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Demographic Patterns in Canadians’ Arts Participation in 2016

February 06, 2019

Partners: The Canada Council for the Arts, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Ontario Arts Council

Context

This report examines the influence of a wide range of demographic factors on arts participation rates, including education, family income, language, sex, age, and many others. It is the 48th report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts (SIA) series from Hill Strategies Research. The report also provides a rare intersectional analysis of arts participation by women and racialized Canadians.

The previous SIA report, Canadians’ Arts, Culture, and Heritage Participation in 2016, found that virtually all Canadians (15 or older) participated in some type of arts, culture, or heritage activity in 2016. The report recognized that this is a very broad indicator, including, for example, someone who read a newspaper, watched a movie, or listened to music at any point in 2016. This report focuses on demographic patterns in a smaller number of arts activities, including:

  • Attending arts performances or festivals
  • Visiting public art galleries
  • Making or performing art

Purpose of study

A shared commitment to making arts research available to inform the work of Canada's arts community and inform the general public about Canada's arts sector

Methodology

Statistical descriptions based on Statistics Canada's 2016 General Social Survey (Canadians at Work and Home)

Overview/Key Findings

Patterns of higher attendance rates were found for many demographic groups, including women, youth, Canadians with high family income, and non-religious Canadians:

  • The strongest pattern in arts participation is that higher education equates to higher arts participation. Education is the only demographic factor that is important for all 11 indicators of arts participation.
  • Women tend to have higher arts attendance rates than men, except for cultural festivals.
  • Youth 15 to 24 years of age tend to have higher arts attendance rates than older respondents, except for classical music and other kinds of cultural performances.
  • Canadians with higher family income levels tend to have higher arts attendance rates than other Canadians, except for heritage or ethnic performances and other kinds of cultural performances.
  • For Indigenous respondents, the overall arts attendance rate is similar to that for non-Indigenous respondents. Indigenous respondents have much higher attendance rates than non-Indigenous respondents at heritage or ethnic performances.
  • Urban respondents tend to have higher arts attendance rates than rural respondents, the two groups have similar participation rates in making or performing art.
  • An intersectional analysis of arts participation by women and racialized Canadians showed several trends including:
    • Overall arts attendance is much higher for women at the highest family income level than for women with family incomes below $25,000
    • Immigrant women are much less likely than non-immigrant women to attend popular music performances
    • Racialized non-immigrants have a much higher festival attendance rate than non-racialized non-immigrants
Similarities and Differences in Canadians' Arts Attendance Infographic

Canadians 15 or older attended the arts in 2016, based on Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey. Further insights: Canadians’ Arts, Culture, and Heritage Participation in 2016, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Ontario Arts Council.

Statistical Insights on the Arts

Hill Strategies Research

Similarities
Demographic factor Percentage of Canadians 15 or older that attended
Women 87%
Men 85%
Racialized Canadians 88%
Non-racialized Canadians 86%
Indigenous people 84%
Non-Indigenous people 86%
Immigrant Canadians 84%
Non-immigrant Canadians 86%

 

Differences
Demographic factor Percentage of Canadians 15 or older that attended
Youth 15 to 24 97%
Seniors 65 and over 70%
Large urban centres 87%
Rural and small population centres 81%
Family income of $125,000 or more 95%
Family income below $50,000 76%
Bachelor’s degree 94%
High school diploma 85%