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Research from the NEA on Artists in the Workforce

There are 2.1 million artists in the United States workforce, and a large portion of them contribute to industries whose products Americans use every day, according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts. Artists and Arts Workers in the United States offers the first combined analysis of artists and industries, state and metro employment rates, and new demographic information such as age, education levels, income, ethnicity, and other social characteristics.


This latest report builds on earlier NEA research — Artists in the Workforce: 1990 – 2005 — which identified key traits that differentiated artists from other U.S. workers. That report found artists to be entrepreneurial (more likely to be self-employed) and more educated than the workforce at large. This latest research confirms those earlier conclusions. It analyzes 11 distinct artist occupations and presents new data on employment patterns and freelance artists revealing more accurate totals for this mobile, entrepreneurial group of workers.


Published by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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