New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Workforce Demographics Pilot Study Results

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from SMU DataArts

SMU DataArts | July 2019

Executive Summary Arts, culture, arts education, and creativity are major contributors to New Yorkers’ quality of life, and the arts and culture sector is an important part of New York City’s local economy. This pilot study was undertaken by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs to better understand the demographic makeup of a sample of organizations in this sector. This information will be a key tool to help ensure that every resident of New York City has access to all opportunities offered by the arts and culture sector. Some of the major findings of this pilot study are listed below.

  • With respect to race/Hispanic origin, the respondent arts workforce is less diverse than New York City’s population. Whites represent 66%, compared to their 32% share of the city’s population. In contrast, Hispanics, African Americans, and Asians are underrepresented – 10% of cultural workers identify as African American, compared to 22% of the city’s population; 11% identify as Hispanic, compared to 29% of city residents; and 6% identify as Asian, compared to 14% of city residents.
  • Respondents selecting the role “Community Engagement” most closely match the racial makeup of New York City as a whole. Service personnel such as Security, Retail/Merchandise, and Facilities are predominantly people of color, while Boards and Executive Leadership are 70% and 68% White (non-Hispanic), respectively.
  • The age distribution of respondents closely matches that of the population of individuals aged 15 or older in New York City.
  • In terms of gender, the overall arts workforce in this study is disproportionately female (65%) when compared to the general population of New York City (52% female), with males accounting for 31% and those identifying as transgender/gender non-conforming at under 1%. Board and Executive Leadership roles are 50% and 51% female, respectively.
  • A large share (15%) of the arts workforce in this study identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer. The role of Executive Leadership had the second largest response rate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, or queer at 26%. Only Technical/Production had a larger share at 27%.
  • Eight percent of the arts and culture workforce in this pilot study reported having a disability, compared to 4% of all employed New York City residents and 11% of all New York City residents.
  • 11% of respondents selected “I Decline to State/No Response” for disability and sexual orientation questions, while fewer than 5% of respondents selected “I Decline to State/No Response” for gender, age, or race questions.