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Municipal spending on culture in Quebec in 2007

(Les dépenses culturelles des municipalités en 2007, Statistiques en bref, no 55)

November 20, 201020 November 2010

Issue
Government and consumer spending on culture

Article Link
http://www.stat.gouv.qc.ca/observatoire/publicat_obs/occ_bref_depenses.htm

Municipal spending on culture is an area that is not covered in any detail by standard Statistics Canada surveys. As such, this report provides some interesting findings on cultural spending by Quebec municipalities. In the report, cultural spending includes: libraries; arts and letters; heritage, public art and design; cultural festivals and events; events with a cultural component; cultural and scientific leisure activities; conservation of historical archives; and other cultural expenditures. The report notes that estimates for 2007 are somewhat low, as financing and amortization costs could not be included in the 2007 data. The Observatoire de la culture et des communications du Québec plans to include these costs in future data releases.

In 2007, Quebec municipalities spent $536 million on culture, representing 5.1% of all municipal expenditures. Montreal and Quebec City, the only two municipalities with populations over 400,000 in Quebec, spent $252 million on culture in 2007, or 47% of the cultural expenditures of all Quebec municipalities.

The report compares the cultural expenditures of seven groups of Quebec municipalities. As a percentage of total municipal operating expenditures, cultural spending is highest in municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999 (6.5% of total expenditures), followed by Montreal and Quebec City (5.8%), and municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999 (5.6%).

On a per capita basis, Quebec municipalities spend $70 on culture. By this measure, Montreal and Quebec City have the highest levels of spending on culture:

  • Montreal and Quebec City: $117.
  • Municipalities with populations between 200,000 and 399,999: $59.
  • Municipalities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999: $66.
  • Municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999: $66.
  • Municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999: $64.

The smallest municipalities (under 10,000 residents) spend the least on culture by both measures (i.e., percentage of total spending and per capita spending).

A very large proportion of municipal cultural expenditures come from municipalities’ own contributions (83% via property or other taxes, etc.), but smaller percentages do come from sales and fees (7%), grants from other governments (5%) and other revenues (5%).

Salaries and benefits are the largest cultural expenditures of municipalities, representing 47% of municipalities’ expenditures on cultural services.

In terms of services provided, libraries dominate cultural spending, representing one-half of all municipal expenditures on cultural services. Libraries are the largest service expenditure for all sizes of municipalities but, by and large, represent the largest proportion of the cultural expenditures of smaller municipalities (population under 25,000).

Montreal and Quebec City spend a much higher proportion of their expenditures on cultural services on heritage, public art and design (33%) than other Quebec municipalities (under 10% for all other size groups).

The report also examines spending on arts and letters, which represents 16% of all Quebec municipalities’ expenditures on cultural services. Arts and letters account for the largest proportion of the cultural expenditures of municipalities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999 (30%), followed by Montreal and Quebec City (20%), and municipalities with populations between 200,000 and 399,999 (16%).

On a per capita basis, Montreal and Quebec City spend the largest amount of all size groups on libraries ($41 per person), heritage, public art and design ($34), and arts and letters ($20).

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