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Arts and Culture is $3.3 billion dollar industry for Philadelphia and the region

Region ranks 1st in U.S. for job creation

Cultural sector supports 44,000 jobs

Media Contact:
Karim Olaechea
Public Relations Manager
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
Ph: (215) 399-3518; Email:

Southeastern Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia’s arts and cultural sector has a profound $3.3 billion impact on the region’s economy and is outperforming the nation as a whole, according to research published by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. The Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia report details how spending by cultural organizations and their audiences ripples through the economy, generating revenues for businesses, families and local governments.

Click here for the full report.

The report also compares Philadelphia against 181 other cities, regions and communities to show how Philadelphia and its cultural community stack up against the rest of the country. Among participating regions, Southeastern Pennsylvania’s cultural sector ranks first in job creation, accounting for 11 jobs per thousand residents, nearly double the national average. The City of Philadelphia is third in per-capita cultural expenditures in a ranking of major cities, coming in below Washington, DC and San Francisco, but above Chicago, Seattle and Atlanta.

The benefits of Philadelphia’s vibrant arts and cultural sector are felt widely. According to the report, the cultural sector generates 44,000 jobs. And it returns $1 billion to local residents in the form of paychecks and household income. Local business owners and workers are not the only ones to benefit; arts and culture generates $169 million in tax revenues for state and local governments.

“In many places, culture is viewed as an amenity. Here in Philadelphia, it’s interwoven into the fabric of everything we do,” says Cultural Alliance President Tom Kaiden. “Arts and culture is a vital regional asset that supports thousands of jobs, benefits business in every industry and helps grow our economy.”

Among the findings in the report:

  • Southeastern Pennsylvania’s cultural organizations and their audiences have a combined impact of $3.3 billion on the region’s economy. It starts with $1.4 billion of direct expenditures by organizations and audiences. This first round of spending triggers subsequent rounds of spending and results in an additional $1.9 billion in indirect expenditures locally. 

  • Arts and culture supports 44,000 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the region, supporting workers in nearly every industry and in every community.

  • Arts and culture returns $1.04 billion in household income to Southeastern Pennsylvania residents. Approximately half goes to people living in the City of Philadelphia, and $349.5 million divided up among residents in Chester ($60.6 million), Bucks ($65.5 million), Delaware ($103.5 million) and Montgomery ($119.9 million) counties. The remainder ends up in other Pennsylvania counties and to out of state residents in New Jersey and Delaware.

  • Cultural tourism is a valuable asset for the region, injecting nearly $230 million in direct spending into the economy. Though visitors make up 29% of cultural attendees, they account for nearly 44% of total audience spending. On average, cultural visitors spend nearly twice as much as local residents per excursion ($45 vs $24 per person).

  • Arts and culture are a boon to the restaurant and hospitality industries. Cultural audiences spend $237.8 million on meals before and after events, and another $84.3 million on hotels and overnight lodging.

  • The report breaks down economic impact by cultural discipline. The region’s Science and Nature organizations have the largest impact on the sector with a total economic impact of $658.1 million. This is closely followed by the History ($616 million) and Museums, Galleries and Visual Arts ($604 million).

    Performing arts disciplines have a combined economic impact of $675 million, with Music as the highest performer with an economic impact of $242.2 million. Theater and Dance generate $242.2 million and $61.5 million in economic impact respectively. For a full break down of direct expenditures, jobs created, tax revenues and total economic impact generated for each discipline, view the full report.

This edition of Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia was made possible by funding from the William Penn Foundation and the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation. It was also supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Design, printing and distribution of Arts, Culture and Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia were generously underwritten by Bank of America.

In preparing this report, the Cultural Alliance gathered data on spending, employment, attendance, and other relevant areas for 345 local arts and cultural organizations through the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project. Additionally, the Alliance collected 2,039 audience spending surveys from patrons at 78 arts and cultural events held by 53 organizations throughout 2011.

This effort was part of the Cultural Alliance’s participation in American’s for the Arts’ national Arts Arts and Economic Prosperity IV study, which measured the impact of arts and culture in 182 different communities throughout the country. The economic modeling for this project was developed by economists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a consistent modeling process was used for all participating communities. Additional analysis was done by the Cultural Alliance in order to map and illustrate distribution of Household Income, track the impact on other industries, and to provide the economic impact of specific cultural Disciplines.

Click here for the full report.

Cultural Alliance Research
The Cultural Alliance is committed to strengthening the region’s cultural sector through high-quality research. That research has identified major trends affecting the field and demonstrated the impact of the arts on the economy and on cultural participants. Reports like Portfolio, Research Into Action: Pathways to New Opportunities and Arts, Culture & Economic Prosperity have established the Cultural Alliance as the region’s leading source for conducting, interpreting and disseminating meaningful data about arts and culture and its impact on our region’s growth and vibrancy.

Arts, Culture & Economic Prosperity in Greater Philadelphia is the first product from Creating Change, the Cultural Alliance’s new 10-year research initiative. Creating Change is currently funded by the William Penn Foundation and will strengthen Philadelphia’s competitive position by providing cultural organizations with the leading-edge research and tools they need to stay relevant, seize emerging opportunities and adapt to an ever-changing environment. The initiative will also demonstrate the important contributions that arts and cultural organizations make to communities and residents in the region.

About the Cultural Alliance
Established in 1972, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is the region’s premier leadership, research and advocacy organization for arts and culture. Our mission is to, “lead, strengthen and give voice to a diverse cultural sector that is making Philadelphia a world-class region to live, work and play.”

The Alliance played a key advocacy role in establishing the Philadelphia Cultural Fund; helped preserve Philadelphia’s Percent for Art programs; was a catalyst in re-establishing Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy; and led the successful statewide battle in 2009 to defeat the proposed “arts tax,” as well as a proposed 70% cut to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2011.

Today, 411 member organizations — which range from museums and dance companies to community art centers, historic sites, music ensembles, and zoos — and the region’s cultural community as a whole — count on the Alliance for research; marketing and audience development; policy and community engagement; and membership services. for more information on the cultural alliance please visit