Support for arts and culture can be indicated not only by dollars, but also by how commonly people and households donate to arts nonprofits. A community’s collective willingness to support the arts is clearly an element of the competitiveness of the arts in a community. It helps to understand local philanthropic behavior towards the arts.

This indicator uses data from 2012, 2013, and 2014 from Scarborough Research. It measures the three-year average percentage of respondents whose households supported arts and culture organizations including public broadcasting. It is limited to the 518 counties where Scarborough gathered data from a minimum of 180 respondents over the three years.

This provides another view of the generosity of county residents to the arts, supplementing what can be seen in the measure of nonprofit arts contribution revenue per capita. For example, evidence that a county’s nonprofit arts organizations have high per capita contributions in a county with a small population share contributing to the arts indicates that those organizations do well raising contributions from local businesses and foundations, out-of-county donors, and local residents.


Additional Information: Average county indicator value = 20.19%. Median county indicator value = 19.73%.


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.