Tuesday, February 10, 2009  
140,000 Starving Artists in Canada Can't be Wrong

:: Posted by BK @ 2/10/2009 02:00:00 AM

A very interesting report on what artists and writers earn, based on the 2006 census. The report, "A Statistical Profile of the Arts in Canada", looks at what different kinds of artists earn and how artists fit into the larger Canadian economy. Worth reading. You can see the 4-page summary
or read the whole thing, with all its colourful charts and graphs. The basic gist of the report is that artists make very little money and they will soon be making less. I'm not sure how much the 9 categories used (which include writer, visual artist, and craftsperson) have to with people who create comics or one sort or another (cartoonists, comic book artists and writers) or people who may self-identify as illustrators. Journalists are not included in the survey. The report was prepared by Hill Strategies.

Besides facts like, 'The arts industry is bigger than the automotive industry' and 'The number of artists in Canada has tripled since 1971' and 'Over half of all artists are women, and they earn less than men', here are a couple highlights:

"there are 140,000 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May 2006. Artists include actors, authors, choreographers, craftspeople, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, musicians, producers, singers and visual artists.
The number of artists is slightly larger than the number of Canadians directly employed in the automotive industry (135,000).
The report also notes that the broader cultural sector has about 609,000 workers and comprises 3.3% of the overall labour force in Canada. One in every 30 people in Canada has a cultural occupation. This is about double the level of employment in the forestry sector in Canada (300,000) and more than double the level of employment in Canadian banks (257,000)."


"At $3.2 billion, the total earnings of artists account for one-half of one percent of total earnings in the overall Canadian labour force (0.5%).
The average earnings of artists are $22,700, compared with an average of $36,300 for all Canadian workers. The gap between artists' average earnings and overall labour force earnings is 37%.
To bridge the earnings gap and bring the average earnings of artists up to the same level as the overall labour force would require an additional $1.9 billion in earnings for artists.
The average earnings of artists are only 9% higher than Statistics Canada's low-income cutoff for a single person living in a community of 500,000 people or more ($20,800)."


(cartoon by Todd Sullivan)

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