The “Creative Industries” reports from Americans for the Arts are annual tallies of arts-centric businesses and employees in communities. The “arts” in the Creative Industries are defined by 644 codes in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system that was used in economic, business, and policy analysis for decades until the mid-1990s. SIC is a legacy system, as the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) is more commonly used these days. The SIC system is detailed, with unique codes for specific business types, even those with relatively few enterprises. There are SIC codes for makers of both calliopes and accordions, for example. So, it was a relatively fine-grained system for distinguishing one business type from another. NAICS classification is in commonly used nowadays, and has a broader brush, assigning one code to all musical instrument manufacturers, for example. Click here for a list of SIC Creative Industries codes.

Dun & Bradstreet (D & B) is an information services company that gathers and reports information from the vast majority of American businesses and nonprofits, and still categorizes them on the old SIC system. Some years ago, Americans for the Arts selected 644 SIC “arts-centric” codes to describe the “Creative Industries,” and D & B provides county-level tallies of these organizations (both business and nonprofit) and their employment counts using SIC detail. AFTA reports these annually as its “Creative Industries” measure.

This indicator measures “Creative Industries” businesses by county in 2014 for every 100,000 residents. It can be interpreted as a measure of how much is available and how much competition there is for each organization. High per capita numbers may mean many options are available to residents, but also that each arts business competes with all the others for a share of consumer dollars and time. Comparatively low per capita numbers suggest comparatively few offerings – which could be a positive signal to entrepreneurs of need or market opportunity. Per capita calculations use the 2013 Census Bureau estimate of county population.

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 3,089. Average county indicator value = 157.22. Median county indicator value = 122.97.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

International cultural tourism proves recession-proof. Arts travelers are ideal tourists—they stay longer and spend more.  The U.S. Dept of Commerce reports that the percentage of int’l travelers including museum visits on their trip has grown annually since 2003 (17% to 24%), while those including concerts and theater performances have increased five of the past seven years (13% to 17% since 2003).