Humanities Indicators
Facebook Twitter YouTube
Funding & Research  >  State Funding for the Humanities
 
State Arts Agencies
(Updated November 2016)

Data on funding to state arts agencies are a proxy for state humanities funding data, which are not currently collected on a regular or comprehensive basis. Such data are also pertinent because a portion of arts agency funding is used to subsidize activities that are within the scope of the humanities as they are conceptualized for the purposes of the Humanities Indicators.[1]

Findings and Trends

  • In 2015, state legislatures appropriated $333.6 million for their arts agencies, which represents an increase from the postrecession low of $256.9 million in 2012 (all appropriations amounts are given in 2015 dollars; Indicator IV-6a).
  • States’ funding of their arts agencies had two distinct peaks. The first of these was in 1990 and came after more than 10 years of growth. State appropriations increased more than 339% from 1974, the first year for which complete data are available, to 1990. After substantial declines in the next three years, funding surged again, with arts agency appropriations reaching an unprecedented level. In 2001, states appropriated a record $577.8 million, or 437% of the 1974 amount. But the subsequent decade brought substantial declines in state investment. By 2012, state appropriations had dropped to less than 50% of the 2001 high. The following three years brought appropriations increases.
  • States’ per capita support of the arts varied considerably in 2015. The District of Columbia provided the largest per capita appropriation to an arts agency, dedicating $23.51 for each resident (Indicator IV-6b). But this was quite unusual. The next largest per capita appropriation was in Minnesota, which spent $6.36 per state resident. Georgia appropriated the least: six cents per resident. The median state appropriation was $0.74 per resident.[2]
  • In eleven states and the District of Columbia, 2015 appropriations were at least somewhat higher than 2008’s prerecession level (Indicator IV-6c). The greatest increases, by a substantial margin, were found in Minnesota, Florida, and California. In all other states, appropriations were down, with Georgia and Kansas each appropriating almost 90% less in 2015 than before the economic downturn. Among jurisdictions that appropriated less in 2015 than in 2008, the median decline was 39%.
IV-6a: Total Amount Appropriated by States for Their Arts Agencies, Fiscal Years 1974–2015 (Adjusted for Inflation)*

* Includes both base legislative appropriations and line items. Totals include appropriations for the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia.

Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Annual Appropriations and Revenue Survey Data. Appropriations amounts were adjusted for inflation using the annual gross domestic product deflators (seasonally adjusted) produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Deflators were downloaded from the website of the Federal Reserve of St. Louis at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPDEF/downloaddata?cid=21.

About this DataRelated Indicators
IV-6b: Amounts Appropriated by States for Their Arts Agencies, Per Capita, by State and the District of Columbia, Fiscal Year 2015*

* Includes both base legislative appropriations and line items. The values for the District of Columbia and the state of Minnesota have been excluded from the map as they are so much larger than those for all other states that they have a distorting effect on the visualization. See the bar graph below for information about the appropriations for those jurisdictions.

Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Annual Appropriations and Revenue Survey Data. Population data used to calculate per capita figures are the estimates for July 1 of each year produced as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program.

About this DataRelated Indicators
IV-6c: Percentage Change Fiscal Years 2008–2015 in Per Capita Amounts Appropriated by States for Their Arts Agencies, by State and the District of Columbia (Adjusted for Inflation)*

* Includes both base legislative appropriations and line items.

Source: National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Annual Appropriations and Revenue Survey Data. Population data used to calculate per capita values are the estimates for July 1 of each year produced as part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program. Appropriations amounts were adjusted for inflation using the annual gross domestic product deflators (seasonally adjusted) produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Deflators were downloaded from the website of the Federal Reserve of St. Louis at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GDPDEF/downloaddata?cid=21.

About this DataRelated Indicators

Endnotes

[1] For example, in 2012 the state arts agencies distributed $3.1 million to 169 humanities projects, according to ananalysis by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. The arts agencies also make awards for a wide array of other projects that benefit the humanities, such as preservation of and access to materials and collections and direct support of humanists for their work.
[2] In a ranking of values in ascending order, the median is that value below and above which an equal number of values fall. The median is used as an alternative to the mean (average) when the set of values in question contains a small number of extreme values that result in a mean that provides a misleading impression of what constitutes a “typical” value for that data set.