demographic trends

  • Between
    1970 and 1990, the number of artists more than doubled, from 737,000 to
    1.7 million – a much larger percentage gain than for the labor force as
    a whole. Between 1990 and 2005, the growth of artists slowed to a 16
    percent rate, about the same as for the overall labor force.

Geographic distribution

  • Opportunities
    for artistic employment are greater in metropolitan areas. More than
    one-fifth of all U.S. artists live in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago,
    Washington, and Boston. Half of all artists live in 30 metropolitan
    areas.
  • Unique regional concentrations emerge. New
    Mexico has the highest share of fine artists, Vermont has the highest
    proportion of writers, and Tennessee, the highest proportion of
    musicians.

Employment and income      

  • Artists are entrepreneurial – 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed.

Education level    

  • Artists are more educated.  Artists are twice as likely to have a college degree as other U.S. workers.
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