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Arts and Cultural Sectors Contribute Impressive Growth to US Economy in 2021

The US government has released figures that reveal the impressive contribution of the arts and cultural sectors to the national economy in 2021.[0] According to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the total economic value added by the arts and cultural industries grew by 13.7 per cent between 2020 and 2021, significantly outpacing the total US economy, which only grew by 5.9 per cent in the same period.[1]

The NEA and BEA’s data also shows that the arts and cultural sectors made up more than $1 trillion of the US economy in 2021 and achieved an all-time high of 4.4 per cent of the nation’s GDP.[1] The arts sector employed just under 4.9 million workers in 2021, which is a bounce back from the 2020 dip but still lower than the 5.2 million employed in 2019 before the pandemic.[1]

The ACPSA state-level dataset shows that between 2020 and 2021, all states and the District of Columbia saw growth in value added to their economies from arts and cultural industries. 31 states and DC showed at least a 10 per cent increase in the arts as a share of gross state product (GSP), and 47 states and DC saw the economic value from arts and culture surpass 2019 levels.

These figures demonstrate the importance of the arts and cultural sectors to the US economy and the need for continued investment in the sector.[0]

0. “Data: Arts, culture add $1trn to US economy” Advanced Television, 17 Mar. 2023,

1. “The arts made up more than $1 trillion of the US economy in 2021” Art Newspaper, 16 Mar. 2023,