Artists and Cultural Workers in Canadian Municipalities

Based on the 2011 National Household Survey

Executive Summary

Artists and Cultural Workers in Canadian Municipalities examines the number, incomes, and demographic characteristics of artists and cultural workers by municipal size.

For the purposes of the analysis, all Canadian municipalities were divided into four groups based on population:

  1. All municipalities with a population below 50,000 (total population of 12.1 million, or 36% of the overall Canadian population).
  2. 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000 (total population of 6.2 million, or 19% of Canada).
  3. 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000 (total population of 4.5 million, or 13% of Canada).
  4. The 11 largest cities in Canada, each with a population of 500,000 or more (total population of 10.6 million, or 32% of Canada).

The municipalities were grouped based on the boundaries of census subdivisions, not metropolitan areas.

In addition to highlighting the demographic and economic differences by size of municipality, this report also provides key data on artists and cultural workers in each municipality for which there is reliable data.

Previous reports in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series have focused on artists and cultural workers in Canada and its provinces and territories. The national report showed that there are 136,600 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May of 2011 (which is when the National Household Survey data were collected). The number of artists represents 0.78% of the overall Canadian labour force. The report also found that there are 671,100 people in cultural occupations, comprising 3.82% of the overall labour force.

Artists tend to reside in the largest cities in Canada

As shown in Figure ES1, the largest cities in Canada have a much higher percentage of their collective labour force in arts occupations (1.17%) than other groups of municipalities. The concentration of artists in the three other groups of municipalities is below the national average (0.78%):

  • In municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, artists represent 0.54% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, artists represent 0.61% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, the concentration of artists is 0.69%, slightly below the national average (0.78%).

Regarding the number of artists in each group of municipalities:

  • Canadian municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents are home to 33,700 artists, exactly one-quarter of all artists in Canada. While representing the second-largest group of artists (behind only the largest cities in the country), the 25% share of all artists is much lower than the smaller municipalities’ 36% share of the overall population.
  • 20,000 artists reside in the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, representing 15% of all artists in Canada (compared with 19% of the country’s population).
  • The 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000 house 16,600 artists, or 12% of all artists (roughly equal to these cities’ share of the overall population: 13%).
  • The 11 largest cities in Canada are home to 66,300 artists. This is nearly one-half of the country’s artists (49%), which is much higher than these cities’ share of the overall population (32%).

Victoria, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal have the highest concentration of artists

No estimates of fewer than 500 artists are provided in this report because of concerns over data reliability. Those Canadian municipalities with fewer than 500 artists are included in the aggregate analysis by size of municipality, but specific information on artists in each of these municipalities is not provided here. There are 36 Canadian cities with at least 500 artists and 96 municipalities with at least 500 cultural workers.

Among the 36 cities with reliable data on artists, Victoria has the highest concentration of artists (2.36%). There are 1,100 artists in Victoria.

Vancouver has the second-highest concentration of artists (2.32%) and the highest among the 11 largest cities. Vancouver is home to 7,900 artists.

Toronto has the largest number of artists (23,700), nearly twice as many as any other city. One in every six Canadian artists resides in Toronto. The concentration of artists in Toronto (1.76%) is third-highest among the 36 municipalities with reliable data.

As shown in Figure ES2, the four other municipalities with over 1% of their labour force in arts occupations are:

  • Montreal (concentration of artists of 1.49%).
  • District of North Vancouver, B.C. (1.31%).
  • St. John’s, NL (1.06%).
  • Saanich, B.C. (1.01%).

Victoria, the District of North Vancouver, St. John’s, and Saanich are among the smallest municipalities with at least 500 artists (included in the group of municipalities with 50,000 to 165,000 residents).

 

Artists’ average incomes are highest in the largest cities

In Canada, the total individual income of all 136,600 artists averages $32,800, a figure that is 32% less than the overall labour force ($48,100). Artists in the largest cities have the highest average incomes ($36,000). This figure, although higher than other groups of municipalities, is 29% lower than average incomes in the 11 large cities’ collective labour force ($51,000). The difference between artists and other workers is higher for the other groups of municipalities:

  • In municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, artists’ average incomes are $30,700, or 33% less than the overall labour force average ($45,600).
  • In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, artists’ average incomes are $28,900, or 40% less than the overall labour force average ($47,700).
  • Similarly, in the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, artists have average incomes of $29,000, 40% lower than other workers ($48,500).

Demographic and employment characteristics of artists by size of municipality

The report examines select demographic and employment characteristics of artists in different sizes of municipalities, including sex, age, education, Aboriginal people, immigrants, visible minorities, and self-employment rates. Artists in the smallest group of municipalities (under 50,000 population) have:

  • The highest proportion of women (55%).
  • The highest percentage of people 55 years of age and over (33%).
  • The highest percentage of self-employed workers (58%).
  • The highest proportion of Aboriginal people (5.5%).
  • The lowest proportion with a bachelors’ degree or higher (33%).
  • The lowest percentage of immigrants (14%).

In contrast, artists in the 11 largest cities have:

  • The lowest proportion of women (48%).
  • The lowest percentage of people 55 years of age and over (21%).
  • The lowest proportion of Aboriginal people (1.8%).
  • The highest proportion with a bachelors’ degree or higher (51%).

The percentage of artists in the 11 largest cities who are self-employed (49%) is much lower than the percentage in the smallest group of municipalities, while the proportion of immigrants (23%) is much higher than in the smallest group of municipalities.

Cities with populations between 175,000 and 470,000 have the highest proportion of immigrant and visible minority Canadians as a percentage of all artists.

Concentration of cultural workers

Cultural workers represent 3.82% of all Canadian workers. As shown in Figure ES3, the concentration of cultural workers increases by size of municipality:

  • In municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, cultural workers account for 2.70% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, cultural workers represent 3.25% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, cultural workers represent 3.77% of the overall labour force, a percentage that is essentially equal to the national average (3.82%).
  • Canada’s 11 largest cities collectively have 5.39% of their labour force in cultural occupations, a percentage that is well above the national average.

 

Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, and Montreal have the highest concentration of cultural workers

Figure ES4 shows that, among the 96 cities with reliable data on cultural workers, Vancouver has the highest concentration of cultural workers (8.54%), followed by Victoria (8.35%), Toronto (7.20%), and Montreal (6.91%). Seven other cities have a particularly high concentration of cultural workers: District of North Vancouver, B.C. (5.89%), Fredericton, N.B. (5.41%), Ottawa, ON (4.97%), New Westminster, B.C. (4.94%), Burnaby, B.C. (4.90%), Longueuil, QC (4.69%), and Quebec City, QC (4.68%).

 

Average incomes of cultural workers

In Canada, cultural workers have average individual incomes of $42,100 (12% less than the overall labour force average of $48,100). The difference in incomes between cultural workers and the overall labour force does not vary much by size of municipality:

  • In municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, cultural workers’ average incomes are $39,300, or 14% less than the overall labour force average ($45,600).
  • In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, cultural workers’ average incomes are $40,300, or 16% less than the overall labour force average ($47,700).
  • Cultural workers in the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000 have average incomes of $41,600, 14% lower than other workers ($48,500).
  • Cultural workers in the largest cities have the highest average incomes ($44,400), a figure that is 13% lower than average incomes in the 11 large cities’ collective labour force ($51,000).

Methodological notes

  • Nine of Statistics Canada’s detailed occupation codes are included as artists in this report:
    • Actors and comedians.
    • Artisans and craftspersons.
    • Authors and writers.
    • Conductors, composers and arrangers.
    • Dancers.
    • Musicians and singers.
    • Other performers (including circus performers, magicians, models, puppeteers, and other performers not elsewhere classified).
    • Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations.
    • Visual artists (categorized by Statistics Canada as “Painters, sculptors and other visual artists”).
  • Cultural workers include Canadians who were classified into 50 occupation codes, including heritage occupations (such as librarians, curators, and archivists), cultural occupations (such as graphic designers, print operators, editors, translators, and architects), and the nine arts occupations.
  • Because of major methodological changes between the 2006 census and the 2011 National Household Survey, data in this report are not comparable to data in previous reports in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series.
  • Readers should be aware that the estimate of cultural workers in this report differs conceptually from recent estimates provided by the Culture Satellite Account (CSA). The estimate in this report is based on occupations, while the estimates in the CSA report are based on culture industries and culture products. In addition to using a different methodology, the CSA estimates have a different base year and use different data sources.
  • Individuals are classified in the occupation in which they worked the most hours during a specific reference week. If they did not work during the reference week, they are classified based on the job at which they worked the longest since January 1, 2010. Artists who spent more time at another occupation than at their artwork during the reference week would be categorized in the other occupation.
  • Unless otherwise noted, the labour force statistics in this report refer to the experienced labour force, which includes all those who worked (for pay or in self-employment) during the NHS reference week as well as unemployed people who had worked since January 1, 2010.
  • Individuals who are employed or self-employed are captured in each occupation.
  • Artists who teach in post-secondary, secondary, or elementary schools are classified as teachers or professors and are therefore excluded from the count of artists. Instructors and teachers in some settings (such as private arts schools, academies, and conservatories) are included in the arts occupations.
  • The 2011 National Household Survey collected earnings information for 2010, the most recent full calendar year.
  • Income sources include wages and salaries, net self-employment income, investment income, retirement pensions, other income sources, as well as government transfer payments.
  • The employment income statistics (also called “earnings”) include wages and salaries as well as net self-employment income.
  • The earnings statistics include amounts received from all employment and self-employment positions in 2010, not just the position at which the respondent worked the most hours during the reference week. In some cases, individuals may have worked in a different occupation in 2010 (the basis for earnings statistics) than the one in which they worked the most hours during the NHS reference week (May 1 to 7, 2011 – the basis for occupational classifications).
  • Artists’ project grants would not be included in employment earnings but would be captured in other income sources.
  • Canadians 15 or older are captured in the occupational data.

 

Section 1: Introduction

This study provides an in-depth analysis of artists in Canadian municipalities, based on the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). The report examines the number of artists, selected demographic characteristics of artists, and artists’ incomes by size of municipality. The report also provides comparable information for cultural workers and the overall labour force.[1]

This report complements recent studies in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series that highlighted national and provincial data regarding artists and cultural workers. Some key findings of the national profile of artists and cultural workers include:

  • There are 136,600 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May of 2011 (which is when the National Household Survey data were collected). The number of artists is slightly larger than the labour force in automotive manufacturing (133,000).
  • There are 671,100 people in cultural occupations, comprising 3.82% of the overall labour force. The number of cultural workers (671,100) is over two-and-a-half times larger than the labour force in real estate (254,200), about double the labour force on farms (339,400), and slightly lower than the labour force in the wholesale trade industry (733,500).[2]
  • Based on Labour Force Survey estimates, there was a 56% increase in the number of artists in Canada between 1989 and 2013. This is higher than the 38% increase in the overall labour force. The number of cultural workers in Canada increased by 47% between 1989 and 2013.
  • The total individual income of Canada’s 136,600 artists averages $32,800, a figure that is 32% less than the overall labour force in Canada ($48,100). Cultural workers have average individual incomes of $42,100 (12% less than the overall labour force).

Because of major methodological changes between the 2006 Census and the 2011 National Household Survey, data in this report are not comparable to data in prior years’ reports in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series. Prior years’ reports used the long-form census (a mandatory census of 20% of households), while the National Household Survey is a voluntary survey of 30% of households.

Recent reports in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series used data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) to examine historical trends for Canada and the provinces. Given the Labour Force Survey’s relatively small sample size, it is not feasible to examine trends in municipal data based on the LFS.

Nine of Statistics Canada’s detailed occupation codes are included as “arts occupations” in this report:

  • Actors and comedians.
  • Artisans and craftspersons.
  • Authors and writers.
  • Conductors, composers and arrangers.
  • Dancers.
  • Musicians and singers.
  • Other performers (including circus performers, magicians, models, puppeteers, and other performers not elsewhere classified).
  • Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations.
  • Visual artists (categorized by Statistics Canada as “Painters, sculptors and other visual artists”).

Cultural workers include Canadians who were classified into 50 occupation codes, including heritage occupations (such as librarians, curators, and archivists), cultural occupations (such as graphic designers, print operators, editors, translators, and architects), and the nine arts occupations. The overall labour force includes all those with an occupation, including the 50 cultural occupations. Descriptions of the nine arts occupations and a list of the 50 cultural occupations are provided in the appendix.

Unless otherwise noted, data in the report are based on the experienced labour force. For the National Household Survey, the experienced labour force “refers to persons who, during the week of Sunday, May 1 to Saturday, May 7, 2011, were employed [as well as] the unemployed who had last worked for pay or in self-employment in either 2010 or 2011”.[3]

There are some key aspects to note about the classification of artists in the National Household Survey:

  • Individuals are classified in the occupation in which they worked the most hours during a specific reference week. Artists who spent more time at another occupation than at their artwork during the reference week would be categorized in the other occupation.
  • Individuals who are employed or self-employed are captured in each occupation.
  • Artists who teach in post-secondary, secondary, or elementary schools are classified as teachers or professors and are therefore excluded from the count of artists. Instructors and teachers in some settings (such as private arts schools, academies, and conservatories) are included in the arts occupations.
  • Artists may have worked in any sector of the economy, not just in cultural organizations.
  • The 2011 National Household Survey collected earnings information for 2010, the most recent full calendar year.
  • Income sources include wages and salaries, net self-employment income, investment income, retirement pensions, other income sources, as well as government transfer payments.
  • The employment income statistics in this report (often called “earnings”) include wages and salaries as well as net self-employment income.
  • The earnings statistics include amounts received from all employment and self-employment positions in 2010, not just the position at which the respondent worked the most hours during the reference week. In some cases, individuals may have worked in a different occupation in 2010 (the basis for earnings statistics) than the one in which they worked the most hours during the NHS reference week (May 1 to 7, 2011 – the basis for occupational classifications).[4]
  • Artists’ project grants would not be included in employment earnings but would be captured in other income sources.
  • Canadians 15 or older are captured in the occupational data.

Choice of nine arts occupations

In this report, the term “artists” is used to describe those Canadians 15 or older classified into nine occupation groups. These occupation groups were identified as artistic in discussions by arts sector representatives prior to the analysis of the 2001 census. These nine occupation groups have been confirmed as priority occupations for the Statistical Insights on the Arts series during discussions between Hill Strategies Research, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Department of Canadian Heritage.[5]

As noted in a 1999 research paper from the Canada Council for the Arts Research and Evaluation Section (Artists in the Labour Force), the nine occupations were selected as “artists” on the basis of two key criteria: 1) the artistic nature of the occupations, based on occupation titles and descriptions;[6] and 2) the most common types of professional artists who are eligible to apply to arts councils for funding. Although occupation categories used in Statistics Canada data are not quite as precise and detailed as the types of artists eligible for arts council funding, there are many similarities.

National Household Survey and Labour Force Survey data quality analysis

The now-defunct long-form census provided detailed occupation-related data on artists, including fine detail at the occupational and geographic level and for various socio-demographic groups. The National Household Survey, a new national survey with almost exactly the same content as the previous long-form census, is now a source of data on artist occupations.

The long-form census was a mandatory census of 20% of households, while the 2011 NHS is a voluntary survey of 30% of households. The change from a mandatory census in 2006 to a voluntary survey in 2011 has an impact on the reliability of the data, which affects data analysis and reporting. Specifically, fewer details about artists are reliable from the NHS than the long-form census, particularly in smaller geographic areas and smaller demographic groups.

A technical report from Hill Strategies Research provides significant details about the National Household Survey and the Labour Force Survey as sources of data regarding the situation of artists in Canada.[7] The main findings of the technical report follow:

  • Neither the National Household Survey (NHS) nor the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are an ideal source of data on artists. However, both provide some useful information.
  • While the NHS is less reliable than the previous long-form census, there is still valuable information in the survey that can be used to examine the working lives of artists.
  • Careful attention should be paid to the reliability of statistics presented from either the LFS or the NHS. Where possible, both sources should be used (and checked against each other) in order to enhance confidence in the data.
  • The NHS has a much larger sample size but a much lower response rate than the LFS. Approximately 4.5 million households across Canada were selected for the National Household Survey. This represents about one third of all households. With a response rate of 68.6%, the actual number of respondents would be approximately 3.1 million. The monthly LFS has a sample size of about 56,000 households and collects labour market information for about 100,000 individuals. On a national and provincial level, more useful data on artists comes from the LFS annual averages, which have a larger sample size than the monthly LFS.
  • In the words of experts interviewed related to the data quality of the NHS, “the risk of the voluntary approach [of the NHS] is that the non-response bias may be high. The people who respond may be different from those who do not.” Furthermore, non-response bias is “intrinsically unknowable”.
  • There are large changes in many estimates from the 2011 NHS compared with the 2006 long-form census (e.g., specific arts occupations, most provinces, territories, and Census Metropolitan Areas). It is highly improbable that these changes are all “real” differences in the amounts. As such, the two sets of estimates should not generally be compared.
  • Finer-area data on artists will not be available from either the LFS or the NHS.
  • The small sample size of the LFS leads to limited reliability of breakdowns of the number of artists. The LFS does not publish any amount below 1,500 in certain jurisdictions (and below 500 in smaller jurisdictions).
  • The LFS provides the best estimate of trends in the overall number of artists in Canada and the provinces. The annual averages from the LFS are also timelier than the five-year census or NHS.
  • In the 2006 census, the minimum number for reliable estimates was 40 artists. A useful general rule for the NHS might be to examine estimates of at least 500 to 1,000 artists. No estimates below 500 people are provided in this report.
  • Given the results of the data quality analysis, it appears that the NHS might undercount artists compared with the LFS and prior census years.[8]
  • With the above cautions in mind, the NHS could provide most of the data required for the Statistical Insights on the Arts series. As noted by Statistics Canada, the strength of the NHS is in the analysis of detailed data for smaller areas and smaller populations. For example, the NHS is well suited for analyses of labour markets for smaller geographies, specific occupations or industries, age groups or particular populations such as Aboriginal or immigrant populations. The NHS also allows the analysis of the labour market by other relevant socio-demographic variables, for example detailed education, field of study or income.

In addition to changes in the data collection methodology, there is a change in the base population analyzed for this report compared with prior years’ reports. This report examines the experienced labour force, which includes all those who worked as an artist during the NHS reference week or worked as an artist longer than any other position since January 1, 2010. Previous reports calculated the total number of artists as those in the experienced labour force plus those not in the labour force at the time of the survey but who had worked since January of the previous year. Previous reports also excluded those with $0 earnings, while this report places no restriction on earnings.

Specific strengths and limitations in counting artists based on the National Household Survey

Despite many limitations, especially the risk of non-response bias, the 2011 NHS is one of the best available sources of information on artists in Canada.[9] The NHS provides occupation estimates based on a very large population base: the 3.1 million households that completed the survey.

In addition to the risk of non-response bias, the NHS has other limitations for counting artists, related to the nature of the standard occupational classifications, the timing of the NHS, and the focus on the job where an individual worked the most hours.

One gap in the Statistics Canada occupational classification is the fact that there is no distinct category for filmmakers or other media artists. The closest categories are “Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations” (which includes a number of artforms), “film and video camera operators” (not one of the nine arts occupations), and “painters, sculptors, and other visual artists”.

Another example of an occupation group that is not a perfect fit for artists is the authors and writers category. This occupation group includes a broader range of writers than simply novelists, poets and other “artistic” writers (but excludes journalists): “Authors and writers plan, research and write books, scripts, storyboards, plays, essays, speeches, manuals, specifications and other non-journalistic articles for publication or presentation. They are employed by advertising agencies, governments, large corporations, private consulting firms, publishing firms, multimedia/new-media companies and other establishments, or they may be self-employed.”

Another issue is the timing of the NHS. The classification of occupations is based on the job that respondents spend the most hours at during the week of Sunday, May 1 to Saturday, May 7, 2011. This is an “in between” period for many artistic endeavors. For example, many performing arts organizations have seasons that extend from the fall to the spring. These seasons may be finished before the week of May 1, leaving some artists to find other employment during the late spring and summer. Other organizations may have summer seasons that do not begin in early May.

The focus on the job where the individual worked the most hours affects NHS labour force counts. Having multiple jobs is an important facet of the working life of many artists. Some may work more hours at other jobs during the week than at their art. Due to this, NHS-based estimates of artists are likely to be somewhat low.

National Household Survey data have some specific limitations concerning Aboriginal people. NHS enumeration was not permitted or was interrupted before completion on 23 reserves and settlements. In addition, on 13 Northern Ontario reserves, “enumeration was delayed because of natural events (specifically forest fires)”.[10]

Organization of the report

Section 2 provides an analysis of the number and income of artists and cultural workers by size of municipality. In Section 3, the municipalities with a particularly high concentration of artists are highlighted, while Section 4 shows the municipalities with a particularly high concentration of cultural workers. In Section 5, a large table provides all reliable statistics on artists and cultural workers in each municipality. The appendix provides descriptions of the nine arts occupation groups and a list of the 50 cultural occupations.


Section 2: Analysis by municipal size

For the purposes of this analysis, all Canadian municipalities were divided into four groups based on population:

  1. All municipalities with a population below 50,000 (total population of 12.1 million, or 36% of the overall Canadian population).
  2. 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000 (total population of 6.2 million, or 19% of Canada).
  3. 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000 (total population of 4.5 million, or 13% of Canada).
  4. The 11 largest cities in Canada, each with a population of 500,000 or more (total population of 10.6 million, or 32% of Canada).

The municipalities were grouped based on the boundaries of census subdivisions, not metropolitan areas. Section 5 provides data on artists and cultural workers for all municipalities in the three largest groups.

Number of artists

As shown in Figure 1:

  • Canadian municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents are home to 33,700 artists, exactly one-quarter of all artists in Canada. While representing the second-largest group of artists (behind only the largest cities in the country), the 25% share of all artists is much lower than the smaller municipalities’ 36% share of the overall population.
  • 20,000 artists reside in the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, representing 15% of all artists in Canada (compared with 19% of the country’s population).
  • The 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000 house 16,600 artists, or 12% of all artists (roughly equal to these cities’ share of the overall population: 13%).
  • The 11 largest cities in Canada are home to 66,300 artists. This is nearly one-half of the country’s artists (49%), which is much higher than these cities’ share of the overall population (32%).

 

Concentration of artists

As shown in Figure 2, the largest cities in Canada have a much higher percentage of their collective labour force in arts occupations (1.17%) than other groups of municipalities.

The concentration of artists in the three other groups of municipalities is below the national average (0.78%):

  • In municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, artists represent 0.54% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, artists represent 0.61% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, the concentration of artists is 0.69%, slightly below the national average (0.78%).

 

Number of cultural workers

Figure 3 shows that Canadian municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents are home to 167,400 cultural workers, exactly one-quarter of all 671,100 cultural workers in Canada. These small municipalities’ 25% share of all cultural workers is much lower than their 36% share of the overall population.

In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, there are 107,000 cultural workers, or 16% of all cultural workers in Canada. These cities and towns account for 19% of the country’s population.

There are 90,500 cultural workers in the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, representing 13% of all cultural workers (equal to these cities’ share of the overall population).

The 11 largest cities in Canada are home to nearly one-half of the country’s cultural workers (46%, or 306,200 cultural workers), which is much higher than these cities’ share of the overall population (32%).


Concentration of cultural workers

Cultural workers represent 3.82% of all Canadian workers. As shown in Figure 4, the concentration of cultural workers increases by size of municipality:

  • In municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, cultural workers account for 2.70% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, cultural workers represent 3.25% of the overall labour force.
  • In the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, cultural workers represent 3.77% of the overall labour force, a percentage that is essentially equal to the national average (3.82%).
  • Canada’s 11 largest cities collectively have 5.39% of their labour force in cultural occupations, a percentage that is well above the national average.

 

Average incomes of artists

In Canada, the total individual income of all 136,600 artists averages $32,800, a figure that is 32% less than the overall labour force ($48,100).

Figure 5 shows that, in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, artists’ average incomes are $30,700, or 33% less than the overall labour force average ($45,600).

In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, artists’ average incomes are $28,900, or 40% less than the overall labour force average ($47,700).

Similarly, in the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, artists have average incomes of $29,000, 40% lower than other workers ($48,500).

Artists in the largest cities have the highest average incomes ($36,000). This figure, although higher than other groups of municipalities, is 29% lower than average incomes in the 11 large cities’ collective labour force ($51,000). This is the lowest difference between artists and other workers among all groups of municipalities.

Note: In the National Household Survey, individual incomes include:

  • Employment income (or “earnings”), which includes wages and salaries as well as net self-employment income.
  • Government transfer payments (e.g., benefits from Employment Insurance, the Canada Child Tax Benefit, the Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, and Old Age Security).
  • Investment income (including rent received).
  • Retirement pensions.
  • Other money income, which includes artists’ project grants, severance pay, alimony, child support, periodic support from other persons not in the household, income from abroad (excluding dividends and interest), non-refundable scholarships, bursaries, fellowships and study grants.[11]

 

Median incomes of artists

In Canada, the median income of artists is $21,600, a figure that is 43% less than the overall labour force in Canada ($37,900).[12] The median income of artists is slightly below the low-income cutoff for a single person living in a community of 500,000 people or more ($22,600).[13]

The examination of median incomes in Figure 6 shows that artists’ median incomes are very similar in all groups of municipalities except those with 500,000 or more residents. Median incomes are:

  • $19,500 in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, or 47% less than the median in the overall labour force in these municipalities ($36,800).
  • $20,000 in the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, or 48% less than the median in the overall labour force in these municipalities ($38,700).
  • Also $20,000 in the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, 48% lower than other workers in these cities ($38,700).
  • $24,300 in the 11 largest cities, or 37% lower than median incomes in these cities’ collective labour force ($38,400). While still a substantial difference, this is the lowest difference between artists and other workers among all groups of municipalities.

The low-income cutoff for a single person living in a community with 100,000 to 500,000 residents is $19,500. The median incomes of artists in municipalities with fewer than 500,000 residents are at or slightly above this low-income cutoff.

The low-income cutoff for a single person living in a community of 500,000 people or more is $22,600. The median incomes of artists in the 11 cities with 500,000 or more residents is slightly above the low-income cutoff.

 

Average earnings of artists

Note: Employment income (or “earnings”) include wages and salaries as well as net self-employment income. The earnings statistics in this report are calculated for those with some earnings (whether above or below $0). These averages should not be compared directly with average personal incomes, which were calculated including those with $0 income. Ten percent of artists had no earnings, compared with 6% of both cultural workers and the overall labour force. These people are excluded from the earnings statistics (which are therefore higher than they would be if those with no earnings were included).

In Canada, artists’ average earnings (from all occupations worked during 2010) are $27,600, or 39% less than the overall labour force ($45,400).

Figure 7 shows that, in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, artists’ average earnings are $23,700, or 44% less than the overall labour force average ($42,000).

In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, artists’ average earnings are $23,200, or 49% less than the overall labour force average ($45,100).

In the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, artists have average earnings of $25,200, 46% lower than the average for all workers ($46,300).

Artists in the largest cities have the highest average earnings ($31,400). While this figure is higher than other groups of municipalities, it is still 36% less than the average earnings of all workers in the 11 large cities’ collective labour force ($48,900).

 

Median earnings of artists

Artists’ median earnings are less influenced than the average by a small number of individuals reporting very large incomes. As such, artists’ median earnings are lower than average earnings. In Canada, the median earnings of artists are $16,500, 54% less than the overall labour force ($35,500).[14]

The examination of median earnings in Figure 8 shows that the median earnings of artists are $12,800 in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, or 62% less than the median in the overall labour force ($33,300).

In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, artists’ median earnings are $14,000, a figure that is 57% less than the overall labour force median ($36,100).

In the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000, artists have median earnings of $15,700, 48% lower than other workers ($36,800).

Artists in the 11 largest cities have median earnings of $19,900, 46% less than median earnings in the cities’ collective labour force ($37,000).

 

Average incomes of cultural workers

In Canada, cultural workers have average individual incomes of $42,100 (12% less than the overall labour force average of $48,100).

Figure 9 shows that, in municipalities with fewer than 50,000 residents, cultural workers’ average incomes are $39,300, or 14% less than the overall labour force average ($45,600).

In the 69 cities and towns with a population between 50,000 and 165,000, cultural workers’ average incomes are $40,300, or 16% less than the overall labour force average ($47,700).

Cultural workers in the 17 cities with a population between 175,000 and 470,000 have average incomes of $41,600, 14% lower than other workers ($48,500).

Cultural workers in the largest cities have the highest average incomes ($44,400), a figure that is 13% lower than average incomes in the 11 large cities’ collective labour force ($51,000).

 

Demographic and employment characteristics of artists in different sizes of municipalities

This section examines select demographic and employment characteristics of artists in different sizes of municipalities, including sex, age, education, Aboriginal people, immigrants, visible minorities, and self-employment rates.

Figure 10 shows that artists in the smallest group of municipalities (under 50,000 population) have:

  • The highest proportion of women (55%).
  • The highest percentage of people 55 years of age and over (33%).
  • The highest percentage of self-employed workers (58%).
  • The highest proportion of Aboriginal people (5.5%).
  • The lowest proportion with a bachelors’ degree or higher (33%).
  • The lowest percentage of immigrants (14%).

In contrast, artists in the 11 largest cities have:

  • The lowest proportion of women (48%).
  • The lowest percentage of people 55 years of age and over (21%).
  • The lowest proportion of Aboriginal people (1.8%).
  • The highest proportion with a bachelors’ degree or higher (51%).

The percentage of artists in the 11 largest cities who are self-employed (49%) is much lower than the percentage in the smallest group of municipalities, while the proportion of immigrants (23%) is much higher than in the smallest group of municipalities.

Cities with populations between 175,000 and 470,000 have the highest proportion of immigrant and visible minority Canadians as a percentage of all artists.

 

Table 1 provides a comparison of the demographic and employment characteristics of artists and other workers in the four groups of municipalities. In Canada, women represent 51% of artists but only 48% of the overall labour force. In the three smaller groups of municipalities (i.e., populations under 500,000), there are more female than male artists, and women account for a higher proportion of artists than other workers. In the 11 largest cities, women account for 48% of both artists and other workers. In the overall labour force, women account for a similar percentage of the labour force across each of the municipal groups. Among artists, the two groups of municipalities under 165,000 residents have the highest percentage of women, and the percentage of women decreases as the population size increases.

The national report also found that Canadian artists tend to be older than the overall labour force: there are many more artists 55 and over (25% vs. 19%). This holds true in all sizes of municipalities. In other words, a much higher proportion of artists than other workers are 55 and over in all four sizes of municipalities. In the overall labour force, there is a slight decrease in the proportion of older workers as the population size increases. Among artists, there is a much stronger decrease in the proportion of older workers as the population size increases.

Nationally, the percentage of artists with a bachelor’s degree or higher (44%) is nearly double the rate in the overall labour force (25%). Artists are much more likely than other workers to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in all four sizes of municipalities. Among artists and in the overall labour force, there is a strong increase in the proportion of university graduates as the population size increases.

The rate of self-employment among artists is many times higher than in the overall labour force. According to the National Household Survey, 51% of artists are self-employed, compared with just 11% of the overall labour force. This finding holds true for all sizes of municipalities. The smallest municipalities have the highest proportion of self-employment for both artists and the overall labour force.

In Canada, Aboriginal artists represent 2.7% of all artists, which is slightly lower than the percentage in the overall labour force (3.4%). There are reliable data on Aboriginal artists in two sizes of municipalities: the smallest group (under 50,000 population) and the largest group (over 500,000 population). In both of these groups of municipalities, Aboriginal people represent a very similar proportion of artists and other workers. The smallest municipalities have the highest proportion of Aboriginal workers for both artists and the overall labour force.

Visible minority Canadians represent 13% of all artists, which is lower than the percentage of visible minority people in the overall labour force (18%). The difference is largest in the largest cities, where visible minority Canadians account for 16% of artists but 33% of all workers. The two larger municipal groups have the highest proportions of visible minority workers for both artists and the overall labour force.

Immigrants account for about one-fifth of all artists (21%), essentially the same percentage as in the overall labour force (22%). Immigrants account for a larger percentage of artists than other workers in smaller municipalities (both groups under 165,000 population) but a smaller percentage of artists than other workers in larger cities (both groups over 175,000 population). The difference is most significant in the largest cities, where immigrants account for 23% of artists but 37% of all workers. The two larger municipal groups have the highest proportions of immigrants for both artists and the overall labour force.

 

Section 3: Municipalities with a strong concentration of artists

This section provides an analysis of the concentration of artists in each municipality for which there is reliable data. No estimates of fewer than 500 artists are provided in this report because of concerns over data reliability. Those Canadian municipalities with fewer than 500 artists are included in the aggregate analysis by size of municipality, but specific information on artists in each of these municipalities is not provided here. There are 36 Canadian cities with at least 500 artists and 96 municipalities with at least 500 cultural workers.

Municipalities with the highest concentration of artists

Among the 36 cities with reliable data on artists, Victoria has the highest concentration of artists (2.36%). There are 1,100 artists in Victoria.

Vancouver has the second-highest concentration of artists (2.32%) and the highest among the 11 largest cities. Vancouver is home to 7,900 artists.

Toronto has the largest number of artists (23,700), nearly twice as many as any other city. One in every six Canadian artists resides in Toronto. The concentration of artists in Toronto (1.76%) is third-highest among the 36 municipalities with reliable data.

As shown in Figure 11, the four other municipalities with over 1% of their labour force in arts occupations are:

  • Montreal (concentration of artists of 1.49%).
  • District of North Vancouver, B.C. (1.31%).
  • St. John’s, NL (1.06%).
  • Saanich, B.C. (1.01%).

Victoria, the District of North Vancouver, St. John’s, and Saanich are among the smallest municipalities with at least 500 artists (included in the group of municipalities with 50,000 to 165,000 residents).


Differences in the concentration of artists within municipal groups

Within each “peer” group of municipalities, there is substantial variation in the concentration of artists and cultural workers. The average concentration of artists in the 11 Canadian cities with at least 500,000 residents is 1.17%, much higher than the overall average for all sizes of municipalities (0.78%).

Figure 12 shows that Vancouver (2.32%), Toronto (1.76%), and Montreal (1.49%) have the highest concentration of artists among the country’s largest cities.

The concentration of artists in Ottawa (0.95%) and Winnipeg (0.85%) is also above the Canadian average (0.78%).

 

The average concentration of artists in the 17 Canadian cities with 175,000 to 470,000 residents is 0.69%, which is close to the Canadian average (0.78%). Figure 13 shows that four cities in this size range have a concentration of artists that is above the Canadian average (0.78%):

  • Halifax, N.S.  (concentration of artists of 0.95%).
  • Burnaby, B.C.  (0.93%).
  • Richmond, B.C. (0.90%).
  • Regina, SK (0.81%).

Three other cities have a concentration of artists that is above the group average (0.69%):

  • Oakville, ON (0.75%).
  • London, ON (0.73%).
  • Kitchener, ON (0.70%).

 

The average concentration of artists in the 69 Canadian cities with 50,000 to 165,000 residents is 0.61%, which is below the Canadian average (0.78%). Given these cities’ smaller populations, there is reliable data on artists only for eight cities that have fewer than 165,000 residents. As shown in Figure 14, seven of these eight cities have a concentration of artists that is above the Canadian average (0.78%):

  • Victoria, which has the highest concentration of artists in any municipality with reliable data (2.36%).
  • District of North Vancouver, B.C. (1.31%).
  • St. John’s, NL (1.06%).
  • Saanich, B.C. (1.01%).
  • Kingston, ON (0.95%).
  • Waterloo, ON (0.93%).
  • Coquitlam, B.C. (0.87%).

The concentration of artists in Barrie (0.72%) is above the average for this size of municipality (0.61%).

 

Section 4: Municipalities with a strong concentration of cultural workers

This section highlights those municipalities with a particularly high concentration of cultural workers. No estimates of fewer than 500 people are provided in this report because of concerns over data reliability. There are 96 Canadian municipalities with at least 500 cultural workers.

Municipalities with the highest concentration of cultural workers

Figure 15 shows that, among the 96 cities with reliable data on cultural workers, Vancouver has the highest concentration of cultural workers (8.54%), followed by Victoria (8.35%), Toronto (7.20%), and Montreal (6.91%). Seven other cities have a particularly high concentration of cultural workers: District of North Vancouver, B.C. (5.89%), Fredericton, N.B. (5.41%), Ottawa, ON (4.97%), New Westminster, B.C. (4.94%), Burnaby, B.C. (4.90%), Longueuil, QC (4.69%), and Quebec City, QC (4.68%).

 

Differences in the concentration of cultural workers within municipal groups

The average concentration of cultural workers in the 11 Canadian cities with at least 500,000 residents is 5.39%, much higher than the overall average for all sizes of municipalities (3.82%).

Figure 16 shows that Vancouver (8.54%), Toronto (7.20%), and Montreal (6.91%) have the highest concentration of cultural workers among the country’s largest cities.

The concentration of cultural workers in Ottawa (4.97%), Quebec City (4.68%), Calgary (3.98%), and Winnipeg (3.90%) is also above the Canadian average (3.82%).

 

The average concentration of cultural workers in the 17 Canadian cities with 175,000 to 470,000 residents is 3.77%, which is close to the Canadian average (3.82%). Figure 17 shows that eight cities in this size range have a concentration of cultural workers that is above the Canadian average:
  • Burnaby, B.C. (concentration of cultural workers of 4.90%).
  • Longueuil, QC (4.69%).
  • Gatineau, QC (4.56%).
  • Oakville, ON (4.40%).
  • Richmond Hill, ON (4.22%).
  • Richmond, B.C. (4.20%).
  • Halifax, N.S. (4.11%).
  • Markham, ON (3.92%).

 

The average concentration of cultural workers in the 69 Canadian cities with 50,000 to 165,000 residents is 3.25%, which is below the Canadian average (3.82%). There is reliable data on cultural workers for 68 of these 69 cities. Thirteen cities with a particularly high concentration of cultural workers are highlighted below. Details about cultural workers in all 68 cities are provided in a subsequent section.

Thirteen cities with 50,000 to 165,000 residents have a concentration of cultural workers that is above the Canadian average (3.82%):

  • Victoria, which has the second highest concentration of cultural workers in any municipality with reliable data (8.35%).
  • District of North Vancouver, B.C. (5.89%).
  • Fredericton, N.B. (5.41%).
  • New Westminster, B.C. (4.94%).
  • Pickering, ON (4.54%).
  • St. John's, NL (4.37%).
  • Saanich, B.C. (4.25%).
  • Aurora, ON (4.17%).
  • Coquitlam, B.C. (3.96%).
  • Peterborough, ON (3.93%).
  • Whitby, ON (3.90%).
  • Waterloo, ON (3.84%).
  • Delta, B.C. (3.83%).

 

Section 5: Key data on artists and cultural workers in each municipality

Table 2, sorted in descending order of population, provides: 1) a list of all municipalities in each group and their population based on the 2011 census; 2) the number and concentration of artists, their average and median incomes, and their average and median earnings from employment; 3) the number and concentration of cultural workers, their average and median incomes, and their average and median earnings from employment.

Note: The earnings statistics, which are calculated for those with some earnings (whether above or below $0), should not be compared directly with average personal incomes, which were calculated including those with $0 income. Ten percent of artists had no earnings, compared with 6% of both cultural workers and the overall labour force. These people are excluded from the earnings statistics (which are therefore higher than they would be if those with no earnings were included).

 

Appendix: Description of arts occupations and list of cultural occupations

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

 

50 cultural occupations

Artist occupations

  • F021 Authors and Writers
  • F031 Producers, directors, choreographers, and related occupations
  • F032 Conductors, composers, and arrangers
  • F033 Musicians and singers
  • F034 Dancers
  • F035 Actors and comedians
  • F036 Painters, sculptors, and other visual artists
  • F132 Other performers
  • F144 Artisans and craftspersons

Cultural occupations related to broadcasting, film & video, sound recording, performing arts, and publishing

  • F022 Editors
  • F023 Journalists
  • F122 Film and video camera operators
  • F123 Graphic arts technicians
  • F124 Broadcast technicians
  • F125 Audio and video recording technicians
  • F126 Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts
  • F127 Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts
  • F131 Announcers and other broadcasters
  • A342 Managers - publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting, and performing arts

Cultural occupations related to libraries, archives, and heritage

  • A341 Library, archive, museum, and art gallery managers
  • B513 Records management technicians
  • B551 Library assistants and clerks
  • B552 Correspondence, publication, and regulatory clerks
  • F011 Librarians
  • F012 Conservators and curators
  • F013 Archivists
  • F111 Library and archive technicians and assistants
  • F112 Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries

Cultural occupations related to architecture

  • C051 Architects
  • C052 Landscape architects
  • C053 Urban and land use planners
  • C125 Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists
  • C151 Architectural technologists and technicians

Cultural occupations related to design

  • C075 Web designers and developers
  • C152 Industrial designers
  • C153 Drafting technologists and technicians
  • F141 Graphic designers and illustrators
  • F142 Interior designers and interior decorators
  • F143 Theatre, fashion, exhibit, and other creative designers
  • F145 Patternmakers, textile, leather, and fur products

Cultural occupations related to printing

  • B523 Desktop publishing operators and related occupations
  • H018 Supervisors, printing and related occupations
  • H521 Printing press operators
  • J181 Plateless printing equipment operators
  • J182 Camera, platemaking, and other pre-press occupations
  • J183 Binding and finishing machine operators

Cultural occupations not included elsewhere (natural heritage, communications, photography)

  • C124 Conservation and fishery officers
  • F024 Professional occupations in public relations and communications
  • F121 Photographers
  • J184 Photographic and film processors

 


[1] The “overall labour force” refers to the experienced labour force, which includes all those who worked during the NHS reference week or had worked for pay or in self-employment since January 1, 2010.

[2] Readers should be aware that the estimates of cultural workers in this report differ conceptually from national estimates provided by the Culture Satellite Account (CSA). The estimates in this report are based on occupations, while the estimates in the CSA report are based on culture industries and culture products. In addition to using a different methodology, the CSA estimates have a different base year and use different data sources.

[3] NHS Dictionary, Statistics Canada, http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/dict/pop031-eng.cfm, consulted August 6, 2014.

[4] For more information about labour force measurements in the National Household Survey, visit http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/guides/99-012-x/99-012-x2011007-eng.cfm.

[5] Other occupation groups, such as photographers, were also considered for inclusion in the analysis. However, further investigation found that a large majority of photographers captured by the census work as commercial photographers, which would limit the usefulness of including photographers in the analysis.

[6] See Appendix 1 for descriptions of the nine arts occupations and a list of the 50 cultural occupations, drawn from the 2006 National Occupation Classification (NOC), http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?catno=12-583-X&lang=eng.

[7] Data sources on artists in Canada: Methodological details regarding the National Household Survey and the Labour Force Survey, Hill Strategies Research Inc., May 2014, http://www.hillstrategies.com/content/data-sources-artists-canada.

[8] The 2011 NHS estimate of artists in the employed labour force (128,300) is 3% lower than, but still within the margin of error of, the 2011 LFS estimate (132,300).

[9] Membership in artist associations is another possible source of data. However, this would not provide complete information as only some artists belong to associations. In addition, some artists who belong to an association may not be active as an artist in a specific year.

[10] NHS Aboriginal Population Profile: About the data, Statistics Canada, 2013, http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/dp-pd/aprof/help-aide/about-apropos.cfm?Lang=E, retrieved on February 26, 2014.

[11] NHS Dictionary, Statistics Canada, http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/nhs-enm/2011/ref/dict/pop107-eng.cfm, retrieved March 7, 2014.

[12] The median is a measure of the income of a “typical” worker in various occupations. Half of individuals have incomes that are less than the median value, while the other half has incomes greater than the median. The median is less influenced than the average (more appropriately known as the “mean”) by extreme observations, such as a few individuals reporting very large incomes. As a consequence, median incomes are typically lower than average incomes.

[13] Information on low incomes was obtained from Low Income Lines, 2010-2011, Statistics Canada, June 2013, http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75f0002m/75f0002m2012002-eng.htm, retrieved October 23, 2014.

[14] The median is a measure of the earnings of a “typical” worker in various occupations. Half of individuals have earnings that are less than the median value, while the other half has earnings greater than the median. The median is less influenced than the average (more appropriately known as the “mean”) by extreme observations, such as a few individuals reporting very large earnings. As a consequence, median earnings are typically lower than average earnings.

 

Download the full report
PreviewAttachmentSize
Artists_CW_municipal2011.pdf761.8 KB
Related documentation
PreviewAttachmentSize
Executive Summary (305 KB)305.46 KB