Arts and Cultural Sectors Make Significant Contribution to US GDP in 2021

The arts and cultural sectors in the United States have made a significant contribution to the US GDP in 2021, as new figures released by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show.[0] The economic value of the arts in the US reached a record high in 2021 of just over $1 trillion, making up 4.4% of the nation’s GDP.[1] This is a disproportionately large increase when compared to the wider economy, which grew by 5.9% in the same time span.

The data shows that between 2020 and 2021 the total economic value added by arts and cultural industries grew by 13.7 per cent.[1] The growth of the total US economy in the same period was 5.9 percent, whereas the growth of this surpassed that.

The report also notes that art industries employed nearly 4.9 million workers in 2021, which is a bounceback from the dip in 2020 but still lower than the 5.2 million employed in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.[0] Additionally, the ACPSA state-level dataset shows that between 2020 and 2021, every state and the District of Columbia saw growth in value added to their economies from arts and cultural industries, with 31 states and DC showing at least a 10 per cent increase in the arts as a share of gross state product (GSP).[0] The economic value from arts and culture in 47 states and the District of Columbia exceeded levels from 2019.[1]

This data demonstrates the importance of the arts and cultural sectors to the US economy and the continued impact of the pandemic on the sector. The arts and cultural industries are an essential part of the US economy, and the figures show that they continue to be a major contributor to economic growth.

0. “The arts made up more than $1 trillion of the US economy in 2021” Art Newspaper, 16 Mar. 2023,

1. “Data: Arts, culture add $1trn to US economy” Advanced Television, 17 Mar. 2023,

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