Canadian artists getting poorer

A new study released yesterday (February 4) indicates that Canadian artists are poorer now than they were over a decade ago.

According to a Hill Strategies Research report, A Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada Based on the 2006 Census, the average artist  now earns $22,700 per year, compared with an average of $36,300 for all  Canadian workers.

Average earnings for Canadian artists--which includes actors, choreographers, craftspeople, composers, conductors, dancers, directors, musicians, producers, singers, and visual artists--decreased by 11 percent between 1990 and 2005, when adjusted for inflation; the largest drop took place between 2000 and 2005, during which earnings dropped by 14 percent, adjusted for inflation. Even without the inflation adjustment,  artist earnings decreased by 3 percent between 2000 and 2005.

While female artists represent a majority of artists--at 53 percent--their average yearly earnings of  $29,800 were 28 percent less than the average earnings of a male artist, who took in $26,700, on average, in 2005.

Aboriginal artists had the lowest average earnings in 2005:  just $15,900--30 percent less than the average for all Canadian artists.

The number of artists in Canada, at 135,000, is slightly larger than the number of Canadians working in the automotive industry, according to the report, which also notes that the broader cultural sector includes about 609,000 workers, representing 3.3 percent of the country's overall labour force.

To  download a pdf file of the complete Hill Strategies report, click here.