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Older People Poll

March 13, 201913 March 2019

Arts participation

Arts Council England



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Based on a survey of 700 English residents over 65 years of age in 2015, this report found that 38% of respondents believe that “it is more difficult to attend or take part in arts and cultural events or activities now compared to when they were younger”. The data in the report were weighted to be representative of all adults aged 65 or older in England.

The survey found that 52% of people 65 or older currently attend or participate less in arts and culture than during their teenage years, and 49% participate less now than when they were in their 20s and 30s. These findings are consistent with a recent report that found that Canadians 65 years of age or older had the lowest overall arts participation rate of any other age group: 70% for people 65 or older compared to 97% for people aged 15 to 24 and 93% for people aged 25 to 44.

When asked what would help their ability to participate, 43% of older people noted that greater accessibility (defined in the survey as access to venues, transportation, and information) would make them more likely to attend. Thirty-nine percent also said that having someone to go with or take them to the event would aid participation.

Despite lower levels of participation, the survey found that the older people believe that the arts and culture have important benefits:

  • 76% of older people said that arts and culture is “important to make them feel happy”
  • 69% said that it is important in improving overall quality of life
  • 60% said it is important in “making them feel healthy”
  • 60% said it encourages them to get out and about
  • 51% said it makes them feel less alone


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