Participation in the arts

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2018 to 2019, 77.4% of people aged 16 and over took part in the arts (like going to an exhibition or performing in a play) at least once in the past year
  • this figure has generally been stable since 2012 to 2013
  • 88.7% of people with Mixed ethnicity took part in the arts, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
Things you need to know

The data for this analysis comes from the Taking Part Survey. This survey uses a random sample of people to make generalisations about the whole population.

The commentary for this data includes only reliable findings. Findings are reliable ('statistically significant’) when they reflect the total population. This means we would get similar findings 19 times out of 20 if we carried out the same survey on different people.

All survey estimates are subject to some uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population.

Ethnic minority groups tend to have a smaller number of survey respondents. As a result, their estimates are less reliable than those for White people.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people aged 16 and over who had done one of the following in the past year:

  • taken part in an activity like performing in a concert or play, or in art, photography or film as an artistic activity
  • attended an arts event like an exhibition, live performance or play

The data includes people living in England, and is broken down by ethnicity.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Survey respondents were asked to choose their ethnic group from a choice of 18 categories.

The number of people surveyed was too small to draw any firm conclusions about these ethnic categories. So the data is grouped into the following 5 broad ethnic groups:

  • Asian
  • Black
  • Mixed
  • White
  • Other

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of people aged 16 and over who took part in the arts in the past year, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 77.4 8,161
Asian 59.7 487
Black 68.5 226
Mixed 88.7 121
White 79.3 7,239
Other 66.5 46

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Participation in the arts By ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2018 to 2019, 77.4% of people aged 16 and over had taken part in the arts in the past year
  • 88.7% of people with Mixed ethnicity took part in the arts, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of people aged 16 and over who took part in the arts in the past year, by ethnicity over time
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Time All % All Number of respondents Asian % Asian Number of respondents Black % Black Number of respondents Mixed % Mixed Number of respondents White % White Number of respondents Other % Other Number of respondents
2012/13 78.4 9,838 66.0 394 73.4 188 79.1 171 79.5 9,054 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 22
2013/14 77.5 10,355 65.2 404 72.8 203 82.9 142 78.5 9,546 74.9 49
2014/15 76.8 9,817 66.7 367 66.7 239 80.0 99 77.9 9,050 66.8 52
2015/16 76.1 10,171 59.3 434 69.7 242 81.8 119 77.6 9,312 72.3 55
2016/17 77.4 9,352 66.8 423 68.7 242 81.4 170 78.5 8,473 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 27
2017/18 78.9 7,715 64.4 397 74.0 203 86.8 144 80.1 6,854 72.5 79
2018/19 77.4 8,161 59.7 487 68.5 226 88.7 121 79.3 7,239 66.5 46

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Participation in the arts By ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • between 2012 to 2013 and 2018 to 2019, the percentage of people aged 16 and over taking part in the arts remained stable, ranging between 76.1% and 78.9%
  • in each ethnic group, the percentage of people who engaged with the arts at least once in the past year remained broadly consistent

4. Methodology

The Taking Part Survey measures cultural activity among:

  • 5 to 10 year olds
  • 11 to 15 year olds
  • people aged 16 and over

Survey respondents must live in private households in England. The cultural activity they took part in can have taken place anywhere.

Respondents are chosen randomly from the Postcode Address File.

An interviewer visits respondents' addresses. They record details of everyone living at each address they successfully contact. Where possible, they select one adult, one 5 to 10 year old, and one 11 to 15 year old to take part in the survey.

The figures shown here only apply to people aged 16 and over.

Weighting:

Weighting adjusts the results of a survey to make them more reliable and more representative of the general population.

For example, if 25% of a survey's respondents are women, it won't reflect the views of the general population.

The data in the Taking Part sample is weighted to:

  • compensate for unequal probabilities of selection
  • adjust for non-responses

Weighting is based on mid-year population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

Confidence intervals:

Download the data to see confidence intervals for each ethnic group.

In 2018 to 2019, 77.4% of survey respondents aged 16 and over had taken part in the arts. This is a reliable estimate of the percentage of people in England who took part in the arts in that period. But because the Taking Part Survey is based on a random sample, it’s impossible to be 100% certain of the true percentage.

It’s 95% certain that between 75.8% and 78.9% of all people aged 16 and over in England took part in the arts. In statistical terms, this is a 95% confidence interval. This means that if 100 random samples were taken, the estimate would fall between 75.8% and 78.9% on 95 occasions. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.

For 2018 to 2019, the ethnic with the smallest number of respondents was the Other ethnic group. 46 of the 8,161 respondents were from this ethnic group. The wider confidence interval for this group (between 49.1% and 80.4%) reflects greater uncertainty.

Changes over time and differences between groups are only reported if they are statistically significant at the 95% level. This means that we can be confident that the differences seen in our sampled respondents are reflective of the population.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Taking Part technical reports.

5. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Publication frequency

Twice a year

Purpose of data source

The Taking Part Survey measures people's involvement in cultural activities in England.

The data is widely used by policy officials, practitioners, academics and charities.

6. Download the data

Adults taking part in the arts - Spreadsheet (csv) 8 KB

This file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Geography, Value, Upper bound, Lower bound, Number of respondents