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News / April 3, 2019

There Are More Artists than Auto Workers in Canada

Also, one in every 25 Canadian workers has a cultural occupation. But artist incomes are 45 per cent less than the national worker average
Students at the Canadian Art School Hop visit a Toronto art gallery. More and more Canadians are working in arts and culture. Students at the Canadian Art School Hop visit a Toronto art gallery. More and more Canadians are working in arts and culture.
Students at the Canadian Art School Hop visit a Toronto art gallery. More and more Canadians are working in arts and culture. Students at the Canadian Art School Hop visit a Toronto art gallery. More and more Canadians are working in arts and culture.

A new study of the most recent census data indicates that there are more artists than auto workers in Canada—but that artists remain at much lower incomes than the average Canadian worker.

According to the study, titled A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada 2016, there are 183,200 artists in Canada.

That means artists represent almost one per cent of the overall Canadian labour force.

“In other words,” says a study release, “1 in every 109 Canadian workers is an artist.”

By comparison, the labour force in auto manufacturing is 154,100. And in the utilities sector, it’s even less: 144,900.

In the new study, produced by Hill Strategies of Hamilton, the term “artist” includes various creative forms: musicians and singers; authors and writers; producers, directors and choreographers; visual artists; artisans and craftspeople; actors and comedians; dancers and other performers; and conductors, composers and arrangers.

While artists in Canada are numerous, though, the study also found that their income is scarce.

“The median income of artists is 45% lower than all Canadian workers,” a study release said. A typical artist in Canada has a median income of just $23,100, compared to $41,900 for all Canadian workers.

Dancers are the worst off among artists in the study, with a median income of $15,100. Authors and writers come out on top with a median income of $38,000. Visual artists are closer to the lower end of the scale, at $19,300 median income.

Cultural workers—such as librarians, museum workers, archivists, designers and architects—are slightly better off in terms of workforce and income.

There are roughly 800,000 cultural workers in Canada, the study indicates—which “is over two-and-half times larger than the labour force in real estate (306,600) and double the labour force on farms (386,400).”

That means one in every 25 workers has a cultural occupation, says the study.

Cultural workers have mean individual incomes of $39,300, or six per cent less than all workers ($41,900).

The study is based on data collected during the 2016 long-form census.

The study said readers should keep in mind that the 2016 census asked Canadians the occupation they worked the most hours in from May 1 to 7, 2016, specifically—and if they did not work that week, they were asked to name the field they had worked in most in January 1, 2015. The study also requested users list income for the 2015 calendar year.

The complete study can be read on the Hill Strategies website.