Local Arts Index - Where I Live

What are these statistical values?

The Local Arts Index was launched in April 2012 as a tool to better understand the characteristics of the cultural life of individual communities as measured at the county level. It is composed of a series of arts indicators, measured on the county level, and drawn from secondary sources including the U.S. Census Bureau, Claritas Research, Scarborough Research, National Center for Charitable Statistics, Institute of Museum and Library Studies, and many other sources.

In April 2015, we revised some indicators and removed others that were out of date. This current version gives each community the ability to generate a full and comprehensive report on arts in that county with very current data. This work is ongoing, so check back regularly for the release of additional indicators. And check the Blog page for recent posts about additions and what is happening with LAI across the country.

What is an arts indicator?

An arts indicator is a statistical measure created for to track a value or condition related to the arts. The National Arts Index compresses many arts indicators into one number, an index, that is calculated the same way every year—making it easy to compare time periods for the nation as a whole. The Local Arts Index looks at the arts in many places (counties). This “Where I Live” page has tools to help you examine the arts in places that interest you.

How is the Index organized?

The Local Arts Index is built around four dimensions of what we call the "Community Arts Vitality Model":

  1. Arts Activity, levels of participation and production
  2. Resources, the flows of arts revenues and organizational resources used in the arts
  3. Competitiveness, the arts relative to other community economic markers
  4. Local Cultural Character, attributes of the arts that differentiate place from each other

Within each of these dimensions are a series of factors that group indicators around similar issues such as government support or cultural participation. Click on the title for each dimension, factor and indicator, and a window will pop up with the definition.

How do I use this data table?

  1. Select a state.
  2. Select a county.
  3. Compare up to four specific counties in the US where data is available. (Please note: some indicators may not be available for all counties.)
  4. You can click on the arts indicator names for more information on the source of this data and how to interpret it.
  5. To collapse the display of dimensions and factors, click on the  + or  -  sign in the left hand side to expand or contract the display.

Visit this page regularly for updates and additional data on your community! Read the FAQ pages that have lots of additional information on the Arts Index project, the research methodology, and the LAI team.


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