The arts and cultural sector contributed $804.2 billion or 4.3 percent to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016. This represents an increase of .1 percent from 2015 when economists reported that the sector added 4.2 percent or $763.6 billion to the U.S. economy. The 4.3 percent contribution for 2016 is part of the latest report of the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA), produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Office of Research & Analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts.
The ACPSA tracks the annual economic impact of arts and cultural production from 35 industries, both commercial and nonprofit. Those 35 industries range from architectural services to sound recording and in whole or in varying percentages are considered to be a distinct sector of the nation’s economy. The ACPSA reports on economic measures—value-added to GDP as well as employment and compensation, revealing that five million people are employed in the arts and cultural sector. Those five million wage-and-salary workers earned $386 billion in 2016.
“For the past five years, the partnership between the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts has yielded invaluable information about the economic impact of arts and culture,” said Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The data has consistently demonstrated the value of the arts to the nation, to individual states, and to the lives of the American people.”
Key national findings from this year’s ACPSA are:
- Arts and culture play a significant role in the economic activity of the country. The value-added to GDP by arts and cultural production is nearly five times greater than that of the agricultural sector. Arts and culture adds nearly $60 billion more than construction and $227 billion more than transportation and warehousing to the U.S. economy.
- Arts and cultural goods create a trade surplus. In 2016, the U.S. exported nearly $25 billion more in arts and cultural goods and services than it imported, a 12-fold increase over 10 years.
- ACPSA exports are driven by movies and TV programs, advertising, and arts-related software such as video games.
- The average annual growth rate for arts and culture outperforms the growth rate of the total U.S. economy. From 2014 to 2016, the average annual growth rate in the contribution of arts and culture was 4.16 percent, nearly double the 2.22 percent growth rate of the total U.S. economy.
- Consumer spending of the performing arts has risen significantly. Between 1998 and 2016, the rate of consumer spending on performing arts admissions more than doubled, rising from 0.12 percent of U.S. GDP in 1998 to 0.26 percent, totaling $32.7 billion, in 2016.
Key state findings from this year’s ACPSA are:
Thirteen states had an average annual growth rate above the national average of 5.9 percent, as measured over the three-year period of 2014 to 2016. Listed in order, these states were the fastest-growing for the percentage of their gross state product coming from arts and cultural industries.
Rank and Average Annual Growth Rate: 2014-2016
1. Washington State:11.9 percent
2. Georgia:11.1 percent
3. Utah:10.2 percent
4. Nevada: 9.8 percent
5. California: 7.8 percent
6. *Tennessee: 7.8 percent
7. New Mexico: 7.7 percent
8. *South Carolina: 7.5 percent
9. Florida: 7.1 percent
10. *Montana: 6.6 percent
11. Oregon: 6.5 percent
12. Colorado: 6.3 percent
13. Massachusetts: 6.2 percent
*These states are identified as rural by the Bureau of Economic Analysis because 30 percent or more of the state’s population live in rural areas. To learn about how arts and culture impact the economies of rural states, go to the Rural Prosperity report below.
- ACPSA 2019 National Summary
- ACPSA 2019 State Summary
- State Fact Sheets Produced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis
- National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ Data Dashboard
- Key to ACPSA Industries
- ACPSA state employment and compensation table (2014-2016)
- ACPSA state value added table (2014-2016)
- Regional Quarterly Report: GDP, Personal Income, and More
- Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account: State Employment and Compensation in 2014 (a BEA research paper)
- Creative Economy State Profiles
- Get the Data from the National Archive of Data on Arts and Culture