For many decades, the performing arts have been associated especially strongly with the fields of dance, ballet, opera, symphony, and theatre. For this reason, we look at attendance at these art forms collectively as well as individually. These kinds of programs are typically presented by nonprofit entities that are often influential not only for their performing arts forms, but also for their role as important cultural institutions. Scarborough Research gathered data on attendance at events in these forms in 2010 in 81 metropolitan areas that contain about 62 percent of the entire U.S. population, along with data Scarborough collects on attendance at museums and at popular music events.

This indicator estimates the percentage of adults – those 18 and over – in its survey base who attended one or more live performing arts events (theatre, dance, symphony, opera) in the prior 12 months. It uses data from 2009, 2010, and 2011 from Scarborough Research. It is limited to the 525 counties where Scarborough gathered data from a minimum of 180 respondents over the three years.


Additional Information: Average county indicator value = 24.49%. Median county indicator value = 24.13%.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

The nonprofit arts grow – despite a recession!

The number of nonprofit arts organizations has grown annually, reaching 113,000 in 2010. In the past decade, nonprofit arts organizations grew 49% (76,000 to 113,000), a greater rate than all nonprofit organizations, which grew 32% (1.2 million to 1.6 million).