Friday, June 13, 2008

American Artists in the Workforce

The National Endowment for the Arts has released a study, based on U.S. Census Bureau results, titled Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005. This is the first nationwide profile of professional artists in the 21st century. As the NYTimes reports, “If every artist in America’s work force banded together, their ranks would be double the size of the United States Army."

The study found that there are almost 2 million artists, or roughly 1.4 percent of the labor force, and that they earn a collective $70 billion annually, or $35,000 per capita. The study found that men make up for 54 percent of the artistic population, a percentage that has fluctuated little over the past 30 years. The number of African-American artists has remained steady at 5 percent of the artistic population between 1990 and 2005, while Hispanic, Asian and Native American artists increased from 9 percent to 15 percent. About 13 percent of people who say their primary occupation is artist also hold a second job — about twice the rate that other people in the labor force work two jobs.

California claims the most actors per capita, Nevada the most dancers and entertainers, Vermont the most writers, Tennessee the most musicians, New Mexico the most fine artists, Massachusetts the most architects and designers (including, among others, commercial, fashion, floral, graphic, interior designers and window dressers), Hawaii the most photographers and North Dakota (where radio shows abound) the most announcers. In 2005, there were nearly 40,000 people in the United States whose primary job was acting, a 10.6 increase from the previous 10 years. According to the study, out of the current acting population, 45.1 percent are women, 23.4 percent are minorities, 58.6 percent have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the median age is 35.

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