South Carolina arts and cultural industries among fastest-growing in nation

Latest Data Shows Increase to U.S. Economy from Arts and Cultural Sector

Sector Contributed $804.2 Billion or 4.3 Percent of Nation’s GDP in 2016

Key national findings from this year’s ACPSA

  • Arts and culture play a significant role in the economic activity of the country. The value-added to GDP by arts and cultural production is nearly five times greater than that of the agricultural sector. Arts and culture adds nearly $60 billion more than construction and $227 billion more than transportation and warehousing to the U.S. economy.
  • Arts and cultural goods create a trade surplus. In 2016, the U.S. exported nearly $25 billion more in arts and cultural goods and services than it imported, a 12-fold increase over 10 years.
  • ACPSA exports are driven by movies and TV programs, advertising, and arts-related software such as video games.
  • The average annual growth rate for arts and culture outperforms the growth rate of the total U.S. economy. From 2014 to 2016, the average annual growth rate in the contribution of arts and culture was 4.16 percent, nearly double the 2.22 percent growth rate of the total U.S. economy.
  • Consumer spending of the performing arts has risen significantly. Between 1998 and 2016, the rate of consumer spending on performing arts admissions more than doubled, rising from 0.12 percent of U.S. GDP in 1998 to 0.26 percent, totaling $32.7 billion, in 2016.

Key state findings from this year’s ACPSA

Thirteen states had an average annual growth rate above the national average of 5.9 percent, as measured over the three-year period of 2014 to 2016. Listed in order, these states were the fastest-growing for the percentage of their gross state product coming from arts and cultural industries.

Rank and Average Annual Growth Rate: 2014-2016

1.    Washington State:11.9 percent
2.    Georgia:11.1 percent
3.    Utah:10.2 percent
4.    Nevada: 9.8 percent
5.    California: 7.8 percent
6.    *Tennessee: 7.8 percent
7.    New Mexico: 7.7 percent
9.    Florida: 7.1 percent
10.    *Montana: 6.6 percent
11.    Oregon: 6.5 percent
12.    Colorado: 6.3 percent
13.    Massachusetts: 6.2 percent

*These states are identified as rural by the Bureau of Economic Analysis because 30 percent or more of the state’s population live in rural areas. To learn about how arts and culture impact the economies of rural states, go to the Rural Prosperity report below.

Ed. note: this news comes the same day that President Trump released an FY20 budget today that removes all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. For more, please read more from the S.C. Arts Alliance.

The Arts Endowment, BEA, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies have developed resources to help users understand the data.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Please visit to learn more.