Monday, December 29, 2008

Two Million Artists

Two million Americans are trying to make a living as artists, according to a new report by the National Endowment for the Arts. Every decade or so the NEA updates its profile of people whose primary employment is in the arts. The latest report, Artists in the Workforce, 1990-2005, finds 2 million workers who identify their primary occupation as actor, announcer, architect, fine artist, art director, animator, dancer, choreographer, designer, entertainer, musician, singer, photographer, producer, director, writer, or author. The 2 million figure excludes another 300,000 workers whose secondary employment is in the arts.  

Artists have a median age of 40. Most are college graduates. Among those who work full-time, median personal income was $45,200 in 2005--below the $52,500 median income of all professional workers. 

Architects have the highest median income ($63,500 among full-time workers), and actors have the lowest ($31,500). One in three artists is self-employed. Not surprisingly, women artists make less than their male counterparts. Another NEA report, Women Artists: 1990 to 2005 details the differences. 

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