1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2017/18, 78.9% of people aged 16 and over had taken part in the arts at least once in the past year – this figure has generally been stable since 2012/13
  • in 2017/18, a higher percentage of people from a Mixed ethnic group took part in the arts compared with White and Asian people
  • Asian people had the lowest percentage of people who took part in the arts at 64.4%, compared to people from a Mixed background who had the highest at 86.8%
Things you need to know

These figures are estimates based on responses to the Taking Part Survey.

The Taking Part Survey is a sample survey. It collects information from a random sample of the population and uses it to reach generalised ‘findings’ about the total population.

Unless stated otherwise, the commentary for this data includes only reliable, or ‘statistically significant’, findings. Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they can be repeated, and are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

Specifically, the statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 19 times out of 20 we would get similar findings.

As with all surveys, the estimates from the Taking Part survey are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, such as in ethnic minority groups.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people aged 16 and over in England who had taken part in the arts in the year before taking the survey.

Respondents were asked whether they had:

  • taken part in one of a list of arts activities (for example, performing music or theatre live, or doing art, photography or film as an artistic activity)
  • attended one of a given list of arts events (for example, exhibitions, live performances and theatre)

Percentages are calculated using the total number of survey respondents. Results are adjusted to make them representative of the population as a whole.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Respondents were asked to indicate their ethnicity from a choice of 18 categories.

For this data, the number of people surveyed (the ‘sample size’) was too small to draw any firm conclusions about these specific ethnic categories. Therefore, the data here is broken down into the following 5 broad groups from the 2011 Census :

  • White
  • Mixed
  • Asian
  • Black
  • Other

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who took part in the arts in the past year, by ethnicity
Ethnicity % Number of respondents
All 78.9 7,715
Asian 64.4 397
Black 74.0 203
Mixed 86.8 144
White 80.1 6,854
Other 72.5 79

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, overall 78.9%of people aged 16 years and over had taken part in the arts
  • people from a Mixed ethnic group were more likely to engage with the arts (at 86.8%), compared with White people (80.1%) and Asian people (64.4%)

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who took part in the arts in the past year, by ethnicity over time
All Asian Black Mixed White Other
Time % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % Number of respondents % 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

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, the percentage of people aged 16 years and over taking part in the arts remained stable between 2012/13 and 2017/18, ranging from 76.1% to 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 from 2012/13 to 2017/18

4. Methodology

The Taking Part Survey measures cultural activity by people aged 16 years and over, as well as children aged 5 to 10 years and 11 to 15 years. Respondents must be living in private households in England, but the cultural activity can have taken place anywhere.

The sample for the Taking Part survey is chosen by randomly selecting households from the Postcode Address File.

An interviewer visits these addresses and, if contact is made, records details of all individuals living at each address. One adult, and where applicable one child aged 5 to 10 and one aged 11 to 15, is then selected to participate in the survey.

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

Weighting:

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.

For example, a survey which contains 25% women and 75% men will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know has an even 50/50 split. Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.

The data in the Taking Part sample is weighted to make sure it is representative of the population in England. The data 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:

You can see confidence intervals for each ethnic group if you download the data.

In 2017/18, 78.9% of people aged 16 years 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, however, that somewhere between 77.4% and 80.4% of all people aged 16 years 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, then 95 times out of 100 the estimate would fall between the upper and lower confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.

For 2017/18, the smallest ethnic group in regards to respondents was ‘Other’, providing 79 of the 7715 respondents sampled. The wider confidence interval for this group - between 59.1% and 82.8% - reflects greater uncertainty.

Changes over time and differences between groups are only reported where 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. The statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 95 times out of 100 we would get similar findings.

Rounding

Percentages are given to the nearest whole number.

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) 7 KB

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