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.

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 2012, 2013, and 2014 from Scarborough Research. It is limited to the 518 counties where Scarborough gathered data from a minimum of 180 respondents over the three years.


Additional Information: Average county indicator value = 23.87%. Median county indicator value = 23.12%.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

Consumer arts spending steady at $150 billion!

Since 2002, consumer spending on the arts has remained in the $150 billion range, though as a share of all expenditures it has slipped from 1.88% in 2002 to 1.45% in 2010. Following four years of decreases, musical instrument sales rebounded, growing from $5.9 billion in 2009 to $6.3 billion in 2010.