New Arts and Culture Stats Zoom in on States

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By Bureau of Economic Analysis Staff

In the big picture, arts and culture account for 4.2 percent of the U.S. economy in the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ latest statistics. Want to zoom in for a close-up? Now you can, using detailed data that are available for each state for the first time.

Interested in publishing in Massachusetts? Broadcasting in Colorado? Jewelry and silverware making in Rhode Island? The details are in BEA’s state-by-state tables for the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account.

A few highlights:

1. With federal museums, monuments and more, arts and culture represented a larger share of the economy of Washington, D.C., than of any state – 8.4 percent of the District of Columbia’s GDP, or $10.2 billion. To a lesser degree, arts and culture spending by governments of all levels is a factor in every state economy. This type of government spending ranged from 1.4 percent of Wyoming’s total GDP to about a quarter of a percent of Delaware’s GDP (compared with the 3.7 percent of the District of Columbia’s economy that came from government’s role in arts and culture).

2. Across the country, the other Washington is first among states when it come to the economic presence of arts and culture. They accounted for 7.9 percent of Washington state’s economy, or $35.6 billion, powered by arts-supporting activities in the publishing and retail industries.

3. Did you know movies play a starring role in Louisiana? Motion pictures contributed $2.7 billion to Louisiana’s economy in 2015, or 1.1 percent of the state’s total GDP. That’s not Hollywood-level spending, of course – at $49.1 billion, movie making represented 2 percent of California’s GDP. In the well-rounded arts and cultural powerhouse of New York, movies were 1.9 percent of state GDP.

4. The performing arts take center stage in Nevada, famous for its Las Vegas showplaces. Arts and culture accounted for 4.4 percent of the state’s economy, or $6.2 billion, and performing arts companies contributed $811 million of that.

5. Sound recording is a hit in Tennessee, the state known for Nashville’s country music, Memphis blues, and the rock ‘n’ roll legacy of Elvis Presley. The performing arts and broadcasting are also big players in Tennessee’s $13.3 billion arts and culture economy, which accounts for 4.2 percent of state GDP.

That’s just a preview. You can find all the state and national data and the accompanying news release here

The Bureau of Economic Analysis, a federal statistical agency, is the nation’s respected producer of official statistics on the U.S. economy.

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