Humanities Indicators
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Public Life
 
The Humanities in American Life

Introduction

The indicators gathered here further attempt to gauge the strength of the humanities in the United States by examining the extent to which Americans engage in humanistic activities in their daily lives. Beginning with a consideration of such foundational skills as literacy and multilingualism, the indicators describe such practices as the reading of literature and the pursuit of humanistic interests through continuing education. They also review the condition and use of public libraries, which are the main point of contact with the humanities for many Americans and have also come to serve as the primary means of public access to the Internet.

The influence of the Internet on public participation in the humanities remains to be seen, as researchers look for systematic ways to measure how people engage in humanistic activities online. Such data as do exist regarding Americans’ use of the Internet to explore literature and art will be developed for presentation in any subsequent edition of the Humanities Indicators. In the meantime, the indicators here continue with the topic of public participation in the humanities by tracking trends in attendance at institutions such as art museums and historic sites, as well as looking at the role of state humanities council programs in supporting the humanities. Public perception of the place of the humanities in daily life is more difficult to assess. Nonetheless, the final section does attempt to shed some light on Americans’ attitudes toward such humanistic forms of expression as literature and art and their influence on society.

 

Indicators

Humanistic Skills and Practices

Adult Literacy
Adult Literacy Scores, by Country
SuppV-1a.xlsV-1a.pptV-1a.pdf
Average Score on PIAAC Literacy Proficiency Assessment
SuppV-1b.xlsV-1b.pptV-1b.pdf
Average Score on PIAAC Literacy Proficiency Assessment, by Skill Level of Occupation
SuppV-1c.xlsV-1c.pptV-1c.pdf
Reading to Young Children by Family Members
Percentage of Children Ages 3–5 Read to Regularly by a Family Member, by Mother’s Educational Level
Youth Reading for Fun
Share of Children Who Read for Fun
V-2a.xlsxV-2a.pptV-2a.pdf
Book Reading
Adults Who Read a Book Other than for Work or School in the Previous Year, by Age
V-3a.xlsV-3a.pptV-3a.pdf
Book Reading: An International Comparison
V-3b.xls
Adults Who Read a Novel, Short Story, Poem, or Play in the Previous Year, by Age
V-3c.xlsV-3c.pptV-3c.pdf
Literature Reading, by Birth Cohort
V-3d.xlsV-3d.pptV-3d.pdf
Percentage of Americans 18 Years or Older Who Read a Novel, Short Story, Poem, or Play in the Previous 12 Months
V-3e.xlsV-3e.pptV-3e.pdf
Creative Writing
Adults Who Did Creative Writing in the Previous Year, by Age
V-4.xlsV-4.pptV-4.pdf
Multilingualism
Adults Who Speak a Language other than English at Home and Report Speaking English “Well” or “Very Well” (trend data)
indV-5a.xlsV-5a.pptV-5a.pdf
Home Language of Adults Who Speak a Language Other than English at Home and Report Speaking English “Well” or “Very Well”
indV-5b_1.xlsV-5b.pptV-5b.pdf
Percentage of English-Speaking Adults Who Report Speaking Another Language “Well” or “Very Well"
V-5c.pptV-5c.pdf
Where English-Speaking Adults Who Are Fluent in Another Language Acquired the Non-English Language
indV-5d.xlsV-5d.pptV-5d.pdf
Adult Continuing Education
Humanities Adult Course-Taking for Personal Interest or Development
V-6a.xlsV-6a.pptV-6a.pdf
Age Distribution of Americans Taking Adult Education Courses in the Humanities
V-6b.xlsV-6b.pptV-6b.pdf
Gender Distribution of Americans Taking Adult Education Courses in the Humanities
V-6c.xls
Time Spent Reading
Average Time Engaged in Reading and Other Leisure Activities
table_indV-16a.xlsV-16a.pptV-16a.pdf
Average Time Spent Reading, by Educational Attainment
table_indV-16b.xlsV-16b.pptV-16b.pdf
Average Time Spent Reading for Personal Interest, by Age
table_indV-16c.xlsV-16c.pptV-16c.pdf

Public Libraries

Public Library Holdings
Print Material Holdings
suppV-7a.xlsV-7a.pptV-7a.pdf
Nonprint Holdings, by Type
suppV-7b.xlsV-7b.pptV-7b.pdf
Use of Public Libraries
Circulation and Visits
V-8a_1.xlsV-8a.pptV-8a.pdf
Public Library Program Attendance
V-8b_final for posting.xlsV-8b.pptV-8b.pdf
Public Library Visits, Circulation, and Program Attendance, by State (Choropleth)
Public Library Visits, Circulation, and Program Attendance, by State (Compare Up to Six States)
Internet Access at Public Libraries
Availability of Public-Use Internet Computers
V-9a.xlsV-9a.pptV-9a.pdf
Availability of Public-Use Internet Computers, by State
V-9b.xlsV-9b.pptV-9b.pdf
Public Library Revenue, Expenditures, and Funding Sources
Per Capita Revenue and Operating Expenditures
V-10a.xlsV-10a.pptV-10a.pdf
Distribution of Public Libraries’ Operating Revenue among Sources
V-10b.xlsV-10b.pptV-10b.pdf
Per Capita Operating Expenditures of Public Libraries, by State
Number and Training of Public Librarians
Staff Holding the Title of "Librarian"
V-11a.xlsV-11a.pptV-11a.pdf
Master Librarians
V-11b.xlsV-11b.pptV-11b.pdf

Other Humanities Programs and Institutions for the Public

State Humanities Council Programs
Programs Conducted by State Humanities Councils
V-12.xls
Historic Site Visits
Historic Park and Monument Visitation, by Age
V-13a.xlsV-13a.pptV-13a.pdf
Historic Park and Monument Visitation, by Birth Cohort
V-13b.xlsV-13b.pptV-13b.pdf
Art Museum Attendance
Art Museum and Gallery Visitation, by Age
V-14.xlsV-14.pptV-14.pdf
Share of Eighth Graders Who Visited a Museum on a Class Field Trip
Share of Eighth Graders Who Visited a Museum outside School
Bookstores: Establishments and Sales
Number of Brick-and-Mortar Bookstores and Employees
tableV-17a.xlsV-17a.pptV-17a.pdf
Brick-and-Mortar Bookstore Sales
tableV-17b.xlsV-17b.pptV-17b.pdf

Public Attitudes toward the Humanities

Public Attitudes toward Censorship of Particular Book Topics
Level of Support for Censorship
V-15.xlsV-15.pptV-15.pdf