Reading Poetry Grows Substantially: The NEA reports in survey of participation in the arts

Gains in arts attendance totals, rates, and demographic groups plus sizeable growth in poetry-reading are part of the latest survey findings from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance and Literary Reading: 2002-2017 is a first look at results from the 2017 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA), a partnership of the NEA and the U.S. Census Bureau.

The performing arts together with other arts and cultural industries contributed more than $760 billion to the nation’s economy in 2015, according to the NEA. An area of substantial growth in the 2017 findings is reading poetry, states the NEA. "Between 2012 and 2017, the rate of poetry-reading among adults grew by 76 percent, to 28 million people in 2017. In this category, women showed notable gains, increasing from 8 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2017 and Hispanic poetry readers increased from 4.9 percent in 2012 to 9.7 percent in 2017," points out the report.

Among other findings, in 2017, 102.5 million adults attended visual arts events, an increase of 3.3 percentage points from 2012; and a 29 percent increase in the rate of attendance at performing arts activities is reflected in greater participation by demographic subgroups—specifically, African Americans, Asian Americans, and 25-54-year-olds.

“The growth in arts attendance indicates the increasing value of the arts in the everyday lives of Americans,” said Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “From poetry reading to visiting a museum or attending a jazz performance, the arts are not only part of our lives, but also assets in our communities and fuel for our nation’s economy.”

Read the NEA's full report here.

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