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Women Artists: 1990 to 2005

NEA Research Note #96

March 30, 200930 March 2009

Situation of artists

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This Research Note indicates that female artists who work full-year, full-time earn 25% less than male artists who also work full-year, full-time. The difference in earnings is much higher for older female artists than for younger ones.

Overall, there are 919,000 female artists in the U.S., just under half of all artists (46%). The proportion of women is particularly high among dancers (76%), the lowest-paid arts occupation. Women also outnumber men in design and writing occupations. On the other hand, women comprise only 21% of architects, the highest-paid arts occupation in the study.

The report indicates that the median age for both female and male artists is 40, which matches the median age of the overall civilian labour force. While artists, on average, have higher education levels than other workers, the levels of education are similar between female and male artists.

The same proportion of female artists as other female workers is married, but the female artists are less likely to have children.

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