As congress struggles to complete appropriations for the 2019 fiscal year, the Humanities Indicators project reports on broad trends in funding for the humanities—both at key federal agencies and in private giving.
The key findings include:
Among federal programs that focus exclusively on humanities activities, appropriations fell from a total of $2.64 billion to $2.36 billion in inflation-adjusted value from 2008 to 2018 (a decline of 11%). Trends in funding levels for departments and programs that play a significant role in the humanities, but that have mandates that extend beyond the field generally, have been mixed.
In FY 2018, the appropriation for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) was $152.8 million. Adjusting for inflation, this was the largest appropriation for the agency since 2014, though well below its appropriation levels from 1973 to 1995.
The amount of discretionary funding available to the NEH in FY 2018 ($77.5 million) is near the lowest level recorded (in inflation-adjusted dollars) since at least 1987.
The largest share of NEH funds in fiscal year 2017 (41.5%) was distributed under the Federal/State Partnership program, with monies distributed (according to a Congressionally-mandated formula) to state humanities councils to support their operations.
Beyond the share going to the state humanities councils, the largest shares of program monies went for preservation and access and research programs (14.3% each).
In 2017, private giving from corporations, foundations, and individuals to arts, culture, and humanities organizations reached $19.5 billion—the highest level on record, in inflation-adjusted dollars. Recent growth has outpaced the growth in total giving to all organizations.
Direct to Updated Reports (August 2018)