This measure focuses specifically on National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Our indicator is total NEA grant dollars per capita in the county—calculated by summing NEA funding to grantees in each county over the years 2005-2009, dividing by the 2010 population, and then presented as a figure for every 1,000 residents. The benefits of aggregating over five years are that this measure avoids single-year spikes and dips, and gives a better sense of how NEA funds serve the county over time rather than in just one moment. This analysis excludes grants to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations (e.g., Mid-Atlantic Arts Federation, Western States Arts Federation). The NEA provided these data.

The NEA made grants in 744 counties during these years. The residents in those counties are 73 percent of the U.S. population in 2010. The national average of these county calculations is $1,485 for every 1,000 residents, with grants of $520 for every 1,000 people in the median county, which roughly represents 5.6 cents per person each year for five years. Note that in small-population counties, a grant can lead to a high indicator value, as happens when rural communities receive one-time grants.


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).