Canadians’ participation in arts, culture and heritage activities reached record levels in 2010 (Hill Strategies www.HillStrategies.com
Statistical insights on the arts, Vol. 10 no 2
February 15, 2012
Canadians’ Arts, Culture and Heritage Activities in 2010, the 36th report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series from Hill Strategies Research, provides insights into the number and percentage of Canadians 15 or older who, in 2010:
• Attended live performances;
• Visited art galleries and other museums;
• Visited historic sites and other heritage organizations;
• Read a newspaper, magazine or book;
• Watched movies or videos; or
• Listened to recorded music.
The report summarizes data on participation in arts, culture and heritage activities during the 12 months prior to the survey, including information about the frequency of participation. Where comparable data is available, trends in participation between 1992 and 2010 are also highlighted. The data is drawn from Statistics Canada’s General Social Surveys of 1992, 1998, 2005 and 2010, in-depth telephone surveys of Canadians 15 years of age or older.
Canadians’ participation in arts, culture and heritage activities reached record levels in 2010
The percentage of Canadians participating in most of the 18 activities measured in the report – including art galleries, museums, festivals, historic sites, book reading, and more – reached record levels in 2010, higher than in 1992, 1998 and 2005, when this type of survey was also conducted.
The report also shows that, for many activities, there was a substantial recent increase in participation (i.e., between 2005 and 2010).
This means that a broader range of Canadians participated in arts, culture and heritage activities in 2010 than in prior survey years. However, this does not necessarily mean that arts, culture and heritage organizations are achieving record attendance levels, as the survey questions regarding frequency of participation are not specific enough to calculate overall attendance. In addition, the increase in attendance may be spread over a larger number of arts, culture and heritage organizations in 2010 than in 1992.
All Canadians participated in an arts, culture or heritage activity in 2010
In 2010, all Canadians 15 or older (99.7%, or 28.0 million people) participated in at least one of the 18 arts, culture or heritage activities. Because of changes in the survey wording over time, trends in overall participation rates cannot be calculated between 1992 and 2010.
Other key groupings of the participation data show that:
• 47.8% of Canadians 15 or older visited a museum in 2010.
• 72.4% attended a performing arts event or a cultural festival in 2010.
• 73.8% visited a heritage venue (including historic sites, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, planetariums, observatories, conservation areas and nature parks) in 2010.
• 97.5% read a newspaper, magazine or book in 2010.
• 87.2% watched a movie or a video in 2010.
• 86.7% listened to downloaded music or music on CDs in 2010.
Art galleries and other museums
Nearly one-half of Canadians 15 or older (47.8%, or 13.4 million people) visited a museum (including public art galleries) in 2010.
Just over one-third of Canadians 15 or older (35.7%, or 10.0 million people) visited a public art gallery or art museum, including attendance at special art exhibits. A slightly smaller percentage of Canadians (32.7%) visited a museum other than a public art gallery or art museum (9.2 million people).
The percentage of Canadians visiting a museum remained relatively stable between 1992 and 2005 (32.7% in 1992, 32.3% in 1998 and 35.2% in 2005), and then increased significantly to 47.8% in 2010.
Between 1992 and 2010, there was a strong and consistent increase in art gallery visits. In fact, the overall rate of gallery visits increased in every time period: 19.6% in 1992, 24.0% in 1998, 26.7% in 2005, and 35.7% in 2010.
Performing arts and cultural festivals
In 2010, 60.4% of Canadians 15 or older attended at least one theatre, popular music, or classical music performance in 2010 (16.9 million people):
• 44.3% of Canadians 15 or older attended a theatrical performance such as a drama, musical theatre, dinner theatre, comedy (12.4 million Canadians);
• 39.4% attended a popular musical performance such as pop/rock, jazz, blues, folk, country and western (11.1 million people); and
• 12.6% attended a symphonic or classical music performance (3.5 million people).
Given changes in the questionnaire, the theatre, pop music and classical music attendance statistics in 2010 are not comparable to previous years’ data.
Respondents were asked three subsequent questions about attendance at cultural festivals or other performing arts events. In 2010, nearly one-half of Canadians 15 or older (47.9%, or 13.5 million people) attended a cultural festival or other performing arts event:
• 37.2% of the population 15 or over attended a cultural or artistic festival (such as film, fringe, dance, jazz, folk, rock, buskers or comedy) (10.4 million people);
• 23.0% attended a performance of cultural or heritage music, theatre or dance (e.g. Aboriginal Peoples, Chinese, Ukrainian) (6.5 million Canadians); and
• 17.6% attended another kind of cultural performance (4.9 million people).
The 1992 General Social Survey did not include a question regarding attendance at cultural festivals, but this question was asked in the three subsequent survey years. There was very little change in the percentage of Canadians attending a cultural festival between 1998 (24.6%) and 2005 (23.7%). More recently, the percentage of Canadians attending a cultural festival increased substantially, from 23.7% in 2005 to 37.2% in 2010.
The percentage of Canadians attending a cultural or heritage performance increased from 11.8% in 1992 to 15.0% in 1998, remained stable in 2005 (15.1%), and increased substantially in 2010 (23.0%).
Unlike prior survey years, the 2005 and 2010 General Social Surveys did not contain specific questions about other performing arts disciplines, such as dance or opera. The 2010 survey also did not include any questions about participatory arts activities, such as painting, making crafts, playing music, acting, or dancing.
Almost three-quarters of Canadians (73.8%) 15 years of age or older, or 20.7 million people, visited at least one of the following types of heritage venues in 2010:
• 45.7% of the population 15 or older visited an historic site (12.8 million people);
• 42.3% visited a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium or observatory (11.9 million Canadians); and
• 57.9% visited a conservation area or nature park (16.3 million people).
Between 1992 and 2010, there was a significant increase in the percentage of Canadians visiting an historic site, from 27.1% in 1992 to 45.7% in 2010.
After decreasing slightly between 1992 and 2005, the percentage of Canadians visiting a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, planetarium or observatory increased in 2010. The percentage of Canadians visiting these locations was 35.7% in 1992, 35.0% in 1998, 33.5% in 2005, and 42.3% in 2010.
Between 1992 and 2005, the percentage of Canadians visiting a conservation area or nature park changed very little. There was a slight increase between 1992 (46.7%) and 1998 (48.9%), followed by a slight decrease to 45.9% in 2005. In 2010, however, there was a substantial increase in visits to conservation areas or nature parks (57.9%).
Respondents were asked whether they had, as a leisure activity (not for paid work or studies), read a newspaper, a magazine or a book in the 12 months preceding the survey. A total of 97.5% read at least one newspaper, magazine or book during the year (27.4 million people):
• 86.4% of the population 15 or older read a newspaper (24.3 million people);
• 82.0% read a magazine (23.0 million Canadians); and
• 75.7% read at least one book (21.3 million Canadians).
Between 1992 and 2010, the rate of book reading increased, while magazine reading remained fairly stable and newspaper reading decreased:
• The rate of book reading remained almost exactly the same in the first three survey years, with two-thirds of the population reading at least one book in 1992, 1998 and 2005. In 2010, however, the percentage of the population reading at least one book increased to 75.7%.
• The overall rate of magazine reading was at essentially the same level in 2010 (82.0%) as in 1992 (80.8%).
• Newspaper reading decreased from 93.2% in 1992 to 88.7% in 1998, to 86.7% in 2005, and then remained stable in 2010 (86.4%).
Movies and videos
A substantial majority of Canadians (87.2%, or 24.5 million people) visited a movie theatre or watched a video in 2010:
• 67.9% of the population 15 or older went to a movie or drive-in (19.1 million people); and
• 79.1% watched a video (22.2 million Canadians).
Both movie going and video watching increased in popularity between 1992 and 2010. Movie going increased sharply from 49.2% in 1992 to 64.1% in 1998 and then decreased somewhat to 61.0% in 2005 before increasing again to 67.9% in 2010.
The overall rate of video watching increased from 71.8% in 1992 to 79.1% in 1998 and then remained relatively stable (78.6% in 2005 and 79.1% in 2010).
Respondents were asked whether they had listened to downloaded music and to music on CDs (or other recorded formats) in the 12 months preceding the survey. The vast majority of Canadians (86.7%, or 24.3 million people) listened to music in at least one of these ways in 2010:
• 75.8% listened to “music on CDs, cassette tapes, DVD audio discs, records, etc.” (21.3 million people);
• 50.9% of the population 15 or older listened to “downloaded music on [a] computer, MP3 player, etc.” (14.3 million Canadians); and
• 40.0% listened to music in both of these ways in 2010 (11.2 million people).
Between 1992 and 2010, there was a decrease in the percentage of Canadians listening to music on CDs and other formats. The overall percentage of Canadians listening to music on CDs decreased from 81.7% in 1992 to 75.8% in 2010.
The question regarding listening to downloaded music was not asked in 1992 or 1998. Between 2005 and 2010, the percentage of Canadians listening to downloaded music increased substantially, from 28.6% to 50.9%.
All 18 arts, culture and heritage activities
The chart below provides a visual overview of the participation rates in each of the 18 arts, culture and heritage activities in 2010.
Full report also available
The full report provides much greater detail about the arts, culture and heritage activities of Canadians. . Funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, the report is available free of charge on the Hill Strategies Research website (http://www.hillstrategies.com) and the websites of the funding organizations.
Subsequent reports in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series will examine provincial data and factors in arts and culture participation.