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Municipal spending on culture in Quebec in 2010

(Les dépenses culturelles des municipalités en 2010)

June 11, 201211 June 2012

Government spending on culture

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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 definition of culture in the report is quite different from the definition used in Municipal Cultural Investment in Five Large Canadian Cities.

In 2010, Quebec municipalities spent $740 million on culture, representing 4.9% of all municipal expenditures. Montreal and Quebec City, the only two municipalities with populations over 400,000 in Quebec, spent $324 million on culture in 2010, or 44% 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 (5.8% of total expenditures), followed by Montreal and Quebec City (5.7%), municipalities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999 (5.1%), and municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999 (4.9%).

On a per capita basis, Quebec municipalities spend $94 on culture. By this measure, Montreal and Quebec City have the highest levels of spending on culture:

  • Montreal and Quebec City: $147.
  • The three cities with populations between 200,000 and 399,999: $77.
  • The five cities with populations between 100,000 and 199,999: $93.
  • The 33 municipalities with populations between 25,000 and 99,999: $92.
  • The 55 municipalities with populations between 10,000 and 24,999: $88.

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 (84% via property or other taxes, etc.), but smaller percentages do come from grants from other governments (6%), sales and fees (also 6%), and other revenues (5%).

In terms of services provided, libraries dominate cultural spending, representing 44% of total expenditures on cultural services. Arts and letters represent 20% of spending on cultural services, followed by heritage, public art and design (18%).

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