Canadians’ Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being 

March 15, 2021

Context

This report examines the relationships between participation in different arts and cultural activities and aspects of health and well-being, including:

  • Overall health
  • Mental health
  • Satisfaction with life
  • Satisfaction with feeling part of the community (i.e., sense of belonging)

 

Methodology

The analysis is based on Statistics Canada’s 2016 General Social Survey, a representative survey of 9,844 Canadians 15 years of age or older who reside in the ten provinces.

The data analysis for this report includes:

  1. A comparative analysis of health and well-being indicators for participants and non-participants in arts, culture, and heritage activities.
  2. A correlation of the cultural participation index and measurements of the four aspects of health and well-being.
  3. Statistical modelling (via regression analysis) of the association between arts activities, health, and well-being, after taking socio-economic factors into account (e.g. income, age, gender, region, Indigenous identity, racialized groups, etc.).

 

Key Findings

For each aspect of health and well-being, the analysis shows that:

  • There is a strong connection between cultural participation and overall health.
  • There is solid evidence of a connection between cultural participation and mental health.

Strong connection with cultural participation and overall health

This report concludes that arts and culture activities have a strong connection with overall health. Attendees or participants in all 15 arts, culture, and heritage activities examined are more likely to report very good or excellent health than non-attendees or non-participants.

Analysis also demonstrates that overall health is better for people with higher levels of cultural engagement.

The relationship is maintained for the majority of arts activities, after taking socio-economic factors into account. This indicates strong evidence of a connection between arts activities and very good or excellent health.

Solid evidence of a relationship between cultural participation and mental health

The analysis provides evidence of a connection between cultural activities and mental health. Attendees or participants in all 15 arts, culture, and heritage activities examined are more likely to report very good or excellent mental health than non-attendees or non-participants.

Analysis also demonstrates that there is a higher level of self-perceived mental health for people with moderate, high, and very high levels of cultural participation than for those with low levels of cultural participation.

The relationship is maintained for some arts activities, after taking socio-economic factors into account. This indicated a connection between specific arts activities and very good or excellent mental health: live music attendance, live theatre or comedy attendance, and book reading.

  • Source: Canadians’ Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being, based on the Statistics Canada’s 2016 General Social Survey
  • Further insights: Canadians’ Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being, funded by the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and Department of Canadian Heritage.
  • Statistical Insights on the Arts
  • Hill Strategies Research
  • Artwork designed by Joanna Johnson

Accessibility

  • Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being (very good or excellent health)
    • All Canadians: 52%
    • Live Music
      • Attendees: 57%
      • Non-Attendees: 47%
    • Book Reading
      • Attendees: 54%
      • Non-Attendees: 44%
    • Active Arts Participation
      • Attendees: 54%
      • Non-Attendees: 49%
    • Art Galleries
      • Attendees: 57%
      • Non-Attendees: 48%
    • Theatre/Comedy
      • Attendees: 57%
      • Non-Attendees: 48%
  • Source: Canadians’ Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being, based on the Statistics Canada’s 2016 General Social Survey
  • Further insights: Canadians’ Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being, funded by the Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, and Department of Canadian Heritage.
  • Statistical Insights on the Arts
  • Hill Strategies Research
  • Artwork designed by Joanna Johnson

Accessibility

  • Arts Participation, Health, and Well-Being (very good or excellent mental health)
    • All Canadians: 62%
    • Live Music
      • Attendees: 65%
      • Non-Attendees: 60%
    • Book Reading
      • Attendees: 64%
      • Non-Attendees: 57%
    • Active Arts Participation
      • Attendees: 65%
      • Non-Attendees: 61%
    • Art Galleries
      • Attendees: 65%
      • Non-Attendees: 60%
    • Theatre/Comedy
      • Attendees: 66%
      • Non-Attendees: 60%

Acknowledgments

The report is part of the Statistical Insights in the Arts series funded in partnership with Canadian Heritage, Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council.

Links