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Full text of "Age and arts participation with a focus on the baby boom cohort"

age and Arts Participation 

jtfith a Focus on the Baby Boom Cohort 



iard A. Peterson and Darren E. Sherkat 
idith Huggins Balfe and Rolf Meyersohn 

ited by Erin V. Lehman 

iearch Division Report #34 





"ATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries 



http://archive.org/details/ageartsparticipaOOpete 



Age and Arts Participation 



with a Focus on the Baby Boom Cohort 



Richard A. Peterson and Darren E. Sherkat 
Judith Huggins Balfe and Rolf Meyersohn 



Edited by Erin V. Lehman 



Research Division Report #34 



National Endowment for the Arts 

Seven Locks Press 

Santa Ana, California 



Age and Arts Participation 



with a Focus on the Baby Boom Cohort 



Age and Arts Participation with a Focus on the Baby Boom Cohort is Report #34 in a 
series on matters of interest to the arts community commissioned by the Research 
Division of the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Cover: Line of people outside the National Gallery of Art waiting to see the Jo- 
hannes Vermeer exhibit, January 30, 1996. AP Photo by J. Scott Applewhite. 

First printed 1996 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 
Peterson, Richard A., 1932— 

Age and arts participation with a focus on the baby boom cohort / 
Richard A. Peterson . . . (et al.). 

p. cm. — (Research Division report: 34) 
Includes bibliographical references. 
ISBN 0-929765-45-1 (paperback) 

1 . Arts audiences — United States. 2. Arts surveys — United States. I. 
Peterson, Richard A., 1932- . II. Series: Research Division report (National 
Endowment for the Arts. Research Division) ; 34. 
NX220.A36 1996 

700M'030973— dc20 96-7841 

CIP 

Manufactured in the United States of America 

Seven Locks Press 
Santa Ana, California 
1-800-354-5348 



Table of Contents 



List of Tables 



VI 



List of Figures 



vn 



Executive Summary 

The Report in Brief 

The Cohorts 

Highlights of Change in Cohort Attendance 

From 1982 to 1992 
Life Course, Demographics, and Alternatives 
Education, Income, Children, and the Baby Boomers 
The Ultimate Question 



1 
1 
1 

2 

4 
4 
5 



Introduction 



7 



Background on the SPPA 



11 



PART I: Effects of Age on Arts Participation 

Introduction to Age Cohorts 

Comparisons of Arts Participation Across Cohorts 

by Art Form 
Arts Participation of Specific Cohorts Over Time 
Implications of Life Course and Demographics 
Alternatives to Active Arts Participation: 

Consumption via Media 



13 
13 
16 

24 
39 
46 



PART II: Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers 68 

Introduction and Methodology 68 

Arts Participation by Cohort in the 1982 and 1992 SPPAs 72 

Effect of Education on Arts Participation 82 

Effect of Income on Arts Participation 89 

Effect of Households with Children on Arts Participation 96 

Alternative Forms of Arts Participation: The Case of Music 97 

Implications of Baby Boomer Analysis 114 



vi I Age and Arts Participation 

Summary 117 

Appendix A: 1992 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts 119 

Appendix B: Additional Tables 126 

Notes 134 

Bibliography 136 

About the Authors 138 

Other Reports on Arts Participation 140 

Tables 

Table 1 . Age Group Comparisons for Participation in Classical Music 
and Opera, 1982 and 1992: Unadjusted, Controlling for 
Demographics, and Controlling for Demographics and Period 17 

Table 2. Age Group Comparisons for Participation in Ballet 

and Musicals, 1982 and 1992: Unadjusted, Controlling 

for Demographics, and Controlling for Demographics 

and Period 18 

Table 3. Cohort Comparisons of Participation Rates for Jazz, Plays, 
Art Museums, and Novels, 1982 and 1992: 
Unadjusted, Adjusted for Demographics, and Adjusted 
for Demographics and Period 22 

Table 4. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in Participation of 

Classical Music and Opera by Age and Cohort 26—27 

Table 5. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in Participation of 

Ballet and Musicals by Age and Cohort 29-30 

Table 6. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in Participation 

of Jazz and Plays by Age and Cohort 34-35 

Table 7. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in Participation 

of Art Museums and Novels by Age and Cohort 37-38 

Table 8. OLS Regression of the Influence of Life Course Factors on 

Arts Participation: 17- to 46- Year-Olds 42 



Table of Contents I vii 



fable l >. OLS Regression of the Influence of Life Course Factors on 

Arts Participation: 47- to 66- Year-Olds 44 

Table 10. OLS Regression of the Influence of Life Course Factors on 

Arts Participation: Age 67 and Over 45 

Table 1 1. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Classical 

Music and Opera 48-49 

Fable 12. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Ballet and 

Musicals 51-52 

Table 13. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Jazz and Plays 55-56 
Table 14. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Visual Arts 58 

Table 15. Percentage of Radio Consumption of Classical Music 

and Opera 61-62 

Table 16. Percentage of Consumption of Classical Music and 

Opera Recordings 65-66 

Table 17. Education and Cohorts by Size, in Millions (1992 Data Only) 71 
Table 18. Highest and Lowest Cohort Arts Participation Rates 

in 1982 and 1992 77 

Table 19. Highest and Lowest Cohort Arts Participation Rates 

(Average of 1982 and 1992) by Education 87 

Table 20. Highest and Lowest Cohort Arts Participation Rates by 

Income (1992 Data Only) 94 

Table 21. Percentage of the 1941-45 and 1961-65 Cohorts Liking 

Various Types of Music 1 02 

Table 22. Music Liking and Projected Audience Size for 1941-45 

and 1961-65 Cohorts 115 

Table 23. Classical Music Attendance and Nonattendance for 1941-45 

and 1961-65 Cohorts with One or More Years of College 116 

Table B-l. Arts Participation by Age Cohort and Survey Year 126 

Table B-2. Arts Participation Rates (Average of 1982 and 1992) 

by Age Cohort and Educational Level 127 

Table B-3. Arts Participation Rates (Average of 1982 and 1992) 

by Age Cohort and Annual Family Income 128 

Table B-4. Arts Participation Rates (Average of 1982 and 1992) 

by Age Cohort and Number of Children 129 

Table B-5. Percent and Number Liking Various Types of Music by 

Age Cohort 1 30 

Table B-6. Percent and Number Liking Various Types of Music by 

Age Cohort and Extent of Arts Participation 131-133 



viii I Age and Arts Participation 



Figures 

Figure 1. Educational Level by Age Cohort 71 
Figure 2. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Classical 

Music Concerts by Age Cohort 73 
Figure 3. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Jazz Concerts 

by Age Cohort 73 
Figure 4. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Operas by 

Age Cohort 74 
Figure 5. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Musicals by 

Age Cohort 74 
Figure 6. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Ballet 

Performances by Age Cohort 75 
Figure 7. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Theater by 

Age Cohort 75 
Figure 8. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Museums 

by Age Cohort 76 
Figure 9. 1982 and 1992 Classical Music Concert Attendance by 

Age Cohort 79 

Figure 10. 1982 and 1992 Jazz Concert Attendance by Age Cohort 79 

Figure 11. 1982 and 1992 Opera Attendance by Age Cohort 80 

Figure 12. 1982 and 1992 Musicals Attendance by Age Cohort 80 

Figure 13. 1982 and 1 992 Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort 8 1 

Figure 14. 1982 and 1992 Theater Attendance by Age Cohort 81 

Figure 15. 1982 and 1992 Museum Visits by Age Cohort 82 
Figure 16. Classical Music Concert Attendance by Age Cohort 

and Education 83 

Figure 17. Jazz Concert Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 83 

Figure 18. Opera Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 84 

Figure 19. Attendance at Musicals by Age Cohort and Education 84 

Figure 20. Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 85 

Figure 21. Theater Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 85 

Figure 22. Museum Visits by Age Cohort and Education 86 

Figure 23. Family Income by Age Cohort 89 
Figure 24. Attendance at Classical Concerts by Age Cohort and Income 90 

Figure 25. Attendance at Jazz Concerts by Age Cohort and Income 90 

Figure 26. Opera Attendance by Age Cohort and Income 91 

Figure 27. Attendance at Musicals by Age Cohort and Income 91 



Table of Contents I ix 



Figure 28. Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort and Income 92 

Figure 29. Theater Attendance by Age Cohort and Income 92 

Figure 30. Museum Visits by Age Cohort and Income 93 

Figure 31. Number with Children under 12 by Cohort (1992 Data Only) 97 
Figure }2. Classical Music Concert Attendance by Age Cohort 

and Number of Children, 1982 and 1992 98 

Figure }}. Jazz Concert Attendance by Age Cohort and Number 

of Children, 1982 and 1992 98 

Figure 34. Opera Attendance by Age Cohort and Number of Children, 

1982 and 1992 99 

Figure 35. Attendance at Musicals by Age Cohort and Number 

of Children, 1982 and 1992 99 

Figure 36. Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort and Number of Children, 

1982 and 1992 100 

Figure 37. Theater Attendance by Age Cohort and Number of Children, 

1982 and 1992 100 

Figure 38. Museum Visits by Age Cohort and Number of Children, 

1982 and 1992 101 

Figure 39. Percent That "Like to Listen to Country- Western Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 104 

Figure 40. Percent That "Like to Listen to Mood/Easy Listening" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 105 

Figure 41. Percent That "Like to Listen to Hymns/Gospel Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 105 

Figure 42. Percent That "Like to Listen to Big Band Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 106 

Figure 43. Percent That "Like to Listen to Blues/Rhythm and Blues" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 106 

Figure 44. Percent That "Like to Listen to Rock" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 107 

Figure 45. Percent That "Like to Listen to Classical Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 107 

Figure 46. Percent That "Like to Listen to Musicals" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 108 

Figure 47. Percent That "Like to Listen to Bluegrass" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 108 

Figure 48. Percent That "Like to Listen to Contemporary Folk Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 109 



x I Age and Arts Participation 

Figure 49. Percent That "Like to Listen to Jazz" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 109 

Figure 50. Percent That "Like to Listen to Soul Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 1 10 

Figure 51. Percent That "Like to Listen to Ethnic Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 110 

Figure 52. Percent That "Like to Listen to Latin/Spanish/Salsa" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 111 

Figure 53. Percent That "Like to Listen to Marching Band Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 1 1 1 

Figure 54. Percent That "Like to Listen to Choral/Glee Club" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 112 

Figure 55. Percent That "Like to Listen to Reggae" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 1 12 

Figure 56. Percent That "Like to Listen to Opera" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 113 

Figure 57. Percent That "Like to Listen to New Age Music" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 1 13 

Figure 58. Percent That "Like to Listen to Rap" 

by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 114 



Executive Summary 



The Report in Brief 

This report presents two sets of analyses of the effect of age on adult arts 
participation in seven benchmark or core art forms. The data which are 
analyzed herein are taken from the National Endowment for the Arts' Surveys 
of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) which were conducted in 1982 and 
1992. The SPPA provides important statistics on adult participation over this 
10-year period. These data document the changing composition of arts audi- 
ences in America; they provide a snapshot in time of audiences for classical 
music, opera, ballet, musicals, jazz, plays, and art museums. 

Based on over 12,000 telephone and in-person interviews of adult Amer- 
icans, each survey reveals a pattern of participation by age and other demo- 
graphics. Of special importance is the participation of "cohorts," a group of 
individuals born at roughly the same time and thereby sharing a variety of so- 
ciohistorical experiences. Insofar as the socializing experiences of a cohort are 
unique, they will influence the rates of participation in some or all of the arts. 
Moreover, the influences will persist as the cohort moves through the life 
cycle. While aging effects take place over the life span for all individuals no 
matter when they were born, cohort effects, when present, yield unique at- 
tendance patterns. 

This report examines the participation of different cohorts between 1982 
and 1992, with a special look at the baby boomers generation. The results are 
important for all those concerned with the arts in America today, especially 
the cultural institutions, their supporters, and policy makers. 



The Cohorts 

The collective experience of an age group is of such importance that they 
have been broken down into seven cohorts for this report's analysis and named 
according to the era in which they were born: 

Progressives: those born before 1916, aged 77 and older in 1992 

Roaring '20s: those born between 1916 and 1925, aged 67-76 
Depression: those born between 1926 and 1935, aged 57-66 



2 I Age and Arts Participation 



World War II: those born between 1936 and 1945, aged 47-56 
Early Boomers: those born between 1946 and 1955, aged 37-46 
Late Boomers: those born between 1956 and 1965, aged 27-36 
Baby Busters: those born between 1966 and 1976, aged 17-26, 
also known as Generation X. 



Highlights of Change in Cohort Attendance 
From 1982 to 1992 

Classical Music. The raw data show that attendance at classical music perfor- 
mances is highest among those born between 1936-1945 (the 47- to 56-year- 
olds in 1992) and lowest in the oldest and youngest cohorts. When the data 
are adjusted for demographic and life course events, the lower participation 
rates of the oldest cohort (born pre-1916) are, as might be expected, a func- 
tion of aging, whereas the decreased participation of younger cohorts shows a 
clear cohort effect. This could signal problems for the future of live classical 
music if these younger adults fail to mature into attendance. The truism that 
more educated people attend the arts more often is no longer as valid. While 
the post- WW II cohorts are more educated than those adults that came be- 
fore them, the link between high levels of education and classical music at- 
tendance is not as strong as it is in the earlier cohorts. 

Opera. Looking at results adjusted for demographic and life course factors, 
members of older cohorts comprise an even higher proportion of the opera 
audiences than was true for classical music concertgoers. For example, the 
1916-1925 cohort has higher rates of participation than even the 1936-1945 
cohort. As observed for classical music, operagoers are underrepresented 
among the youngest adults. These results suggest that opera is a discipline 
with a graying audience. In fact, there is a dramatic drop between the WW II 
cohort (1936-1945) and the Early Boomers (1946-1955). Given this, it is 
unlikely that aging alone will induce these later cohorts to mature into opera 
participation; more needs to be done to build a younger audience. 

Ballet. The data reveal that younger cohorts are more likely to be found in the 
audience for ballet performances than at the opera or at classical music con- 
certs. Indeed, in the unadjusted results, even the youngest cohorts attend the 
ballet at rates slightly above the most active arts participants, the 47-to 56- 
year-olds. While younger adults are not attending as much as expected — given 
their high levels of education, life course stage, income and other predictors — 
they are attending at a rate comparable to older cohorts. If audiences mature 



Executive Summary I 3 



into balletgoers, the younger cohorts may eventually match their elders in 
terms of attendance. 

Musicals. The overall rates of attendance at musicals are high compared to 
rates of participation in the other art forms examined above, and yet cohort 
differences follow a pattern much like that observed for classical music, with 
participation lower in the younger cohorts. There seems to be a genuine co- 
hort effect depressing attendance at musicals starting with the older baby 
boom cohort and continuing through the youngest cohorts. 

Jazz. The adjusted results show that attendance at jazz performances was 
much higher among the younger cohorts, those aged 46 and younger, and that 
controls for demographic and life stage factors have little impact on these co- 
hort differences. This pattern of higher rates of attendance at jazz concerts for 
adults born after WW II is very different from the patterns seen for the other 
art forms examined thus far. The findings for jazz suggest that, as these young 
cohorts replace older ones, it is expected that overall participation at jazz 
events will grow. 

Plays. As was the case for the first four art forms, attendance at theatrical plays 
is highest for the 1936-1945 cohort, which has significantly higher atten- 
dance rates compared to all other cohorts in the raw data. The lowest reported 
participation, as expected, is found among the oldest Americans, those born 
before 1916. The next cohort, 1916-1925, is also found to attend fewer plays 
than do the 1926-1935, 1936-1945, and 1946-1955 cohorts. For plays, all 
of the cohorts born before 1946 have significantly higher rates of attendance 
than the youngest adult Americans. This "baby boom dividing line" suggests 
that cohort effects are responsible for the difference. However, as was the case 
for musicals, overall adult participation is fairly high and younger cohorts do 
not appear from this survey to be abandoning the discipline. 

Art Museums. In contrast to the results obtained for other core art forms dis- 
cussed so far, the youngest cohort (1966-1975) ranks second in its high level 
of attendance at art museums. Its rate is only exceeded fractionally by the 
Early Boomers, (1946-1955). The baby boom dividing line noticeable in 
other art forms does not hold in the case of art museums. Overall, the find- 
ings for art museums suggest that cohort differences have little to do with rates 
of participation. Most of the unadjusted differences between cohorts are ac- 
tually a function of life course and demographic factors. 

Novels. Data in this add-on category of the survey reveal that, as was the case 



4 I Age and Arts Participation 



with art museums, the younger cohorts are the more active, but that this is a 
function of causes other than age alone. The younger baby boomers reported 
reading more often than other cohorts except the older boomers, thus making 
these two cohorts the most active consumers of this particular form of artistic 
expression. Among the three pre- WW II cohorts, the data show that the older 
the cohort, the less reading they do. 



Life Course, Demographics, and Alternatives 

Other analyses in this report show how specific cohorts have increased or 
decreased their attendance at the benchmark art activities over this 10-year pe- 
riod and how life course and demographic factors affect their participation. 
Life course influences have a direct and tangible bearing on how often indi- 
viduals are able to attend live artistic performances or exhibits, and these ef- 
fects vary with age. The report also shows that many are substituting alterna- 
tive forms of arts participation, such as television, cable and radio broadcasts, 
or through various recorded media such as videotapes and compact discs 
(CDs) for live arts participation. 



Education, Income, Children, and the Baby Boomers 

As has been true historically, education and income are strong predictors 
of arts participation. In every cohort, in every art form, those with more edu- 
cation and higher incomes participate at higher rates than those with less. 
Nonetheless, there is an overall decline in adult arts participation after the co- 
hort born during World War II. The baby boomers are a surprise. Although 
better educated than their predecessors, they have not kept up in terms of ac- 
tive participation in the arts as would be expected. What accounts for this? 
Was the education the younger generation received the same as that of their 
elders? Findings confirm that not only was it different, it did not produce the 
same income. 

Proportionately fewer baby boomers have advanced into top professional 
and high-salaried positions, despite their advanced degrees. And basic costs, 
especially for housing, have increased to the point that home ownership is dif- 
ficult for middle-income adults, even with two wage earners in a household. 
It may not be the lack of caring for culture nor lower incomes that keep baby 
boomers — especially the younger ones — away from active participation in the 
arts. They may not have the time nor money to attend, even if they have the 
inclination. They might be at home with the children, in what little free time 



Executive Summary 



their work, affords them for family life. Nonetheless, the data show that, re- 
gardless of the presence or absence of children in the home, it is the 
TH6-1945 cohort which attends the core art forms at the highest rates 
among all adult Americans. Those in the younger cohorts have reduced their 
attendance below the high levels attained by their elders at the same age and 
presumably at the same stage of "full nest" family life. 



The Ultimate Question 

If the baby boomers and their successors, Generation X, tend to partici- 
pate in most of the seven core art forms at lower rates than their elders as ex- 
amined in this report, what are they doing instead? Without question, many 
of the baby boomers are participating in the core art forms and popular arts, 
especially music, in ways that are not accounted for in these data. On that as- 
sumption, it is no accident that their rates of participation are highest in 
jazz — the art form closest to popular music — and in art museums, with which 
popular music competes least. If the nature and location of that "other" par- 
ticipation could be determined with greater assurance, it might aid the core 
arts organizations in developing strategies to lure nonparticipants away from 
their present activities to those that might be considered more enriching of 
adults. 

This report suggests that something should be done to ensure future au- 
diences for the benchmark art disciplines, the backbone of traditional Ameri- 
can culture. The problem of nonattendance is serious for a number of reasons, 
especially in its effect on earned income. This is compounded by the fact that 
"unearned" support from public agencies and foundations, as well as from pri- 
vate patrons, is becoming ever more competitive to obtain. In an increasingly 
hostile environment for cultural endeavors, if the largest segment of the adult 
population — the baby boomers — turns away from providing support and 
from participating actively in core art forms, the future of the arts is indeed 
grim. 



Introduction 



The active support of the arts by audiences makes a difference to the vital- 
ity of American culture and its future. Artists, arts administrators, policy 
makers, hinders, and all those who care about the arts should pay close atten- 
tion to the changing age composition of audiences in America, because it pro- 
vides not only a snapshot of the present demand for various art forms but also 
in the vears to come. About this subject, it was Robinson (1993) who first re- 
ported in Arts Participation in America: 1982-1992 that since 1982 audi- 
ences for many art forms have been getting older, and the pattern of adult at- 
tendance across various arts disciplines is mixed. Although there are art forms 
such as jazz and ballet that have attracted younger audiences, the question is 
this: Will the next generation of adults show the same level of dedication, the 
same pattern of active arts participation as their elders? 

This report seeks to unveil the specific factors that affect audience partic- 
ipation and how those factors have changed over the 10-year period spanning 
1982 to 1992. What are the trends for various age groups and the differences 
between them? Are differences in attendance due primarily to age dynamics, 
or are they due to demographic and life course factors that are only loosely re- 
lated to age? Answers to these and other questions are found through the 
analysis of data taken from the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. This 
nationwide survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census for the Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts, was part of a larger national census adminis- 
tered in 1982, 1985, and 1992. The survey data allow participation compar- 
isons to be made between different art forms and among age cohorts over this 
10-year period. The seven benchmark art forms in this report are classical 
music, opera, ballet, musicals, jazz, plays, and art museums. Literature is also 
examined. 

In general, as Robinson summarizes the data, "Across a decade in which 
participation in certain leisure activities declined and in which the arts became 
involved in increased public controversy, Americans' participation in the arts 
had remained steady, and for some arts activities, increased" (1993, 54). As in 
1982 and 1985, the major predictor of arts participation in 1992 was the re- 
spondent's level of education. In every cohort, in every art form, those with 
more education participate at higher rates than do those with less. Income was 
also a key predictor, although most of the differences by income could be ex- 
plained by the respondent's education level. Some groups showed greater in- 
creases in live arts participation than others. Blacks, for example, showed more 



8 I Age and Arts Participation 



gains than whites over the decade. People in the "empty nest" years (ages 45 
through 74) showed more gain in participation than did the "full nest" baby 
boomer generation. 

This report, however, explores the general failure of adult arts participa- 
tion to keep up with expectations, especially given the increased levels of ed- 
ucation among younger cohorts. The fact that young college-educated adults 
in 1992 were less likely to attend live arts performances and events than their 
counterparts in 1982 is extremely worrisome. These individuals should be the 
vanguard of adult arts audiences. 

At the same time it is important to remember that adult participation 
takes many forms; far more people are reached by mass media presentations 
of the various art disciplines (television, radio, recordings, and other new tech- 
nology) than by any other means. In fact, twice as many respondents reported 
"participating in the arts" via these media than by attending a live perfor- 
mance (Robinson, 1993, 55). Americans are participating but on their own 
terms — by enjoying their own customized world of artistic activity at home. 
The possible causes for this frequently reduced live participation are examined 
in the following pages. 

Of special concern are those art forms that are presented in real time and, 
therefore, need a live audience not only for today's performances or events but 
also in the future. How can adults be encouraged to attend the performing 
arts, to say nothing of committing to them on an ongoing basis? As Andreasen 
suggests, this is a thorny marketing problem. Those organizations that wish to 
build their audience must understand its composition and the reasons why it 
attends events. Equally important, they must understand their "non-audi- 
ence" and the reasons for nonattendance. As Andreasen recalls, "Becoming in- 
volved in the arts is not a one-step process but a progression through several 
stages" (1990). Arts organizations need to encourage people to move from dis- 
interest or passive interest to active attendance. This requires education and 
intervention on the part of arts presenters. It also requires taking a closer look 
at exactly where on the continuum of participation most adult Americans can 
be found. 

In Part I of this report, authors Peterson and Sherkat focus their analysis 
on the effect of age factors in determining adult attendance at live arts per- 
formances or events. This analysis takes into consideration the influence of 
"period": what was happening in society (economic, social, political, artistic) 
when the survey was conducted; the effects of aging in general; and what dif- 
ferences in participation are attributable to changes taking place in an indi- 
vidual's life course. A third element of understanding is to look at the partic- 
ipation of cohorts. Age cohorts are important because an age group shares 
formative experiences that impact the choices its members make throughout 



Introduction I 9 



Liter lite. To further define the causal relationship between age and arts par- 
ticipation, Peterson and Sherk.u control for the effects of life course factors 
and demographics. Their analysis is rich in statistical detail. It stands in styl- 
istic contrast to the analysis presented in Part II of this report where graphs 
instead of numerical tables are used to present similar findings in a different 
way. 

In Part II, authors Balfe and Meyersohn provide an analysis of the 1982 
and 1992 SPPA data. The focus of this section, however, is to highlight the 
arts participation of the baby boomers, those born between 1946 and 1965 
who make up nearly half of all adult Americans today or some 80 million 
people aged 30 to 49. With baby boomers as the focal point of their cohort 
analysis, the pattern of arts attendance that characterizes this unique cohort as 
it passes through life's stages begins to emerge. Baby boomers are a surprise. 
They are more educated than the previous generation and yet their level of 
participation in the arts is lower. The underlying question is, Will this change 
and if so, how and when? Balfe and Meyersohn explore the pattern of partic- 
ipation in all of the benchmark art forms except literature and offer possible 
explanations for the change in participation, as evidenced in the 1982 and 
1992 data. 

In short, the two sections of the report are complementary, examining and 
analyzing the same data in somewhat different ways yet often coming to sim- 
ilar conclusions (which help validate the data). Taken together, they enrich 
our understanding of the issues at stake. 



Background on the SPPA 



As the most comprehensive inquiry into adult arts participation in the 
i United States, the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) pro- 
vides an indication of who participates in which of the core art forms, and 
how often. The 1992 SPPA builds on the findings from two previous national 
surveys on the same topic: the 1982 SPPA and the 1985 SPPA. Each SPPA 
survey queried respondents about ways in which they participate in the arts — 
as audience members at live events, as performers themselves, or alternatively, 
via broadcasts or various recorded media. 

Prior to 1982, the incompatibility of question wording and of procedures 
employed in data collection across the various studies limited their use in 
identifying trends in arts participation over time. As a result of modifications 
and new procedures, the surveys now yield a more systematic and definitive 
collection of arts participation data — one that can be both generalized to the 
overall American population with suitable confidence and also replicated reg- 
ularly to track the latest trends in arts audiences. In addition, the 1982, 1985, 
and 1992 SPPA have achieved much higher response rates than were obtained 
in earlier surveys. 

As in the 1982 and 1985 surveys, the 1992 SPPA data were collected by 
the U.S. Bureau of the Census as part of a larger national panel survey of 
households. The Census Bureau conducted interviews each month through- 
out the year, interviewing approximately 1 ,000 people per month. Each 
month's interview began with questions about general attendance at arts per- 
formances during the previous 12 months. A second set of items examined the 
extent to which the respondents used broadcast or recorded media to "partic- 
ipate" in the arts. During the second half of 1992, additional questions were 
asked of interviewees including their music preferences, personal arts partici- 
pation and other leisure activities, their socialization experiences, and desire 
for more arts participation. In all, there were 12,736 respondents of which 
three-quarters were contacted by telephone, and the rest were interviewed in 
person. (The 1982 SPPA data were collected in the same manner from a total 
of 17,254 respondents.) The final data were weighted slightly to ensure that 
the final sample was completely representative of the 1992 U.S. population in 
terms of age, race, and gender. 



Effects of Age on 
Arts Participation 

Authored by Richard A. Peterson and Darren E. Sherkat 




Introduction to Age Cohorts 

In order to best analyze the data, it was at first decided that respondents of 
approximately the same age should be grouped together. One conventional 
way of doing this is to form decade-long age groups, the pattern followed by 
Robinson (1993). However, this basis of division does not satisfy the need in 
this monograph to identify and isolate socially meaningful groups, such as the 
baby boomers, who have many common experiences, having grown up in a 
definable time in American history. In creating and comparing age cohorts, re- 
sults confirm that the commonality of early socializing experiences leads age 
groups to make distinctive social, cultural, and political choices throughout 
the rest of their lives. The collective experience of an age group is of such im- 
portance that they have been divided into seven age cohorts and given the fol- 
lowing nicknames: 

Progressives: those born before 1916, aged 77 and older in 1992 

Roaring '20s: those born between 1916 and 1925, aged 67-76 

Depression: those born between 1926 and 1935, aged 57-66 

World War II: those born between 1936 and 1945, aged 47-56 

Early Boomers: those born between 1946 and 1955, aged 37-46 

Late Boomers: those born between 1956 and 1965, aged 27-36 

Baby Busters: those born between 1966 and 1975, aged 17-26, 
also known as Generation X. 

The names given the cohorts typify the times in which these adults were 
born. The Progressives, for example, were born when there was a widespread 
social movement focused on checking the power of big business which had be- 
come unwieldy in the final decades of the 19th century. Public support for 
artistic expression was not a hallmark of this era, and arts policy was primar- 
ily dictated by the reformist progressives who helped to enact numerous laws 
and regulations to censor and control artistic expression; the goal was to pro- 
tect workers, women, and children from the apparent "excesses of European 
culture." 



13 



14 I Age and Arts Participation 



The Roaring '20s actually had its origins in 1916 and the upwelling of 
naive optimism that accompanied the outbreak of World War I, known as 
"the Great Crusade to make the world safe for democracy." Disenchantment 
ensued as a result of the disastrous outcome of that war. This led directly to 
the narcissistic excesses of the 1920s, the years in which those born between 
1916 and 1935 experienced their youth. 

Young adults in the 1930s, on the other hand, were profoundly affected 
by the Great Depression which began for most following the stock market 
crash of 1929. Material deprivation afflicted almost all Americans during the 
Depression, whereas self-sacrifice was the norm during the World War II years 
when women went to work in factories and rationing was common. Those 
born between 1936 and 1945, whether during the World War II years or not, 
had their early experiences shaped by it. Their world was much different than 
the one in which the Early Boomers grew up. 

The "baby boom" began in 1946 and lasted for a period of 20 years. It co- 
incided with the end of World War II, the return of military forces from over- 
seas, the reduction of wage work for women, and the general wave of opti- 
mism of the time. The conditions for children born during each decade of the 
20-year period from 1946 to 1965 were not, however, identical. Those born 
in the first decade of the boom (1946-1955) grew up in a world of circum- 
stances unlike that of their parents. For example, this was the first generation 
to grow up with television. That fact in itself is significant because the entire 
world was transformed by this medium. This cohort was the first to head off 
to college by the millions and the first to experience the agony of being drafted 
to take part in an unpopular war — the Vietnam War. Those born in the sec- 
ond decade of the baby boomers (1956-1965) had more advantages; they en- 
joyed all the benefits their older brothers and sisters had gained for them in 
their efforts to change the world. They inherited the culture of the Early 
Boomers with its "sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll," as well as a nation that was in- 
creasing in affluence. 

The Baby Busters, born after 1965, on the other hand, came into a nation 
disillusioned by the debacle of the Vietnam War and bereft of the national op- 
timism of the prior two decades. They went on to college in unprecedented 
numbers but in a decelerating economy. In an economic sense, this cohort ex- 
perienced a period of "bust" relative to the boom of the preceding decades. 
Their world was less constrained but more uncertain. They were accustomed 
to having a wide range of entertainment choices offered up by live perfor- 
mances and the latest in technology such as CDs and MTV. What they grew 
up with in terms of the arts was very unlike that of the eldest cohorts who were 
acculturated to the core art forms. 

Of all the means by which the data from the 1982 and 1992 SPPA could 



I lice ts ot Age on Arts Participation I 1 5 



be analyzed, cohort analysis — following one age group or cohort over time 
and comparing its arts participation with cohorts before and after — makes the 
most sense. Although this report did look at the effects of aging across art 
form participation, tracking cohorts provided the most useful analytic strat- 
egy for sorting out aging effects. For example, observed changes in adults' at- 
tendance between 1982 and 1992 may not be due to differences in age per se 
but may be caused by a host of other factors. No doubt, aging has an effect on 
ones active participation in the arts. But more precision was desired — which 
specific age groups are participating in the arts and why? 

The analysis also looked at the effect of "period," the time period that data 
were collected. It may well be that for most art forms, if not all, rates of par- 
ticipation are higher at one point in time or in one particular year. For exam- 
ple, a survey fielded in a period of recession or during a period of economic 
expansion could be a cause of differing rates of adult participation in arts 
events. Period effects may also influence a specific art form, as when a partic- 
ular set of events draws an unusual amount of popular attention to the art 
form at precisely the time the survey was being taken. For example, the pop- 
ularity of the Broadway musical Cats may partly account for the popularity of 
musicals in the 1982 SPPA. Moreover, period effects may affect some age 
groups but not others. For example, the counterculture movement of the late 
1960s profoundly affected those under 30 years of age at the time but had lit- 
tle effect on those over 40. In short, to fully understand adult arts participa- 
tion over the past ten years as recorded in the SPPAs, a number of factors 
needs to be considered. 

One other note should be made at the outset of Part I: two other variables 
not considered in the 1992 SPPA were included to enhance the analysis and 
understanding of adult arts participation. The first is marital status. Those 
who never married have higher rates of arts participation than do those "ever 
married," (those currently married, divorced, or widowed). Children in the 
household is another important variable. Adults with children under the age 
of 12 at home, for example, are limited in their ability to attend live arts pre- 
sentations. This is especially true for single parent households, a growing seg- 
ment of the American population. Often it is simply neither easy nor inex- 
pensive to bring children to live arts performances. 

The issue of "life course" or life stage variables and the influence of other 
demographic factors on arts participation is also examined. By statistically 
controlling for these variables, the degree to which age actually determines at- 
tendance at arts events can be seen. Throughout the analysis, terms such as 
"significant" and "significance" are used. 2 Following is a discussion of the data 
itself and a comparison of arts participation across cohorts. 



16 I Age and Arts Participation 

Comparisons of Arts Participation Across 
Cohorts by Art Form 

As suggested earlier, one of the most important concepts for understand- 
ing age-related patterning of arts participation is that of the cohort — a group 
of individuals born at roughly the same time and thereby sharing a variety of 
sociohistorical experiences. The defining experiences of a cohort's socialization 
may persist over time and be relatively impervious to later life course influ- 
ences. Insofar as the socializing experiences of a cohort are unique, they will 
influence the rates of their participation in some or all of the arts. Moreover, 
these influences will persist as the cohort moves through the life cycle. Thus, 
cohort effects differ from aging effects, because while aging effects take place 
over the life span for all individuals no matter when they were born, cohort 
effects yield unique influence only on the attendance patterns exhibited by 
each cohort. 

Cohorts are focal in this section and the one following. In this section, 
data are taken from the 1982 and 1992 SPPA to examine differences in arts 
participation for the seven different birth cohorts identified. As previously 
mentioned, they are: pre-1916, 1916-1925, 1926-1935, 1936-1945, 
1946-1955, 1956-1965 (all consistent with the 1982 SPPA), and 
1966-1975 (added in the 1992 SPPA). In order to remove life cycle and aging 
effects on participation, controls were established for demographic and life 
course factors and also for the year of the study. The following, then, is a snap- 
shot of the average of 1982 and 1992 cohort participation data by art form. 
In the section following, in order to identify the role that a decade of aging 
played in the changing rates of arts participation, an analysis will be made of 
how each cohort's participation changed between 1982 and 1992. 

Classical Music, Opera, Ballet, and Musicals 

Data in Tables 1 and 2 show the rates of participation at classical music, 
opera, ballet, and musical performances for the seven birth cohorts. The re- 
sults are presented in three ways: first, the unadjusted proportions are shown; 
second, the proportions are adjusted to take into account the distorting effects 
of the demographic and life course variables. (This adjustment eliminates the 
influence of these variables and provides a better picture of the effect of age 
per se on attendance.) Third, the proportions are adjusted by these factors and 
also by the year in which the data were collected (1982 or 1992). This final 
control emphasizes the differences between cohorts with the effect of aging 
within cohorts taken out. 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 1 7 



TABLE 1. Age Group Comparisons for Participation in Classical 
Music and Opera, 1982 and 1992: Unadjusted, 
Controlling for Demographics, and Controlling for 
Demographics and Period 



Classical Music Age Group Comparisons 1982 and 1992 



] Unadjusted 



Adjusted* 



Adjusted* 



0> 

— 

ex. 

c 
o 



20 



15 



£ 10 



9. 
'u 

t 

re 



77-UP 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Groups 



Opera Age Group Comparisons 1982 and 1992 



] Unadjusted 



Adjusted* 



Adjusted 



** 



in 

& 

OH 

c 
o 

— 

03 
Q. 

'u 

■E 

— 



77-UP 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 



*Controlling for demographics 
"Controlling for demographics and period 



18 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 2. Age Group Comparisons for Participation in Ballet and 
Musicals, 1982 and 1992: Unadjusted, Controlling for 
Demographics, and Controlling for Demographics and 
Period 



TO 

c 

TO 
Q. 



r 

Q- 



Ballet Age Group Comparisons 1982 and 1992 



] Unadjusted 



Adjusted* 



Adjusted** 




77-UP 67-76 57-66 47-56 37^6 

Age Groups 



27-36 



17-26 



Si 
to 

c 
o 

TO 
Q. 

'u 

'■c 

TO 



Musical Age Group Comparisons 1982 and 1992 



25 
20 
15 
10 
5 




] Unadjusted 



Adjusted* 



Adjusted* 




77_UP 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 

Age Croups 



27-36 17-26 



*Controlling for demographics 
"Controlling for demographics and period 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 1 9 



Classical Music. The unadjusted results in Table 1 show that attendance at 
classical music performances is highest among those born between 
1930-1945 ( t he 47- to 56-year-olds in 1992) and lowest in the oldest and 
youngest cohorts. The pattern of attendance across cohorts appears curvilin- 
ear. In the unadjusted results, the rank order of cohort participation from 
most frequent to least is as follows: 1936-1945, 1926-1935, 1946-1955, 
1916-1925, 1956-1965, 1966-1975, and finally and perhaps not so surpris- 
ingly, the oldest cohort, pre- 1916. 

Turning to the results adjusted for demographic and life course factors, 
findings confirm that the effect of these controls is to eliminate the curvilin- 
ear pattern observed in the unadjusted figures just discussed. The figures for 
the four oldest cohorts are all equally high, forming a plateau, and the pro- 
portions fall from this plateau with each succeeding younger cohort. Begin- 
ning with the Early Boomers (those born 1946-1955) adjusted participation 
rates for each cohort are significantly lower than the rates for every other co- 
hort. The Late Boomers are significantly lower in their participation than the 
Early Boomers, and the youngest cohort, Baby Busters, in turn, shows signif- 
icantly fewer classical music patrons than the Late Boomers. 

The first important finding that emerges when demographic factors are 
taken into account is that lower participation rates among the oldest cohort 
(pre-1916) are, as suspected, a function of demographic and life stage factors, 
rather than being a genuine cohort difference in participation. The second 
finding is that all of the younger cohorts show a clear cohort effect. 

The low adjusted participation rates for cohorts born since WW II could 
signal problems for the future of live classical music if these groups fail to age 
into attendance at such performances. The sharp break between the pre- WW 
II cohorts and the baby boomers suggests a cohort effect that continues to op- 
erate in subsequent cohorts. Further, the dramatic differences in reported arts 
participation which are evident when controls are introduced suggest that the 
influences of these factors on classical music participation are not as strong as 
they were for earlier cohorts. While the post- WW II cohorts are much more 
educated than those that came before them, the link between high levels of 
education and classical music attendance is not as strong as it is in the earlier 
cohorts. 

Opera. Because of the relatively low rates of opera attendance across the 
board, differences between cohorts are more difficult to discern. Generally, the 
picture looks much more stable across cohorts than was found for classical 
music. What is similar is the steep decline in participation among the younger 
cohorts. As was the case with classical music, the unadjusted results show that 
attendance at operas peaks with the 47- to 56-year-olds and is the lowest in 



20 I Age and Arts Participation 



the oldest and youngest two cohorts. The 1916-1925, 1926-1935, and 
1936-1945 cohorts have significantly higher rates of attendance than those 
aged 36 and younger or those adults over 77. Perhaps the elderly are less phys- 
ically mobile and therefore less able to attend live performances. But what 
about the Late Boomers and Baby Busters? Why aren't they attending opera? 

The adjusted results show that members of older cohorts comprise an 
even higher proportion of the opera audiences than was true for classical 
music concertgoers. For example, once demographic and life course factors are 
taken into account, the 1916-1925 cohort has higher rates of participation 
than the 1936-1945 cohort. As observed for classical music attendance, oper- 
agoers are not the youngest adults. 

These results suggest that opera is a discipline with a graying audience. 
Given the dramatic drop between the WW II cohort (1936-1945) and the 
Early Boomers (1946-1955), it is unlikely that aging alone will induce these 
later cohorts to mature into opera participation; more needs to be done to 
build a younger audience. 

Ballet. Younger cohorts are substantially more likely to be found in the audi- 
ence for ballet performances than at the opera or at classical music concerts. 
Indeed, in the unadjusted results, even the youngest cohorts attend the ballet 
at rates slightly above those of the 1936-1945 cohort, that is, the 47- to 56- 
year-olds who are the most active arts participants. The pre-1916 cohort has 
the lowest attendance rate for ballet, significantly lower than every other co- 
hort in the unadjusted results (see Table 2). 

Once controls are introduced for demographic and life course factors, the 
picture changes. Starting with the Early Boomers, the younger cohorts have 
significantly lower rates of reported participation compared to the cohorts 
born before 1946. Those aged 36 and younger are not participating as often 
as those aged 37 and older. The youngest cohort, the 17- to 26-year-olds, is 
found to have significantly lower attendance at ballet performances than the 
Early Boomers. 

After controls for demographic and life course factors are introduced, the 
results for ballet attendance look rather like those for opera and classical 
music. However, it is clear from the unadjusted results that the picture is not 
nearly as grim for ballet. While younger cohorts are not attending as often as 
expected — given their high levels of education, life course stage, income and 
the like — they are attending at a rate comparable to the older cohorts. If au- 
diences mature into ballet participation, the younger cohorts may eventually 
match their elders in terms of attendance at ballet performances. 

Finally, the adjusted results reveal that the lower rate of participation 
among the older cohorts (as was true with other art forms discussed thus far) 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 21 



is .1 function of life course and demographic factors rather than the result of 
unique cohort effects on participation. 

Musicals. The unadjusted figures for musicals indicate that attendance at mu- 
sicals, as with the other art forms described thus far, is curvilinear. The unad- 
justed participation is lowest for the oldest cohort, peaks with the 1936-1945 
cohort, and declines further with each succeeding younger cohort (see Table 
2). 

Turning to the results adjusted for the effects of demographic and life 
stage variables, findings indicate that the adjusted participation rate for the 
oldest cohorts is still significantly lower than that of the next two cohorts. As 
with the art forms discussed above, however, all three of the older cohorts have 
participation rates significantly higher than those of the Early Boomers and 
subsequent cohorts. Thus, the pattern of low attendance among the younger 
cohorts is once again revealed, with those aged 36 and younger having signif- 
icantly lower participation than the oldest four cohorts (the only exception 
being the significance of the difference between the Early Boomers and the 
pre-1916 cohort when controls for year of the study are introduced). Also, the 
Late Boomers are found to have significantly lower participation compared to 
the Early Boomers. 

In conclusion, the overall rates of attendance at musicals are high com- 
pared to rates of participation in the other arts disciplines examined (see Ta- 
bles 1 and 2). And yet, cohort differences follow a pattern much like that ob- 
served for classical music attendance, with participation lower in the younger 
cohorts. There seems to be a genuine cohort effect depressing attendance at 
musicals starting with the older baby boom cohort and continuing through 
the younger cohorts. 

Jazz, Plays, Art Museums, and Novels 

Cohort comparisons for attendance at jazz performances, plays, art muse- 
ums, and for literature reading are examined. As above, results are presented 
unadjusted, adjusted for demographic and life course factors, and adjusted for 
the year of the study as well (see Table 3). 

Jazz. The unadjusted results show that jazz attendance is greatest among the 
younger cohorts, with the highest level of attendance registered by the 
1956-1965 cohort. The rank order of participation at live jazz events is, from 
most frequent to least, as follows: 1956-1965, 1966-1975, 1946-1955, 
1936-1945, 1926-1935, 1916-1925, and pre-1916. 



22 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 3. Cohort Compa 


risons 


of Participation Rates for Jazz, 


Plays, 


Art Museums, 


and Novels, 1982 and 1992: 


Unadjusted, Adjusted for Demographics, and 


Adjusted for Demographics and Period 


Pre-1916 


1916-25 


1926-35 


193M5 


1946-55 


1956-65 1966-75 


jazz' 1.8 


4 411 


7 ^aabb 


8 4aabbc 


^ 2 j 33 ^*^ 


^ 5 yabbccddee ] j 3^^bbccddff 


)azz 2 5.8 


6.8 


8.0 aa 


8 4 aab 


]] ^aabbccdd 


1 1 caabbccddee 8 7aabeeff 


]azz 3 5.4 


6.6 


8.0 aa 


8.3 aab 


^ ^aabbccdd 


1 1 5aabbccddee q caabbeff 


Play 1 7.2 


11.6 aa 


146 aabb 


151 aabb 


^ -j gaabbd 


j ^ 8aaccddee 1 2 4 aac( ^ 


Play 2 13.5 


15.4 a 


16.2 aa 


14.1 cc 


^ -\ -J aabbccdd 


g ^aabbccdde 8 /aabbccdde 


Play 3 13.5 


15.4 a 


16.2 aa 


14.1" 


11 i aabbccdd 


q taabbccdde 8 qaabbccdde 


Art Museum 1 10.9 


18.5 aa 


22 1 aabb 


267 aabbcc 


2g ^aabbccd 


25 gaabbccee 28 S^bcc* 


Art Museum 2 21.4 


24.0 a 


23.8 a 


24.5 aa 


24.3 aa 


22.9 23.7 


Art Museum 3 21.5 


24.1 a 


23.8 a 


24.5 aa 


24.3 a 


22.9 d 23.4 


Novels' 43.1 


52.7 aa 


56.2 aabb 


59 7aabbcc 


^4 i aabbccdd 


^2 5aabbccdd 59 gaabbccee! 


Novels 2 54.1 


58.4 aa 


58.3 aa 


57.0 a 


58.9 aad 


60.3 aadd 57.5 at 


Novels 3 54.3 


58.5 aa 


58.3 aa 


57.0 a 


59.0 aad 


60.2 aadd 57.1' 


1. Unadjusted Mean 


2. Adjusted for Demographics 3. Adjusted for Demographics and Period. 


a = difference from pre- 1916 significant at .05 level 


d 


difference from 1936-1945 significant at .05 level 


aa = difference from pre-1916 significant at .01 level 


dd = 


difference from 1936-1945 significant at .01 level 


b = difference from 1916-1925 significant at 


.05 level 


e = 


difference from 1946-1955 significant at .05 level 


bb = difference from 1916-1925 significant at 


.01 level 


ee = 


difference from 1946-1955 significant at .01 level 


c = difference from 1926-1935 significant at 


.05 level 


f 


difference from 1956-1965 significant at .05 level 


cc = difference from 1926-1935 significant at .01 level 


ff 


difference from 1956-1965 significant at .01 level 



Turning to the adjusted results, there is little change from one cohort to 
the next. While life course and demographic factors account for some of the 
difference between the oldest cohort and subsequent ones, controls do not 
eradicate these cohort effects; that is, the 1956-1965 cohort (the 27- to 36- 
year-olds) is found to have significantly higher rates of jazz attendance com- 
pared to all other cohorts even after controls are introduced. 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 23 



Again, the adjusted results show that attendance at jazz performances is 
much higher among the younger cohorts, those aged 46 and younger, and that 
the controls tor demographic and life course factors have little impact on these 
cohort differences. At the same time, however, the youngest cohort now has 
significantly lower participation than the Early Boomers. This pattern of 
higher rates of attendance at jazz concerts for the cohorts born after WW II is 
very different from the patterns found for the other arts disciplines examined 
thus far. The findings for jazz suggest that, as these young cohorts replace 
older ones, overall attendance at jazz events will grow. 

Plays. As was the case with the first four arts forms, attendance at theatrical 
plays is highest for the 1936—1945 cohort, which has significantly higher at- 
tendance rates compared to all other cohorts in the unadjusted results. The 
lowest reported attendance rate, as now expected, is found among the oldest 
adult Americans, those born before 1916. The next cohort, 1916-1925, is 
also found to attend fewer plays than do the 1926-1935, 1936—1945, and 
1946—1955 cohorts. And those aged 37 to 46 and 57 to 66 were more likely 
to attend plays than the 1 7- to 36-year-olds. 

The adjusted proportions show that controlling for demographic and life 
course factors eliminates most of the differences between the oldest cohort 
and other groups. For example, the adjusted results find the pre-1916 cohort 
participating at a significantly higher rate than the three youngest cohorts. In- 
deed, all cohorts born prior to 1946 have significantly higher rates of atten- 
dance than the youngest adult Americans. This consistent baby boom divid- 
ing line suggests that cohort effects are responsible for these differences. 
Possible reasons for this effect will be explored in more detail in Part II of this 
report. 

The results for attendance at plays are very much like those for musicals, 
in that the pattern of low participation among the young is evident in the un- 
adjusted results and is magnified by the adjusted proportions. However, as was 
the case for musicals, overall adult participation is fairly high, and the younger 
cohorts do not appear from this survey to be abandoning the discipline. As 
with most other art forms, findings indicate that the withdrawal of the oldest 
cohort is largely a function of life stage and demographic profile. 

Art Museums. In contrast to the results obtained for other core art forms pre- 
viously discussed, the youngest cohort (1966—1975) ranks second in its high 
level of attendance at art museums. Its rate is exceeded only fractionally by the 
Early Boomers. The rank order of attendance from the most frequent to least 
in the unadjusted results is: 1946-1955, 1966-1975, 1936-1945, 
1956-1965, 1926-1935, 1916-1925, and pre-1916. 



24 I Age and Arts Participation 



Adjusted results reveal few significant differences among cohorts. Thus 
most of the differences found in the unadjusted figures are attributable to life 
course factors and demographic composition differences between the cohorts 
rather than to genuine cohort differences. The baby boom dividing line evi- 
dent in other art forms does not hold in the case of art museums, because the 
47- to 66-year-olds are attending more often than the 27- to 36-year-olds. 

Overall, the findings for art museums suggest that cohort differences have 
little to do with the rates of attendance. Most of the unadjusted differences be- 
tween cohorts are actually a function of life course and demographic factors. As 
already noted, the low participation rate which is still in evidence among the 
oldest Americans is probably an aging effect which cannot be controlled away. 

Novels. The unadjusted proportion of novel readers is greatest in the older 
baby boom cohort (1946-1955) which has significantly higher readership 
rates than all other cohorts, with the exception of the younger baby boom co- 
hort (1956-1965) (see Table 3). Indeed, the younger boomers surveyed re- 
ported having significantly higher rates of reading among all the cohorts ex- 
cept the older boomers, thus making these two cohorts the most active 
consumers of this particular form of artistic expression. Among the three pre- 
W II cohorts, the older the cohort, the less they read. 

However, most of the cohort differences are eliminated by introducing 
statistical controls, which means that most of the variation was a function of 
life stage factors and the demographic characteristics of the cohorts in the 
SPPA samples. So even though the younger cohorts are the more active, as in 
the case of art museum attendance, this is a function of causes other than age 
alone. 



Arts Participation of Specific Cohorts Over Time 

So far analyses have focused on the overall differences between cohorts' ac- 
tivities and have controlled for differences between 1982 and 1992 participa- 
tion levels. The following compares the arts participation of each cohort in 
1982 with its participation in 1992. First, the unadjusted results will show 
how cohorts' pattern of participation changed over time in response to a vari- 
ety of life course influences, as well as to aging effects. Second, controls for 
these life course events and demographic factors will be introduced to exam- 
ine how cohort aging per se influences participation levels. (Note: Only the 
six oldest cohorts will be reviewed here, since members of the 1966-1975 
Baby Busters cohort were too young at the time of the 1982 SPPA survey and 
therefore were not included in it.) 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 25 



Classical Music, Opera, and Ballet 

Tables 4 through 7 present data from the 1982 and 1992 SPPAs for at- 
tendance at the seven benchmark activities and for reading literature as well. 
Unadjusted and adjusted proportions are presented for each cohort for both 
survey years. It is possible to compare participation rates of adjacent cohorts 
when they were the same age. This can be done by comparing the rates of clas- 
sical music attendance for the Early Boomers in 1982 with those of the Late 
Boomers in 1992. Likewise, it is possible to compare the change in participa- 
tion rates of each cohort over the decade to see whether the observed differ- 
ences are statistically significant. For example, to compare the significance of 
the changes in the level of classical music attendance for the pre-1916 cohort, 
the significance tests for differences between the unadjusted proportions and 
adjusted proportions are compared (0.068 and 0.097 in the unadjusted results 
and 0.114 and 0.168 in the adjusted results). The test of significance of the 
difference between the adjusted scores is 0.0525, and this is not quite signifi- 
cant at the conventional 0.0500 level of significance. Similarly, the test of sig- 
nificance of the difference between the adjusted scores is 0.0002 and is thus 
clearly statistically significant. 

Classical Music. The unadjusted results for classical music shown in the data 
indicate that none of the cohorts altered their participation significantly be- 
tween 1982 and 1992 (see Table 4). There is no evidence that younger co- 
horts, as hoped, increased their rates of participation as they matured. In fact, 
the two youngest cohorts actually have lower reported rates of active atten- 
dance in 1992 than in 1982. Controlling for life course influences and the de- 
mographic composition of the cohorts, findings confirm fairly sizable reduc- 
tions in participation between 1982 and 1992. Further, every cohort, with the 
exception of the 1916-1925 and the 1936-1945 cohorts, significantly de- 
creased their attendance at live classical music performances between 1982 
and 1992, and the drop in participation for the 1936-1945 cohort comes 
close to conventional levels of statistical significance (0.056). 

Another way to analyze the data in these tables is to compare how two co- 
horts differ in their level of participation at the same point in their life course. 
For example, comparing survey results for the 1956-1965 cohort in 1992 and 
the 1946—1955 cohort in 1982 reveals how the younger boomers compared 
with the older boomers when they were the same age. To illustrate, compar- 
ing 1992 SPPA data from the Late Boomers with the 1982 data from the 
Early Boomers, it appears that the younger cohort (1956-1965) in 1992 lags 
significantly behind the participation rates of the older cohort (1946-1955) 
at the same point in the life course. In turn, these older boomers fail to match 



26 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 4. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Classical Music and Opera by Age 
and Cohort 



0) 

to 

c 
o 

Q. 



t: 



4 

2 



-2 

-6 
-8 



Classical Music-Age, 1982 and 1992 







I Ad justed 


| Unadjusted 
























■ ' 


■* 










■ 


1 












■ * ++ 


^^ *** 


* 






* 


* 






u,„ 


*** 




I I I I 


— ' *** 
1 1 1 



77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 



TO 
DC 

C 

o 

TO 
Q. 

'y 

tS 

to 




-1 
-2 
-3 

-5 



Classical Music-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 



^1 



T 



^Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



_l 



T 



T 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 

Cohort Years 



I 

1946-1955 



1956-1965 



Change is significant at the .05 level. 
Change is significant at the .01 level. 
Change is significant at the .001 level. 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 27 



TABLE 4. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Classical Music and Opera by Age and 
Cohort (Continued) 



in 

«J 

c 
o 

ro 






1 

0.5 



OS 

-1 

-1.5 



Opera-Age, 1982 and 1992 



] Adjusted 



(Unadjusted 



[f 



77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-16 27-36 17-26 

Age Groups 



c 
o 

m 
a 

'y 

Q_ 



1 

0.5 



-0.5 

-1 
-1.5 

-2 
-2.5 



Opera-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 



31 



~] Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



^ 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



* = Change is significant at the .05 level. 

** = Change is significant at the .01 level. 

*** = Change is significant at the .001 level. 



28 I Age and Arts Participation 



the participation rate of the 1936—1945 cohort when they were the same age. 
These results are significant in both the adjusted and unadjusted data and are 
not explained by demographic or life course differences between these co- 
horts. 

In the unadjusted results, the 1936-1945 cohort participates at a higher 
rate than the 1926-1935 cohort when they were at the same point in the life 
course, however, controls for these factors reverse the relationship. Similarly, 
the 1926-1935 cohort attended classical music performances more often in 
1992 compared to the 1916-1925 cohort in 1982 (though the relationship is 
not significant at conventional levels). Controls for demographic composition 
and life course elevates the participation of the 1916-1925 cohort over that 
of the 1926—1935 cohort (and this difference is statistically significant). In 
contrast, controls erase the difference between rates of classical music atten- 
dance between the 1916-1925 cohort in 1992 and the pre-1916 cohort in 
1982. 

Generally, the findings for cohorts over time show that true aging effects 
on classical music attendance are only evident in the oldest cohort, which sig- 
nificantly decreases its participation even after controls are introduced in the 
analysis. Also, younger cohorts, as reported here, seem not to be maturing into 
classical music participants, and there is substantial evidence that successive 
cohorts, especially the baby boom cohorts, are less and less likely to attend 
such performances. 

Opera. The results over time for opera are less vivid. Changes across cohorts 
between 1982 and 1992 are minimal in both the unadjusted and adjusted re- 
sults. The only clear changes are a significant increase in the participation 
among the young boomers (1956—1965) in the unadjusted results and a sig- 
nificant decrease in attendance in the oldest cohort (pre-1916). Results from 
the youngest cohort are suggestive of a maturation effect into opera atten- 
dance, but the effect is small and uncertain in the adjusted results. Aging is a 
likely factor in the declining participation rates of the oldest cohort. 

In the comparisons of cohorts at similar points in the life course, the un- 
adjusted results show no difference between the cohorts. In the adjusted pro- 
portions, the 1946-1955 cohort in 1992 is found to have significantly lower 
rates of opera patronage compared to the 1936-1945 cohort in 1982, when 
they were the same age. The adjusted differences between the 1936-1945 co- 
hort in 1992 and the 1926-1935 cohort in 1982 also approaches conven- 
tional significance, with the older cohort having a higher rate of opera atten- 
dance when the two groups are compared at the same point in their life span. 

Generally, the results suggest that the difference between cohorts as opera 
audiences are rather stable and are not being influenced by aging effects. How- 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 29 



TABLE 5. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Ballet and Musicals by Age and Cohort 



Si 
re 
a: 

c 
O 

A3 
Q. 

U 

tS 

re 

a. 



1.5 

1 

0.5 



-0.5 

-1 

-1.5 

-2 

-2.5 



Ballet-Age, 1982 and 1992 



_ Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



=EeS 



Id 



77+ 67-76 



57-66 47-56 37^6 
Age Croups 



T 



27-36 17-26 



Si 

re 

c 
_o 

re 
'u 

t 

re 



1.5 

1 

0.5 



-0.5 

-1 

-1.5 

-2 



Ballet-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 



^Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



a 



T 



I I I I I I 

Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



* = Change 
'* = Change 
** = Change 



s significant at the .05 level, 
s significant at the .01 level, 
s significant at the .001 level. 



30 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 5. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Ballet and Musicals by Age and Cohort 
(Continued) 



a 

C 

o 

— 

q. 
'u 

t 

(B 

Q_ 



4 

2 



-2 

-4 

-6 



Musicals-Age, 1982 and 1992 



Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



1 



m ** I I ** 

^M *** 

I *** 



~~ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 





Musicals-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 






Adjusted |Unadjusted 










1 






1 


1 




1 




■ 




■ 








ates 

i 

-> - 




1 


1 


1 












C 1 




1 


1. 








** 


.2 " J 




1. 


** 


** 


** 


*** 










t ~ 5 






u- -0 

7 




*** 


7 1 1 1 1 1 1 

Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 





= Change 
= Change 
= Change 



s significant at the .05 level, 
s significant at the .01 level, 
s significant at the .001 level 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 31 



ever, findings indicate chat aging is taking a toll on the participation of the 
most elderly adults, and younger audiences do not seem to be maturing into 
opera (once controls for demographic and life course influences are intro- 
duced into the analysis). Unlike classical music, opera enjoys a state of relative 
parity across cohorts when they are compared at the same age. This suggests 
that while the opera audience is small, it may be more stable over time as suc- 
cessive cohorts match their elders' levels of participation. However, the failure 
dt the two babv boom cohorts to match the attendance levels of the 
l l )36-1945 cohort may have an effect on audience size over the years. 

Ballet. As in opera attendance, individual cohorts did not alter their ballet at- 
tendance very much between 1982 and 1992. Unadjusted results show that 
only the youngest cohort significantly increased its participation (see Table 5). 
When controls for life course and demographic influences are introduced, the 
findings show that the 1936-1945 and the 1946-1955 cohorts significantly 
decreased their attendance. Since there is no reason to suspect that as cohorts 
reach middle age they decrease their participation, these shifts seem more 
likely attributable to a cohort-specific period effect than to aging per se. It may 
be that the early 1980s athleticism of Baryshnikov, for example, was especially 
attractive to many of the older baby boom and World War II cohorts. The re- 
maining shifts over time for the cohorts are insignificant. 

Comparing cohorts at similar ages reveals that unadjusted rates of ballet 
attendance are approximately equal for adjacent cohorts. The 1916-1925 co- 
hort in 1992 is found to have somewhat higher ballet patronage than the pre- 
1916 cohort in 1982. However, this is the only difference between cohorts 
when they were the same age that approaches statistical significance in the un- 
adjusted results. Controlling for life course events and demographic composi- 
tion shows that the Early Boomers (1946-1955) in 1992 are not keeping pace 
with the participation of the 1936—1945 generation as reported in 1982. 
Moreover, the 1936-1945 generation in 1992 is outmatched by the rates of 
ballet attendance set by the 1926-1935 cohort in 1982. (At 0.0527, this dif- 
ference approaches conventional levels of statistical significance.) 

In general, changes in attendance at the ballet are slight. Cohort compar- 
isons at similar ages reveal that the 37- to 46-year-olds and the 47- to 56-year- 
olds had lower participation in 1992. And these two cohorts failed to match 
the 1982 participation of their adjacent older cohorts when compared at the 
same age. As noted above, these changes in cohort activity are more likely at- 
tributable to period effects rather than to the aging of cohorts. So it is diffi- 
cult to predict at this time whether and when the attendance of these cohorts 
at ballet performances will rebound. 



32 I Age and Arts Participation 



Musicals, Jazz, Plays, Art Museums, and Novels 

Musicals. The unadjusted results for musicals show that attendance is signifi- 
cantly down for the 1916-1925 cohort and the pre- 1916 cohort. In fact, 
every cohort shows a decline in attendance in the unadjusted results. In the 
adjusted proportions, controls for life course events and demographic com- 
position reveal significant declines in attendance, which appears to be attrib- 
utable to period effects rather than to aging. 

Comparing cohorts at similar points in the life course reveals several in- 
stances where the participation rates of younger cohorts in 1992 do not match 
those of the next older cohort in 1982. In the unadjusted results, the Late 
Boomers (1956-1965) do not attain the rate of the Early Boomers 
(1946-1955), and neither do the Early Boomers attain the 1982 rate of the 
WW II cohort (1936-1945). These results for the younger cohorts hold up 
after controls for life course and demographic influences are introduced into 
the analysis. In the adjusted results, the 1936-1945 cohort's participation in 
1992 is found to be significantly lower than the participation of the 
1926-1935 cohort in 1982. Further, in 1992 the 1926-1935 cohort does not 
equal the attendance of the 1916-1925 cohort in 1982. 

It is very clear that reported attendance at musicals is down. The consis- 
tent direction of changes in participation across all cohorts suggests that, 
rather than age-related shifts, there is a strong period effect driving these 
changes. In other words, it is difficult to say how much cohort comparisons 
at similar points in the life course are affected by period effects which inflate 
rates of participation in the 1982 SPPA data. Given the patterns of association 
and the magnitude of the differences within cohorts between these two peri- 
ods, it is reasonable to conclude that most of these differences are period ef- 
fects; that is, they have to do with what was going on at the time the survey 
was conducted. 

Jazz. The data in Table 6 show that significant changes over time occur for 
only the younger cohorts (1946-1955 and 1956-1965). The initially high at- 
tendance at jazz concerts reported by the Late Boomers declined significantly 
between 1982 and 1992, and this result remains when controls for demo- 
graphic composition and life course events are taken into account. Taking the 
position that the very high attendance rates at jazz concerts of the Late 
Boomers were a function of age, this decline could be seen as an expected ef- 
fect of aging, with the cohort maturing out of jazz. The Early Boomers are also 
found to decrease their attendance significantly at jazz performances once sta- 
tistical controls are introduced. These changes in attendance rates may be in- 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 33 



terprcted as aging effects; however, they may be the result of a period effect 
which impacts primarily on the 1946-1955 and 1956-1965 cohorts. 

The cohort comparisons at similar ages when unadjusted reveal that each 
younger cohort has higher participation levels than its adjacent older cohort 
at the same age. For example, the data reveal that the older boomers were sig- 
nificantly more likely to attend jazz shows in 1992 than were members of the 
1936-1945 cohort in 1982. In the unadjusted results, the 1936-1945 cohort 
in 1992 is shown to have significantly more jazz patrons than the 1926-1935 
cohort in 1982, when they were of comparable age. Before controls are intro- 
duced, the 1926-1935 cohort is found to exceed the participation of the 
1916-1925 cohort when they were the same age, and the 1916-1925 cohort 
is found to have been more active than the pre- 1916 cohort at the same age. 
This linear patterning of differences reflects the cohort effect on jazz partici- 
pation: each succeeding younger cohort reported more participation at jazz 
performances than its predecessor cohort. 

On the other hand, it is likely that some combination of aging and period 
effects are at work for jazz participation among the baby boomers. Jazz may 
have been particularly attractive to these two cohorts in the early 1980s, or 
specific shows may have brought in large numbers at that time. The growth 
of jazz-rock fusion, for example, may have influenced participation rates for 
those 27- to 46-years-old. By 1992, however, the rates had fallen. The decline 
between 1982 and 1992 may also be seen as an aging effect, with the baby 
boomers maturing out of jazz. Yet, due to the general trend for each succes- 
sive younger cohort to exceed the rates of active attendance their elders ex- 
hibited at the same age, the future prospects for this art form are good. 

Plays. In the unadjusted proportions, data results in Table 6 show that atten- 
dance at theatrical plays increased significantly for the 1946-1955 cohort. No 
significant changes occurred for other cohorts in the unadjusted results. In the 
adjusted results, when controls are introduced, findings reveal a significant de- 
cline in participation by the oldest cohort (pre-1916). This decline is most 
likely due to aging. But the controls also eliminate the statistical significance 
of the increased participation of the 1946-1955 cohort as well. 

Turning to the comparison of cohorts matched in age, findings reveal that 
the 1946-1955 cohort examined in 1992 is significantly less likely to attend 
theatrical plays when compared to the 1936-1945 cohort in 1982 (once con- 
trols for demographic and life course factors are taken into account). The 
1936-1945 cohort is also found to have lower attendance at theatrical plays 
in 1992 than the 1926-1935 cohort in 1982. (The unstandarized difference 
approaches but does not attain conventional levels of statistical significance 



34 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 6. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Jazz and Plays by Age and Cohort 



4— ' 

fO 

CX 

c 
q 

— 
"3 

Q. 
U 

'€ 

a. 



6 

4 
2 

-A 
-5 
-6 
-7 



Jazz-Age, 1982 and 1992 



_ Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



_1 






F 



~1 I 1 1 1 1 1 — 

77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37^6 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 



ex. 

c 

— 

Q. 
U 

"■E 
n 

Q_ 



2 
1 


-1 
-2 
-3 
-4 
-5 



Jazz-Cohort, 1 982 and 1 992 



] Adjusted 



[Unadjusted 



i_l 



— I 1 1 1 I I 

Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



* = Change is significant at the .05 level. 

** = Change is significant at the .01 level. 

*** = Change is significant at the .001 level. 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 35 



TABLE 6. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Jazz and Plays by Age and Cohort 
(Continued) 



Si 
n 
ai 

c 
o 

Q. 

'u 

'■E 

Q_ 



Plays-Age, 1982 and 1992 



] Adjusted 



(Unadjusted 



^ 



I 



rr 



77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 



CD 

— 

TO 

C 

_o 

ro 
Q. 

'u 



CL 



3 
2 
1 


-1 
-2 
-3 
-4 
-5 



Plays-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 



31 



_ Adjusted 



(Unadjusted 



ji 



^ 



I I 1 1 1 

Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 

Corhort Years 



1956-1965 



* = Change is significant at the .05 level. 

** = Change is significant at the .01 level. 

*** = Change is significant at the .001 level. 



36 I Age and Arts Participation 



and shows the oldest cohort having less participation, while the standarized re- 
sult is significant and reverses the relationship. The unstandardized results also 
show the 1926-1935 cohort having significantly higher levels of attendance 
at plays compared to the 1916-1925 cohort, but controls explain the differ- 
ence. The same pattern is true when comparing the 1916-1925 and pre-1916 
cohorts, with the significant unstandardized difference being attributable to 
life course and demographic factors.) 

Data analysis reveals that, across the 10-year span from 1982 to 1992, the 
oldest cohort's attendance is lower. A number of other cohort influences are 
also evident, most having to do with the older baby boom and World War II 
cohorts that did not match the participation rates of cohorts at similar ages 
that preceded them. This suggests a potential long-term decline in attendance. 

Art Museums. The unadjusted and adjusted proportions for each cohort with 
respect to their attendance at art museums are presented in the data in Table 7. 
The results for art museums show that before controls are introduced, the two 
baby boom cohorts' attendance increased significantly between 1982 and 
1992, and the finding remains significant for the 1956-1965 cohort after con- 
trols are introduced. These results could reflect either an aging effect in the 
younger cohorts, with young people maturing into active support of museums, 
or a period effect that influences only the younger cohorts. The unadjusted re- 
sults also show that the 1926—1935 cohort had significantly higher attendance 
at art museums in 1992 than in 1982, though controls for demographic and 
life course variables removes the significance of this difference. In the adjusted 
proportions, an aging effect on participation is evident for the oldest cohort 
which reduced its participation significantly between 1982 and 1992. 

Comparing cohorts matched in age reveals that before controls for demo- 
graphic and life course events are introduced, the 1956-1965 cohort in 1992 
significantly exceeds the museum attendance of their elder cohort 
(1946-1955) in 1982. In turn, the 1946-1955 cohort shows significantly 
more museum attendance than the 1936—1945 cohort when compared at the 
same age. In fact, every cohort significantly exceeds the participation of the 
next oldest cohort over this 10-year period. Although these unadjusted differ- 
ences are strong, controls eliminate the cohort differences. Hence, museum at- 
tendance differences between the cohorts are a function of the demographic 
composition of the cohorts. 

Attendance at art museums is down among the oldest cohort, and as be- 
fore with other art forms, this is largely explained by aging effects. In contrast, 
there is some evidence that younger cohorts may be maturing into museum- 
goers. Not to be ruled out, however, is the possibility that period effects are 
motivating the increases in museum participation among younger adults. 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 37 



TABLE 7. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in 

Participation of Art Museums and Novels by Age and 
Cohort 




Art Museum-Age, 1982 and 1992 






Q Adjusted | Unadjusted 




Q 









MM *** 




OJ 

r3 4 


M • - - 

■"■ l l ■-■- ■ 


a: 4 

c ■> 


1 1 1 1 .J 


.2 l 




■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 


Q. — 

: ° -2 










* 


-° 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 





& 

C* 

C 

_o 

CO 
Q. 

^U 

CO 
Q. 




Art Museum-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 






I [Adjusted | Unadjusted 




6 

4 — 

2 - 

- 

-2 - 

-4 - 

-6 - 

« 






■ *** 
*** 




*** 
■ ■ 


1 


. rl . rl 






1 


■ u 










*** 


1 1 I 1 1 I 

Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 





* = Change 

** = Change 

*" = Change 



gnificant at the .05 level, 
gnificant at the .01 level, 
gnificant at the .001 level. 



38 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 7. Period Comparisons: Percentage Change in Participation 
of Art Museums and Novels by Age and Cohort 
(Continued) 



01 

C 

.o 

^- 

ro 

5- 
'y 

a. 



10 

8 

6 

4 

2 



-2 

-4 

-6 



Novels-Age, 1982 and 1992 



Adjusted 



(Unadjusted 






_j j ! ! ! j ! 

77+ 67-76 57-66 47-56 37-46 27-36 17-26 

Age Croups 



* = Change is significant at the .05 level. 

** = Change is significant at the .01 level. 

•** = Change is significant at the .001 level. 







Novels-Cohort, 1982 and 1992 








I I Ad justed | Unadjusted 




1 










u 
4 - 

% 2 

Q. Z 

S _4 - 

o. -6 — 
a 




*** 


*** 






'["■' ■* 


1 






_ ■ >-■ rl 


J 




1 














*** 


8 1 
Pre-1916 


1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 
Cohort Years 


1 
1956-1965 





Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 39 



I inally, differences between cohorts compared at the same age were found to 
result horn life stage and demographic factors rather than from enduring dif- 
ferences between adjacent cohorts. 

Novels. Lastly, the change from 1982 to 1992 of reading novels by various co- 
horts is taken up (see Table 7 for the unadjusted and adjusted cohort com- 
parisons over time for reading literary novels). The results are similar to those 
for attendance at art museums, charting significant increases in readership for 
the youngest adults (1946-1955 and 1956-1965) between 1982 and 1992. 
Indeed, between 1982 and 1992 all cohorts born after 1926 significantly in- 
creased their proportion of reading activity. Controls for demographic com- 
position and life course factors, however, reduce most of the increases to sta- 
tistical insignificance. The 1926-1935 cohort is the only age group (the 57- 
to 66-year-olds) to show increases in readership which remain significant in 
the presence of controls. 

Comparing the cohorts at similar ages reveals that the Late Boomers 
(1956-1965) have higher readership rates than the Early Boomers (1946-1955) 
and they, in turn, were found to read more than the 1936-1945 cohort. In 
the unadjusted results, findings confirm that the 1916—1925, 1926-1935, 
and 1936-1945 cohorts outread their respective adjacent elder cohort when 
compared at the same age. However, these cohort differences are mostly a 
function of life stage and demographic differences between the cohorts. 

Overall, the data show that novel reading is on the increase, primarily be- 
cause of life course changes in the earlier cohorts which increase the propor- 
tion of readers. And, large increases in readership reported among the two 
baby boom cohorts reveal significantly higher levels of readership than were 
present in the preceding cohorts at an equivalent age. This is good news for 
the art form. 



Implications of Life Course and Demographics 

In the previous sections, reference was made to life course as a primary rea- 
son for people not participating or participating less in various arts activities. 
What impact do life course and demographic factors of survey respondents 
have on their attendance at the core art forms? 

Often when people speak of the influence of age on arts participation, 
what they are really talking about are life course influences, events, or transi- 
tions that happen during the life span — most prominently, transitions into 
marriage, parenthood, the end of active parenting, retirement, and so on. 
These changes have a direct and tangible bearing on how often individuals 



40 I Age and Arts Participation 



are able to attend live artistic performances or exhibits. These life transitions 
will likely have variable influences on participation depending on the age at 
which they occur. For example, younger respondents with children in the 
home may have less money or fewer resources and, therefore, will likely have 
to forgo attendance at art performances. Older respondents with children in 
the home may not be as constrained, because they have access to other re- 
sources (e.g., more money to pay for baby-sitters) which help their ability to 
attend live arts events. On the other hand, there is also the latest trend to con- 
sider — adults becoming first-time parents much later in life, that is, in their 
40s and 50s, and consequently reducing participation in live arts events. This 
is in stark contrast to previous cohorts who, by this age in life, exhibited more 
arts participation. 

The influence of life course factors on arts participation is examined using 
a form of statistical analysis called the ordinary least squares regression model 
(OLS regression). First, a summary scale of participation in the performing 
arts under study here — classical music, ballet, opera, musicals, and theatrical 
plays — is created. The range of arts participation thus formed is from to 5; 
a one-point increase in the scale means that one more art form has been at- 
tended during the year. 

Second, since the effects of life course factors on arts participation are hy- 
pothesized to vary by age, the sample is split into three groups: (1) ages 17- 
46, (2) ages 47-66, and (3) aged 67 and older. Unlike the classification of age 
cohorts used earlier in this report, these age groups are uneven in size, but the 
span of years that each grouping covers corresponds with a life stage that is 
likely to be of consequence for one's active arts participation. The young 
group is of prime age for childrearing, marriage, and divorce. The middle 
group is notably more stable, experiencing fewer transitions, and is less likely 
to have young children in the household. Childrearing is not a factor for the 
oldest group, but widowhood is much more common. 

Third, regression models are estimated separately for each group with con- 
trols for race, gender, age (within the age group), city size, income, education, 
and year the survey was administered. After considering the impact of these 
demographic factors on participation, the focus is on how life course events 
influence participation by looking specifically at two key factors: marital sta- 
tus and the presence of children in the respondent's household. 

Life Course Influences on Arts Participation: The 1 7- to 46-Year Olds 

Data in Table 8 show the parameter estimates from the OLS regression 
model of participation for the youngest age group. The parameter estimates 
indicate the influence of a one-unit change of an independent variable (the 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 41 



demographic and life course predictors) on the participation scaled In these 
multiple regression models, the coefficients represent the effects of indepen- 
dent variables on arts attendance, controlling for the influence of all other 
variables in the model. This allows analysts to identify the unique influence of 
a specific life course variable on participation with the effects of demographic 
composition and other life span factors removed. 

In the 17- to 46-year-old adult age group, the predictors of participation 
explain roughly 17 percent of the variance in arts participation, as can be seen 
by the R 2 of .167. Examining the demographic predictors of participation as 
shown in the data in Table 8, findings reveal the following key results: blacks 
and nonwhites are significantly lower on the participation scale when com- 
pared to their white counterparts. 4 Women have significantly higher arts par- 
ticipation scores than men. The youngest (aged 17-36) are significantly less 
frequent attenders of arts events than are the 37- to 46-year-olds. Individuals 
from larger cities attend events significantly more often, when controlling for 
other factors. And finally, overall participation was down significantly among 
adults in this age group in 1992 (from 1982) when controls for other influ- 
ences are taken into account. 

Looking at the two social status measures, education and income, reveals 
that both have strong significant positive influences on arts participation. 
Each year of education, on average, increases arts participation by .4 art forms, 
therefore the difference between the participation of a high school graduate 
and a college graduate is nearly 1.5 art forms. The influence of income on par- 
ticipation is not nearly as strong but is still significant and positive, indepen- 
dent of the effects of education and other factors. 

The omitted category for marital status is "never married," hence all coef- 
ficients shown reflect differences from this age group. Married respondents are 
significantly lower in their active arts participation compared to those who 
never married, even when controls for other influences are taken into account. 
Divorced respondents are also significantly less active participants compared 
to those never married. However, a comparison between divorced and married 
respondents reveals that divorced respondents in this age group have signifi- 
cantly higher participation than married respondents. Widowed respondents 
are not significantly different from any other group, in part because there are 
so few widowed adults in the age range 17-46. 

Finally, having children under 5 years of age in the home significantly de- 
creases active arts participation, net of the other variables in the model. In 
contrast, children ages 6-11 at home do not have as great an impact on their 
parents' attendance at arts performances or events. 



42 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 8. OLS Regression of the Influence of Life Course Factors 


on 


Arts 


Participation: 


1 7- to 46-Year-Olds 








Parameter 


Standardized 










Estimate 


Estimate 


Significance 


Black 




-.161 


-.052 




.0001 


Nonwhite 




-.201 


-.038 




.0001 


Female 




.192 


.100 




.0001 


Age 1 7-26 




-.216 


-.105 




.0001 


Age 27-36 




-.121 


-.061 




.0001 


City size 




.005 


.055 




.0001 


Survey year (1992) 


-.016 


-.084 




.0001 


Education 




.359 


.352 




.0001 


Income 




.056 


.057 




.0001 


Married 




-.213 


-.111 




.0001 


Divorced 




-.109 


-.033 




.0001 


Widowed 




-.097 


-.007 




.2975 


Children < 5 




-.033 


-.024 




.0023 


Children 6-11 




.005 


.004 




.6431 


Intercept 




2.033 








R 2 




.167 









Life Course Influences on Arts Participation: The 47- to 66-Year-Olds 

Data in Table 9 present the OLS regression model for arts participation in 
the 47- to 66-year-old age group. In this model, the 57- to 66-year-old re- 
spondents are the omitted category for age and are compared to the 47- to 56- 
year-olds. The demographic and life course variables included in the model 
account for 21 percent of the variance in reported arts participation, as can be 
seen by the R 2 of .213. 

Looking at the demographic predictors of arts participation, it becomes 
clear that this age group differs from their younger counterparts discussed 
above. While younger African Americans, for example, have significantly 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 43 



lower arts participation than whites in the 17-46 age grouping, their partici- 
pation in this older grouping is indistinguishable from whites. Other non- 
whites, however, are still significantly less active than whites in this older age 
group. As before, females have higher arts attendance scores than do males. 
The effects of age and city size are not significant. As with the younger adults, 
overall participation was significantly lower as reported in 1992 than a decade 
earlier, when all the other variables are taken into account. 

Both education and income have strong positive effects on arts participa- 
tion. The magnitude of the effect of education is nearly the same for the older 
group as for the younger. Individuals with high incomes have significantly 
higher arts participation scores, and this factor was a more powerful predictor 
for the 47- to 66-year-olds than the 17- to 46-year-olds. 

Regarding life course factors, once again, married respondents score sig- 
nificantly lower in arts participation compared to those who never married. 
Divorced respondents in this age grouping are identical to respondents who 
never married; this contrasts with the significant difference found in the 
younger age group. The parameter estimate indicates that divorced respon- 
dents are actually higher on the arts participation scale than those never mar- 
ried, although the coefficient is not statistically significant. A comparison of 
coefficients finds that divorced respondents have significantly higher arts par- 
ticipation than married respondents. Widowed respondents do not signifi- 
cantly differ from any of the other adults in this group. In the middle of three 
age groupings, all of whom are above the age of 46, the effect of children on 
participation is inconsequential. 

Overall, the effect of life course factors on arts participation is found to be 
lower in this age grouping. Marital status differences are less significant than 
in the younger age grouping, and the difference between married and never- 
married respondents declined. Respondents who are divorced in mid-life are 
found to have relatively high scores on the arts participation scale. Life course 
factors, such as children at home, have less bearing on this group's attendance 
at live arts events than do education and income factors. Education and in- 
come have more influence on and are stronger predictors of the active partic- 
ipation of the 47- to 66-year-olds. 

Life Course Influences on Arts Participation: The 67 and Older Group 

Data in Table 10 present the OLS regression model for SPPA respondents 
aged 67 and older. Those over 76 years of age are the comparison category for 
the age variable. This set of independent variables explains about 16 percent 
of the variance in the arts participation scale, which is somewhat less than the 
percentage of variance explaining the other two group's participation. 



44 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 9. OLS Regression of the Influence of Life Course Factors 


on 


Arts 


Participation: 


47- to 66-Year-Olds 








Parameter 


Standardized 










Estimate 


Estimate 


Significance 


Black 




-.033 


-.009 




.3690 


Nonwhite 




-.331 


-.043 




.0001 


Female 




.221 


.109 




.0001 


Age 47-56 




-.038 


-.019 




.0715 


City size 




.001 


.014 




.2025 


Survey year (1992) 


-.007 


-.032 




.0040 


Education 




.364 


.355 




.0001 


Income 




.202 


.192 




.0001 


Married 




-.172 


-.074 




.0001 


Divorced 




.050 


.016 




.3154 


Widowed 




.023 


.006 




.6710 


Children < 5 




-.083 


-.011 




.2706 


Children 6-11 




-.028 


-.007 




.4995 


Intercept 




1.186 








R 2 




.213 









Unlike the other two age groupings, there is no significant impact of sur- 
vey year on participation scores once other factors are taken into account. 
Also, unlike the other age groups, there are no significant race differences on 
the arts scale in this oldest age cluster. As in other age groups, women are sig- 
nificantly more active than men. City size has a significant impact on arts par- 
ticipation with those from larger cities having higher scores. Finally, the in- 
fluence of aging is clearly evident: as discussed above, active arts participation 
has diminished by the time one reaches the oldest age group. 

In this older age grouping, both education and income have a significant 
positive impact on arts attendance rates, however, the impact is clearly weaker 
than in the case of the 47- to 66-year-olds. While the effect of income on par- 
ticipation is substantially weaker among the oldest respondents compared to 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 45 



TABLE 10. OLS 


Regression 


of the Influence of Life Course 


Factors on Arts 


Participation: Age 


67 and Over 




Parameter 


Standardized 






Estimate 


Estimate 


Significance 


Black 


-.048 


-.015 


.3108 


Nonwhite 


-.174 


-.022 


.1379 


Female 


.118 


.069 


.0001 


Age 67-76 


.167 


.095 


.0001 


City size 


.003 


.039 


.0163 


Survey year (1992) 


-.004 


-.023 


. 1 469 


Education 


.265 


.305 


.0001 


Income 


.103 


.125 


.0001 


Married 


.021 


.013 


.6889 


Divorced 


.071 


.018 


.3411 


Widowed 


.071 


.041 


.1846 


Children < 5 


-.014 


-.001 


.9552 


Children 6-11 


.256 


.014 


.3426 


Intercept 


.684 






R 2 


.159 







those in the middle age grouping, it is still higher than it was for the youngest 
respondents. 

None of the life course variables have a significant impact on arts partici- 
pation rates in this age group. Most surprisingly, widowhood, common 
among those aged 67 and older, does not adversely affect arts attendance. The 
major change from the findings for the 47- to 66-year-olds is that married re- 
spondents have caught up in their participation relative to those who never 
married or were divorced. This could result from declining participation from 
the never-married category of respondents, and it is possible that older cou- 
ples sustain active participation in the arts better than those who live alone. 
Aging is clearly the cause of lower rates of participation among those over 76 
years of age. 



46 I Age and Arts Participation 

Alternatives to Active Arts Participation: 
Consumption via Media 

If, as shown, life course factors and demographics have a significant bear- 
ing on the ability of adult Americans to actively attend arts events or perfor- 
mances, how then do adults enjoy the arts? Do nonattenders consume art via 
other means? To examine the possibility of media substitution and especially 
cohort differences in art consumption by alternative forms, cohorts over time 
are compared as before: first, by examining consumption of the seven core art 
forms — classical music, opera, ballet, musicals, jazz, plays, and visual arts — via 
the medium of television and video productions; next, by looking at con- 
sumption via radio for classical music and opera; and finally, by analyzing the 
listening to recordings as a substitute for attendance at live performances of 
classical music and opera. 

Arts Consumption via Television and Video 

Those with too little time or money or with concerns for safety or even 
for health reasons may elect to participate in the arts by viewing them on tele- 
vision or by video rather than going out in public. The advent of videocassette 
recorders (VCRs) and cable television have certainly increased the possibility 
of viewing a variety of art offerings at home. Certainly, the younger cohorts 
who have grown up in the television era are more likely to use these media to 
consume entertainment in general. They have mastered the technologies 
which allow them to view what they want, when they want. Is this true for the 
older generation as well? Are they likely, perhaps for other reasons, to utilize 
TVs and VCRs as their way to participate in the arts? 

Assessing the extent to which arts are consumed via the media, testing for 
substitution effects in the older cohorts, and looking at the video arts prefer- 
ences of the younger cohorts begins with a discussion of cohort differences. 
This is followed by tracking the cohorts over time to observe changes in video 
consumption for each of the seven core art forms. 

Classical Music. Data in Table 1 1 show adjusted and unadjusted results for 
each cohort for "video consumption" of classical music and opera. Looking 
first at classical music reveals that the unadjusted means show a curvilinear 
pattern. However, the adjusted means find video consumption of classical 
music to be more a linear function of age, with the older cohorts being much 
more likely to consume classical music by television or video, when compared 
to the post- 1936 cohorts. The 1956-1965 cohort in particular has signifi- 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 47 



candy lower viewing rates than prior cohorts, and this finding holds for both 
the adjusted and unadjusted proportions. 

Media substitution analysis shows that the unadjusted rates of video con- 
sumption of classical music reveal a substantial increase for the oldest cohort 
between the 1982 and 1992 SPPAs, although confidence in this difference is 
relatively weak (p = 0.06). In fact, the significance of this finding disappears 
with controls. It should be remembered that the adjusted consumption of the 
pre- 191 6 cohort was very high. The 1936-1945 cohort also significantly in- 
creased its consumption of classical music via video between 1982 and 1992, 
and this finding remains significant after controls for demographic and life 
course factors are introduced. Finally, findings reveal that the 1956-1965 co- 
hort, the lowest in terms of consumption, made significant increases in its 
consumption between 1982 and 1992, although the significance of this find- 
ing waned when controls were introduced. 

The results seem to indicate that video consumption (TV, cable TV, 
and/or VCR) of classical music is very high for the cohorts which show some 
declines in attendance at live performances. This seems especially true for the 
oldest cohorts. Younger cohorts are also increasing their consumption of clas- 
sical music by video according to these data. Whether or not this finding will 
yield increases in attendance at live performances by younger adults remains 
to be seen, but it appears that video may help the younger cohorts mature into 
classical music appreciation. 

Opera. Data in Table 1 1 reveal that cohort variations in opera consumption 
via video are fairly linear, peaking in the 1926-1935 cohort and then leveling 
off. While the audience for live opera performances comes close to fitting the 
graying thesis, the audience via video is very gray indeed. The pre-1916 co- 
hort, for example, was nearly two-and-one-half times more likely to have 
viewed an opera on video compared to the Late Boomers in 1982 and almost 
twice as likely to do so in 1992. The baby boom cohorts also have low opera 
viewership, having significantly lower rates of viewing compared to all of the 
older cohorts. In general, controls for demographic and life course factors ex- 
acerbate the differences between young and old for this type of consumption. 
Data results of changes in video consumption of opera over time reveal 
some evidence that the youngest cohorts are maturing into video consump- 
tion. Both the 1946-1955 cohort and the 1956-1965 cohort reported in- 
creasing their consumption of opera by video means significantly between 
1982 and 1992. However, controls for demographic and life course factors re- 
move the significance of this change. On the other hand, the middle-aged co- 
horts are relatively stable in their video consumption of this art form, and the 



48 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 1 1 . Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Classical 
Music and Opera 



Si 

c 
o 



40 
35 
30 
25 



•= 20 



15 



a 



r 



10 



Classical Music, Unadjusted 



1982 1992 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 

Cohort Years 



1956-1965 



in 

Si 

ro 

C 

_o 

ro 
Q. 



Q_ 



40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



Classical Music, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 49 



TABLE 1 1 . Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Classical 
Music and Opera (Continued) 



20 



ttj 

c 
o 

a 
'u 

'■c 

Q_ 



Opera, Unadjusted 



1982 



1992 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



25 



Si 20 

CO 

15 



c 

Q. 

'u 

't; 

m 



10 



Opera, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



dtnJ 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



50 I Age and Arts Participation 



oldest cohort's increase in unadjusted video consumption nearly reaches sig- 
nificance (p = 0.115). Thus, many fewer people view opera than classical 
music via video, and the increase in viewership between 1982 and 1992 is less 
evident for opera than it is for classical music. 

Ballet. Data in Table 12 show the 1982 and 1992 proportions by cohort for 
viewing ballet via media. Looking first at the unadjusted differences between 
cohorts reveals that the data for ballet fit a curvilinear pattern. As with classi- 
cal music, the highest rates of ballet video viewership are in the 1926-1935 
cohort (57- to 66-year-olds). Also, the eldest cohort has significantly higher 
rates of watching ballet by TV or VCR compared to the youngest cohort (at 
least in 1982). Generally, cohort differences are not as large for ballet as they 
are for both classical music and opera. Controls for demographic and life 
course factors produce a much more linear pattern for ballet. Statistical con- 
trols widen the gulf between the two baby boom cohorts and those that pre- 
ceded them. Indeed, adjusting for the influence of demographic and life 
course factors, the two baby boom cohorts view ballet by video significantly 
less often than do older cohorts. 

Looking at changes in consumption via these media between 1982 and 
1992 reveals that while the oldest cohort increased its consumption, the 
change is not significant. The unadjusted results show significant increases in 
video consumption of ballet by the 1926-1935, 1936-1945, 1946-1955, and 
1956-1965 cohorts (aged 27 to 66). This consistent pattern of increasing con- 
sumption across these cohorts is positive, especially given the slight declines 
evident in live attendance. However, the introduction of controls for demo- 
graphic and life course factors mitigates the significance of these findings, al- 
though the increases found for the young baby boomers remain significant at 
conventional levels, and the increases among the older boomers approach sta- 
tistical significance (p = 0.064). 

Video consumption of ballet is somewhat higher than consumption of 
opera, although not as high as the reported classical music viewership. What 
is remarkable is that, compared to opera viewership, the video audience for 
ballet is much younger overall, and there is evidence of significant increases by 
the youngest cohorts; ballet, however, did not suffer from disengagement by 
the oldest cohorts. 

Musicals. Data in Table 12 also present the unadjusted and adjusted results 
for viewing musicals by video between 1982 and 1992. Overall, the pattern of 
video consumption of musicals is much more flat than the core art forms pre- 
viously considered. The results show some curvilinearity in that fewer people 
in the oldest and the youngest cohorts view musicals via video than do those 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 51 



TABLE 1 2. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Ballet and 
Musicals 



Ballet, Unadjusted 



1982 



1992 



25 



Si 20 



c 
O 



ci- 



IO 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Ballet, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



Si 
c 

a 



30 

25 
20 



15 



.y io 







Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



52 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 1 2. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Ballet and 
Musicals (Continued) 



30 
25 
20 



Q£ 

C 

O 

ra 
Q. 

w 10 






15 




Musicals, Unadjusted 



1982 1992 






Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



£ 
To 

c 
_o 

To 
Q. 

(J 

03 

Q. 



30 

25 
20 
15 



10 



Musicals, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 




3E 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 53 



in the middle-aged cohorts. But only the cohorts with the highest 
(1926—1935) and lowest (1956-1965) rates of reported viewership differ sig- 
nificantly and substantially from other cohorts, whereas in 1 982 the difference 
between the oldest and youngest cohorts is very small and insignificant. Sta- 
tistical controls reveal an increase in cohort differences but do not produce a 
different pattern of results. Clearly, the video consumption of musicals is 
much higher in the older cohorts. 

For almost every cohort, viewership is down in 1992. This is hardly evi- 
dence for substitution. If anything, the substantial declines in live attendance 
at musicals noted earlier in this report are being matched by declines in video 
consumption of musicals. Controls for life course and demographic factors do 
not improve the picture. For example, the 1926-1935 cohort, which report- 
edly likes musicals the most, shows a significant decline in video consumption 
between 1982 and 1992, and this substantial decline is even stronger after sta- 
tistical controls are introduced. This is also the case for the two baby boom 
cohorts, with significant declines both before and after the introduction of 
controls. The pre- 1916 cohort shows a decrease in video consumption as well. 

Comparing these results with those reported earlier in this report, it be- 
comes evident that adult Americans are less interested in musicals than they 
were in 1982. Not only is attendance down at live musical performances, but 
video consumption has decreased as well. Given the availablility of video cas- 
settes of musicals, findings for this core art form are disturbing, as are the im- 
plications for its future. 

Jazz. Data in Table 13 show the unadjusted and adjusted proportions for 
viewing jazz performances by video (TV or VCR). Cohort variations in video 
consumption of jazz reveal a pattern unlike that found for the other art disci- 
plines considered so far. First, in the unadjusted proportions, the older baby 
boom cohort (37- to 46-year-olds) is found to have the highest rate of con- 
sumption of jazz by video, and this is significantly higher than all other co- 
horts with the exception of the pre- WW II cohorts (adults over 56). How- 
ever, when controls for demographic composition and life course factors are 
introduced, the differences are leveled, revealing almost identical rates of video 
consumption of jazz across all cohorts, ranging from a difference of 1.4 in 
1982 and 1.0 in 1992. 

Looking at changes in jazz viewership on video between 1982 and 1992 
reveals that, unlike musicals, video consumption of jazz is generally stable or 
increasing. Indeed, the unadjusted results find that the 1936-1945, 
1946-1955, and 1956-1965 cohorts (the 27- to 56-year-olds) reported sig- 
nificant increases in consumption of jazz by video. Increases in other cohorts 
are not statistically significant, but they are considerable. Controls for demo- 



54 I Age and Arts Participation 



graphic and life course factors eliminate the statistical significance of the in- 
creases for the two baby boom cohorts; the increase for those in the 
1936-1945 cohort remains significant. 

Like ballet, jazz did not see disengagement of participation by the oldest 
cohort (whose participation at live jazz performances was quite low to begin 
with). However, younger cohorts significantly decreased attendance over the 
10-year span, 1982 to 1992, although this drop-off in attendance did not co- 
incide with decreases in video consumption, as was the case with musicals. 
Hence, it appears that younger cohorts are substituting video consumption of 
jazz for live attendance. Unlike musicals, jazz seems to be retaining its interest 
across cohorts, and the range of cohorts which consume jazz, especially by 
video, is quite large. While attendance at jazz concerts is much higher for 
younger cohorts, video consumption of this art form is very high even in the 
1916-1925 cohort. Jazz music seems to be the music of all ages and is enjoyed 
in its live form most often by the young. 

Plays. Data in Table 13 also show the adjusted and unadjusted proportions for 
viewing theatrical plays by video for the years 1982 and 1992. Looking first 
at cohort comparisons reveals that the curvilinear pattern found for classical 
music and ballet is evident for this art form as well. Peak viewership is re- 
ported by the 1926-1935 cohort, which has significantly higher consumption 
compared to any other cohort in both the adjusted and unadjusted results. In 
1982 the youngest cohort has significantly higher rates of video consumption 
of plays compared to the pre- 19 16 cohort, although substantial declines in 
video consumption in the youngest cohort obliterate this difference in 1992. 
Controls for demographic and life course variables fail to change the overall 
pattern of cohort viewership, although the older cohort's deficits are mitigated 
somewhat by the controls. 

Looking at changes between 1982 and 1992 reveals much the same pat- 
tern for theatrical plays that was found for musicals — an alarmingly consistent 
decrease in video consumption. While the concomitant decline in attendance 
at live theatrical plays was not as severe as in the case of live musicals, decreases 
in the use of video to watch plays was greater. In the unadjusted results, the 
1926-1935, 1946-1955, and 1956-1965 cohorts (aged 27-46 and 57-66) 
are all found to have significantly decreased their consumption of plays by 
video means. Controls for demographic and life course factors not only fail to 
wipe out these declines but add the 1936-1945 and the pre-1916 cohorts to 
the list of cohorts exhibiting significant decreases. 

The magnitude of the declines is impressive. In the adjusted results, the 
1926-1935, 1946-1955, and 1956-1965 cohorts all chart declines of more 
than 10 percent in consumption of plays by this means. As with musicals, the 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 55 



TABLE 1 3. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of jazz and 
Plays 



Jazz, Unadjusted 



1982 



1992 



c 
q 

— 

Q. 
'u 
■E 

ID 

Q_ 



30 
25 
20 

15 

10 



BB 





Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Jazz, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



Si 

TO 

C 

o 

a 
'u 
'■c 

TO 
Q. 



25 



20 



15 



10 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



56 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 1 3. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Jazz and 
Plays (Continued) 



in 

£ 

c 
o 

«S 

Q. 

'u 
*€ 

m 

Q. 



35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



Plays, Unadjusted 



1982 



1992 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



— 
03 

c 
O 

— 

Q. 
U 

ro 
Q. 



35 

30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



Plays, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



3P 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 57 



loss of so many consumers in the cohort with the highest rate of consumption 
(1926-1935) is particularly notable. And not only are the eldest adults not 
substituting video means for actual attendance, they are decreasing in their 
viewership as well. 

Much like the results for musicals, the findings for theatrical plays suggest 
a general decline in interest. There is no evidence that the slight decreases in 
active attendance are being offset by participation via video. Quite the con- 
trary, video consumption of theatrical plays is down markedly. These drastic 
declines are evident in virtually every cohort, and they hold up after controls 
for other factors are introduced which might have explained them. It would 
be worth exploring whether these general declines are indeed due to a change 
in audience desires or perhaps to a decreased supply of plays on television over 
the 1982 to 1992 decade. 

Visual Arts. Finally, data in Table 14 present the unadjusted and adjusted pro- 
portions for adults who view visual arts via television, cable television, or 
video. In the cohort comparisons, some curvilinearity is apparent. In the un- 
adjusted proportions, viewership of visual arts by video is highest among the 
1936-1945 and 1946-1955 cohorts as reported in the 1992 SPPA data, 
whereas in 1982 it peaks in the 1926-1935 cohort. Strong increases in video 
consumption among the younger cohorts between 1982 and 1992 change the 
overall comparisons substantially. What is clear is that overall rates of video 
viewing of the visual arts are consistently high across all cohorts, and there is 
no great decline among either the oldest or youngest cohorts (although the 
oldest cohort has the lowest unadjusted proportion for both 1982 and 1992). 
Controls for demographic factors and life course events help to further level 
the different rates of viewing across cohorts. 

Changes in video viewing of the visual arts between 1982 and 1992 are in 
stark contrast to those found for theatrical plays and musicals. Viewership is 
uniformly increasing in every cohort, with gains exceeding 1 percent for the 
1936-1945, 1946-1955, and 1956-1965 cohorts (aged 27 to 56) in the un- 
adjusted proportions. Even after statistical controls are introduced, the in- 
creases in video consumption of visual art forms among the baby boom co- 
horts approaches 10 percent (1946-1955) or exceeds that amount 
(1956-1965). The unadjusted results reveal statistically significant increases in 
the four cohorts representing the 27- to 66-year-olds. Controls for demo- 
graphic and life course factors have little effect on the significance of these 
findings, although the increase for the 1926-1935 cohort is reduced slightly 
over conventional statistical significance levels (p = 0.055). There is no real ev- 
idence of substitution for the oldest cohort which also increased viewership of 
visual arts by video, but this increase is not statistically significant. 



58 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 14. Percentage of Video Media Consumption of Visual Arts 



Visual Arts, Unadjusted 



| 1982 



1992 



— 
03 

c 
O 

Q. 
Q_ 



40 



30 



20 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Visual Arts, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



in 

— 

a: 

c 
o 

— 

to 

y 

't: 

Q. 



35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 
5 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 59 



Attendance at art museums shows uniform increases across all cohorts, 
(only the pre- 19 16 cohort, the oldest adults, is found to have decreased at- 
tendance), thus there is little reason to consider increases in video viewing as 
participatory substitution. However, the very strong increases in viewership 
suggest a uniformly increasing interest in the visual arts, and there may be a 
crossover effect — those that view the visual arts by video may be more inclined 
to become active museumgoers. What is notable is that actual attendance at 
art museums is nearly as high as viewership by video means (in contrast to the 
larger audiences via video vs. actual attendance for all other art forms). With 
increasing interest in the visual arts, it seems likely that the more programs of- 
fered by video for this art form, the more viewers there will be. 

Consumption of Classical Music and Opera via Radio 5 

Like television, radio can whet the appetite for the arts in general and pro- 
vide a substitute for active participation in the performing arts in particular. 
In this section an analysis is made of cohort differences in consumption of 
classical music and opera via radio and the changes in that consumption be- 
tween 1982 and 1992. As before, the analysis looks at the unadjusted propor- 
tion of individuals in each cohort who reported listening to classical music or 
opera on the radio in the last year for both SPPAs, 1982 and 1992, and the 
proportion of listeners when adjusted for demographic composition and life 
course factors. 

Classical Music. Data in Table 15 present the unadjusted and adjusted results 
for the listenership of classical music via radio by cohort in 1982 and 1992. 
In the unadjusted results, a curvilinear pattern of radio listening by age ap- 
pears. Radio consumption of classical music peaks with the 47- to 56-year- 
olds (1936-1945), although both the 1926-1935 and 1946-1955 cohorts 
have nearly as many listeners (the 1926-1935 cohort matches the 1936—1945 
cohort in 1982). In 1982 the 27- to 36-year-olds (1956-1965) are the least 
frequent listeners of classical music by radio, significantly less often than all 
other cohorts except the pre-1916 cohort. However, incredible gains by the 
young baby boom cohort between 1982 and 1992 leave the pre-1916 cohort 
with the lowest listenership, differing significantly from all other cohorts in 
1992 in the unadjusted results. 

When controls for demographic composition and life course factors are 
taken into account, findings reveal that radio consumption of classical music 
in the oldest cohort matches that of most of the younger cohorts; indeed, in 
1982 the pre-1916 cohort has the highest radio listenership rate. In 1992 the 
adjusted participation peaks in the 1926-1935 cohort (the 57- to 66-year- 



60 I Age and Arts Participation 



olds). Thus, taking demographic and life course variables into account creates 
a significant divide between the low listenership of the two baby boom co- 
horts and the high rates of the older cohorts. 

Looking at changes between 1982 and 1992 reveals that listening to clas- 
sical music on radio has become more popular in every cohort. The unad- 
justed results show that radio consumption of classical music has increased 
significantly across all cohorts. Indeed, the proportion of the 1956-1965 co- 
hort which listened to classical music more than doubled between 1982 and 
1992. Enormous increases in radio listening for both baby boom cohorts 
erased much of the deficit between them and the older groups. The older baby 
boomers (the 37- to 46-year-olds) are significantly higher in listenership than 
the 1916-1925 and pre-1916 cohorts in 1992 and do not have significantly 
lower radio consumption rates than any other cohort. The smallest increase 
was for the pre-1916 cohort at 5.3 percent. Controls for demographic com- 
position and life course factors do not erase the significance of these gains. 

Given the declines in reported attendance at classical music concerts be- 
tween 1982 and 1992, the finding that cohorts are increasing consumption of 
classical music via radio seems to indicate a substitution of radio for partici- 
pation. The extremely strong increases in the younger cohorts could be inter- 
preted as evidence that these baby boomers are maturing into classical music, 
however, their consumption via radio is not yet translating into attendance at 
live performances. That older cohorts are also increasing their consumption of 
classical music via radio is heartening. However, the pre-1916 cohort is not 
making up for its significantly abated attendance at live performances by sub- 
stituting radio listening. (Note: Since radio listening is more popular than ac- 
tual attendance, substitution can occur without observed increases in radio 
consumption.) 

Opera. Data in Table 15 also show the unadjusted and adjusted proportions 
for radio listening of opera performances for each cohort in 1982 and 1992. 
As was the case with other findings for opera, radio consumption of opera is 
more prevalent in the older cohorts. Opera radio consumption is highest in 
the 1926-1935 cohort (aged 57 to 66) in both survey years. The two baby 
boom cohorts and the 1936-1945 cohort have the lowest rates of opera lis- 
tening in 1982, significantly lower than the 1926—1935 cohort in both the 
unadjusted and adjusted results. Because of the lower overall rates of listening 
to opera, significant differences are more difficult to detect. However, it is 
clear that the oldest cohort has significantly higher rates of listening compared 
to the younger baby boomer group (in both 1982 and 1992). Controls for de- 
mographic and life course factors accentuate the age of opera radio listeners 
even more. Opera radio listening increases almost linearly across cohorts when 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 61 



TABLE 15. Percentage of Radio Consumption of Classical Music 
and Opera 



Classical Music on Radio, Unadjusted 



1982 



992 



4(1 



30 



B 
n 

a: 

c 
o 
« 20 

Q. 








Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 

Cohort Years 



1956-1965 



Classical Music on Radio, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



CD 
ro 
0£ 

c 
O 



40 



30 



% 20 

TO 
Q. 

'u 



Q_ 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 



Cohort Years 



62 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 15. Percentage of Radio Consumption of Classical Music 
and Opera (Continued) 



CD 

— 

c 
o 

— 

re 

a. 
'y 
'■E 

re 
Q. 



15 



10 



Opera on Radio, Unadjusted 



1982 1992 





Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



& 
re 
c* 

c 
_o 

re 
Q. 

'<j 

'c 
re 

Q. 



16 

14 

12 

10 

8 

6 

4 

2 





Opera on Radio, Adjusted 



1982 1992 




-L 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 63 



statistical controls are taken into account. The gulf between baby boomers 
and other cohorts is apparent, although the WW II cohort (the 47- to 56- 
year-olds) also has few opera listeners. 

Findings confirm increases in opera radio listening between 1982 and 
1992, but they are not nearly as large for opera as they are for classical music. 
There are significant increases for the 1916-1925, 1936-1945, and 
1946-1955 cohorts in the unadjusted results. Controls for demographic and 
life course variables, however, erase the significance of the increase for the 
1946-1955 cohort, though the other findings remain significant. The 
1936—1945 cohort has the largest increase in opera listening via radio, which 
more than doubled over the 10-year period. Increases in opera listening by 
radio are also apparent in the other cohorts, but these changes are substan- 
tively small and not statistically significant. 

According to the surveys, listening to opera on radio is not only much 
more popular than actual attendance, but there is some evidence that its pop- 
ularity is growing. Opera did not see the overall declines in participation that 
other art forms experienced, however, there was a significant drop in partici- 
pation by the oldest cohort, the pre-1916. The oldest Americans do not seem 
to be substituting radio listening for actual attendance at operas. Generally 
speaking, however, more adults are listening to opera by radio. 

Consumption of Classical Music and Opera via Recorded Music 

The consumption of recorded music is yet another possible medium 
which could be subtituted for live attendance at performances. To round out 
the examination of cohort differences and changes in consumption of art 
forms via other media, a review is made of cohort variations and changes in 
listening to classical music and opera via records, tapes, or CDs. Once again 
the data show unadjusted and adjusted proportions of listeners in each cohort 
for both the 1982 and 1992 SPPA. 

Classical Music. Data in Table 16 show that reported consumption of clas- 
sical music recordings is actually highest in the Early Boomers cohort 
(1946-1955) in both 1982 and 1992. This cohort has significantly higher 
rates of listening than the pre-1916 and 1956-1965 cohorts in 1982. They 
outdistance these two cohorts as well as the 1916-1925 and 1926-1935 
cohorts in 1992. The 1936-1945 cohort also has very high rates of listening 
to classical music recordings. Audiences for classical music recordings are low- 
est in the pre-1916 cohort, which has significantly lower rates of listening 
compared to all other cohorts with the exception of the Late Boomers, until 
controls for demographic composition and life course factors are taken into 



64 I Age and Arts Participation 



account. The adjusted results help to even disparities between the oldest co- 
horts and the middle cohorts. Findings also reveal that much of the difference 
between the Early Boomers and the older cohorts is accounted for by demo- 
graphic and life course factors. 

Looking at changes in consumption of classical music recordings between 
1982 and 1992 reveals that many of the older cohorts decreased consumption. 
The decline in listening was significant for the 1926-1935 cohort, although 
controls for demographic and life course factors minimize the significance of 
the finding (p = 0.103). In contrast, classical recordings became more popu- 
lar with members of the Late Boomers (the 27- to 36-year-olds), and this in- 
crease is significant even after controls are introduced. 

The strong levels of reported consumption of classical music recordings 
among the older baby boomers is encouraging and suggests that they may sub- 
stitute recordings for live participation (which is down between 1982 and 
1992). The younger baby boomers are also maturing into consumption of 
classical music through recordings, although this has yet to result in substan- 
tial changes in their attendance at live performances. However, according to 
the SPPA, strong declines in classical music attendance among members of 
the pre-1916 cohort are not being made up for with increases in listening to 
recordings. The absolute declines in classical music recording listenership 
among the older cohorts, compared to the increases found among the younger 
cohorts, suggest that recordings may not be the preferred medium of substi- 
tution for older Americans. 

Opera. The unadjusted proportions presented in the data in Table 16 show 
that the audience for opera recordings is highest in the 1926-1935 cohort, 
followed closely by the 1916-1925 cohort (aged 57-66 and 67-76, respec- 
tively). As with television and radio, the audience for opera recordings is older 
than for other art forms. Controls for demographic and life course factors only 
accentuate the age of the opera recording music audience, creating a gulf be- 
tween the 1926-1935 cohort and the younger cohorts which follow. Indeed, 
the adjusted results show a significant difference between the baby boom co- 
horts and the intermediate 1935-1946 cohort. Although by 1992 many of 
the baby boomers have become avid listeners of classical music recordings, 
they are less likely to listen to opera recordings than all but the oldest two co- 
horts, those aged 67 and above. (The oldest cohort has the second lowest lis- 
tenership rate in 1992.) 

Changes in consumption of opera via recordings between 1982 and 1992 
follow a somewhat similar pattern of change as that found for classical music: 
fewer members of the older cohorts are listening to recordings, whereas more 
members of the younger cohorts are listening. The increase is significant for 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 65 



TABLE 16. Percentage of Consumption of Classical Music and 
Opera Recordings 



Classical Music Recordings, Unadjusted 



1982 



1992 



Si 

c 
_o 

r3 
Q. 

'u 

as 
a. 



30 
25 
20 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Classical Music Recordings, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



A3 

c 
_o 

03 
Q. 

'u 

t 

ro 



30 

25 
20 
15 
10 
5 





Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 

Cohort Years 



1956-1965 



66 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE 16. Percentage of Consumption of Classical Music and 
Opera Recordings (Continued) 



Opera Recordings, Unadjusted 



1982 



1992 



12 



O) 

*— 

to 

C 

o 

TO 



TO 
Q. 




Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 

Cohort Years 




1956-1965 



Opera Recordings, Adjusted 



1982 



1992 



in 

2£ 
eg 

c 
g 

TO 
Q. 

'u 

TO 
Q. 



14 
12 

10 
8 
6 
4 
2 





li 



Pre-1916 1916-1925 1926-1935 1936-1945 1946-1955 1956-1965 

Cohort Years 



Effects of Age on Arts Participation I 67 



the 1946-1955 cohort (Early Boomers) and approaches significance for the 
1956-1966 cohort (Late Boomers) (p = 0.089) until controls for demo- 
graphic composition and life course variables are taken into account. The de- 
cline in opera listening on recordings found for the 1916—1925 cohort is sig- 
nificant and remains so after statistical controls are introduced. Further, in 
controlling for demographic and life course variables, the decrease in opera lis- 
tening rates for the pre-1916 cohort and for the 1926—1935 cohort approach 
conventional levels of significance (p = 0.053 and p = 0.70, respectively). 

The pattern of increasing consumption of recordings for younger cohorts 
and decreasing consumption in older cohorts merits special attention, since 
this was also found to be the case for both classical music and opera. How is 
this to be explained? Changes in recording technology have led to changes in 
availability. With the advent of cassette tapes, for example, and now compact 
discs, there is less production and availability of vinyl records. Older Ameri- 
cans may not be purchasing updated equipment to use CDs and may instead 
be switching to high fidelity FM radio listening. Younger cohorts, on the 
other hand, are more likely to have and use the newer technology. Again, sub- 
stitution could be taking place for the older cohorts, but the pattern of results 
suggests that older Americans are more likely to choose radio or video rather 
than recorded music as a substitute for active participation. 



Arts Participation of the 
Baby Boomers 

Authored by Judith Huggins Balfe and Rolf Meyersohn 




Introduction and Methodology 

Baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1965 — make up nearly half 
of all adult Americans, totalling nearly 80 million people. They are now in 
their 30s and 40s, the same decades of the life cycle in which their elders fu- 
eled the arts boom of the 1970s (when the boomers themselves were in their 
teens and early 20s). During that period the number of artists and arts orga- 
nizations, the support for public art, as well as corporate and foundation phil- 
anthropy toward the arts all expanded enormously. 6 Given their sheer num- 
bers and the greater proportion who have higher education, much had been 
expected of the baby boomers: it was assumed that they would carry on the 
activism of their elders. The pattern of their arts participation is of concern 
because it has serious implications for the future structure of and support for 
the arts in the United States. 

The 1982 SPPA survey data suggested that the baby boomers were par- 
ticipating less than their elders in most of the seven core art forms examined. 
However, in the absence of longitudinal data, it was unclear whether baby 
boomer rates of involvement would increase as they got older to resemble the 
rates of elder cohorts at the same age. In 1992 the NEA repeated the survey. 
By examining both sets of data, it can now be determined not only how the 
baby boomers differ from the older Depression era and WW II cohorts (born 
1930s and early 1940s, respectively) and from the younger Generation X 
(born after 1966) but also how they differ among themselves. 

The dimensions and dilemmas of the public and private lives of the baby 
boomers have been discussed by many analysts. Esterlin (1987), for example, 
has argued that in general, because of the greater amount of competition en- 
gendered by their sheer numbers, large birth cohorts experience greater social, 
economic, and psychological stress, and hence a lower sense of personal well- 
being. This, in turn, results in a lower level of identification with the cultural 
values and institutions of the older generations. 7 Cohorts of large numbers 
have proportionately fewer only and oldest children — both of whom are 



68 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 69 



known to identify more with established adult culture — and proportionately 
more later-boms, who are known to be more rebellious. 8 

Supporting evidence regarding the economic woes of the American baby 
boomers has come from studies such as Declining Fortunes (Newman, 1993) 
and a wide variety of press reports that demonstrate the prevalence of a "with- 
ering of the American Dream" among this large cohort, who for the first time 
in American history has failed to experience the upward mobility of their par- 
ents. Indeed, even the fabled yuppies feel downwardly mobile. Like their less 
educated peers, they need two incomes to maintain the standard of living once 
provided by a single breadwinner. At the same time, they are in the prime "full 
nest" period of their lives, yet many depend upon a second income in order 
to raise their children. With more married women in the work force, evening 
and weekend hours that were previously available for entertainment are now 
spent performing necessary household tasks. For those who are single, 
whether they are supporting children or not, time pressures are even greater. 
In sum: the reality (and not merely the argument) is that baby boomers are 
working harder while losing ground; the "shrinking of the middle class" and 
downward mobility affect them more than their elders. Already prone to feel- 
ings of detachment and cynicism about the culture they have inherited, baby 
boomers tend to blame society rather than themselves for their lack of success. 

Such a pattern of relative deprivation would predict lower rates of arts par- 
ticipation by baby boomers. Indeed, with less money and time to spend on 
leisure pursuits compared to their elders, they have less attachment to estab- 
lished cultural institutions. Yet a large proportion of baby boomers went to 
college (see Figure 1). It is well known that higher education is the single best 
predictor of arts participation. Accordingly, one might expect that despite 
their economic difficulties, boomers would attend the arts in even greater pro- 
portions than their elders. However, that is not the case for most of the art 
forms that have been examined here. 

One possible explanation for the fact that higher education does not ap- 
pear to have the same predictive capacity about arts participation for the baby 
boomers as for earlier generations is that it was not the same kind of educa- 
tion. To be sure, more boomers report having taken art and music apprecia- 
tion courses in college than did their elders and indeed, more of them had art 
and music lessons while in school. However, such socializing influences appear 
to have been sporadic and without cumulative effect. In part this might be due 
not only to the decline in actual numbers of college degrees in the liberal arts 
between 1970 and 1980 but in the proportion of all degrees awarded to this 
much enlarged cohort. For example, undergraduate degrees in music and art 
fell 12 percent in this decade, and the much greater number in the social sci- 



70 I Age and Arts Participation 



ences and humanities fell by 35 percent, while degrees in business, engineer- 
ing, and health professions soared both in proportion and in number. 9 Ac- 
cordingly, the trend away from studying the arts affected students' chances of 
acquiring a more complete understanding of the sociohistorical contexts and 
interrelations of past and present art forms. 

Another common explanation for lower baby boomer arts participation is 
television. Television entered American life just as the boomers started to ar- 
rive, reaching approximately 90 percent of American households by 1950. 
Unlike earlier cohorts, the vast majority of baby boomers have never experi- 
enced life without TV. With its highly polished and professional entertain- 
ment always available in their homes at the flick of a switch, they had less rea- 
son to acquire the habit of reading for pleasure or of going out to live events, 
especially those of potentially less professionalism. It seems that, contrary to 
their elders, participating in the arts is less ingrained in the value system of this 
generation of adults. 

Yet another explanation is the effect of rock-n-roll music. Like their par- 
ents, baby boomers defined themselves by popular music. However, given the 
sheer size of the cohort, they constituted a highly particularized audience of 
significant mass, one to whom both political activists and the music industry 
could appeal without any need for broader popularity across generations. 10 
Rock-n-roll achieved this; it had a political as well as a musical message. Thus 
as the boomers (and presumably their taste) matured, they were less drawn to- 
ward the more traditional forms of music that their parents enjoyed. The so- 
phistication and attractiveness of rock music performers and performances fu- 
eled the original separation from their elders, further influencing a large 
proportion of this cohort to disregard the culture of older cohorts (contrary to 
what one might expect). In this section of this report, more light is shed on 
the baby boomers' participation in the arts. 

Methodological Notes 

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1965, with the peak birth 
year being 1957. As of this writing (Spring 1995), they are between 31 and 
50 years old, with the greatest number aged 39. In order to focus on this 
group particularly, it is necessary to use slightly different age categories from 
those employed in the other NEA monographs examining the 1982 and 1992 
SPPA data. The standard age brackets used are 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 
etc., for the year of the survey. But baby boomers don't fit those brackets ex- 
actly in the two survey years. Therefore, different age categories for ^//cohorts 
have been employed, usually in 5-year segments, based upon the specific birth 
years of the baby boomers rather than upon their actual age. (In Part I, the 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 71 



TABLE 17. 


Education and Cohorts by 
(1992 Data Only) 


Size, in Millions 






Age in 1992 


High School 
or Less 


College % 
or More 


College + 


< 1915 


77+ 


7.702M 


2.086M 


21.3 


1916-20 


72-76 


6.462 


2.202 


25.4 


1921-25 


67-71 


7.367 


2.918 


28.4 


1926-30 


62-66 


7.527 


3.749 


33.2 


1931-35 


57-61 


7.367 


4.420 


37.5 


1936-40 


52-56 


7.411 


4.785 


39.2 


1941-45 


47-51 


7.600 


6.842 


47.4 


1946-50 


42-46 


7.717 


9.161 


54.3 


1951-55 


37-41 


9.643 


10.970 


53.2 


1956-60 


32-36 


10.474 


11.933 


53.3 


1961-65 


27-31 


9.643 


10.241 


51.5 


1 966-70 


22-26 


7.177 


8.505 


54.2 


1971+* 


18-21 


6.404 


4.551 


41.5 


*4-year cohort only 









FIGURE 1. Educational Level by Age Cohort 



25,000,000 



20,000,000 



1 5,000,000 



10,000,000 



5,000,000 



Education 



High school or less | College or more 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



72 I Age and Arts Participation 



baby boom cohort was examined based upon 10-year segments in age cate- 
gories.) Data in Table 17 detail the cohorts' age range at the time of the 1992 
survey, along with data on their size and the proportion of those having at- 
tended college. (Note: In Table 17, figures for baby boom cohorts are printed 
in bold, to make their differences in size easier to discern.) 

In examining the ways in which baby boomers differ from other cohorts 
in arts participation, the focus is on the seven benchmark art forms — classical 
music, jazz, opera, musicals, ballet, plays, and art museums. Novel reading is 
not included. Participants considered are those who took part in one activity 
at least once. Thus box office (total admissions per year) are not counted, nor 
are frequent attenders distinguished from occasional ones. Excluded also are 
personal arts participation (through amateur or professional creation and per- 
formance), although such data were collected in the SPPA surveys. Participa- 
tion always means attendance at live events. 

For each set of factors under analysis, the comparative percentage rates of 
attendance by cohort are examined. In several cases, graphs are presented to 
show how these rates translate into real numbers in the various cohorts, dif- 
fering as they do in size. Relevant numerical tables are included as appendices. 

Because higher education is the best predictor of arts participation, even 
among the baby boomers, it is particularly important to see what this means 
numerically, from the beginning. As is obvious from the data in Figure 1 and 
Table 17, the four baby boom cohorts are not merely the largest in size; they 
also constitute the largest number of college-educated people in the total pop- 
ulation. 

It is useful to keep this graphic image and the numerical data in mind 
while turning to the analysis of cohort participation in the seven core art 
forms. From time to time, when examining comparative rates of attendance, 
the reader can refer back to Figure 1 and Table 1 7 and speculate on what the 
numerical attendance might have been had earlier rates held. 



Arts Participation by Cohort in the 1982 and 1992 SPPAs 

Taking first the matter of attendance rates, consider the set of graphs in 
Figures 2-8. Participation in each art form is graphed to the same scale of 
to 35 percent to facilitate comparison of their relative popularity and rounded 
off to whole percents. Each graph shows how a single cohort changed in its 
rate of participation between the surveys. 

Comparing each cohort between 1982 and 1992 reveals that, with the ex- 
ception of jazz and art museums, the general pattern is one of decline: suc- 
cessive cohorts of baby boomers report lower attendance rates in 1992 than 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 73 



FIGURE 2. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at 
Classical Music Concerts by Age Cohort 



DO 



< 

c 
a> 
u 

ai 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 3. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Jazz 
Concerts by Age Cohort 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



■o 

3= 

< 

o3 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 





Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



74 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 4. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at 
Operas by Age Cohort 



ac 

c 

C 

< 

c 
a; 
u 

k— 

— 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 5. Percentage of 1 982 and 1 992 Attendance at 
Musicals by Age Cohort 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



<= 10 



o» 



<h 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 75 



FIGURE 6. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at Ballet 
Performances by Age Cohort 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



ac 

c 

< 






Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 



Urn 



wmm 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 7. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at 
Theater by Age Cohort 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



< 

CD 

cu 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 






n 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



76 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 8. Percentage of 1982 and 1992 Attendance at 
Museums by Age Cohort 



o> 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



their immediate elders in 1982 at the same age. This occurs despite the greater 
proportion of their members with a college education. Although they did in- 
crease their own participation over the decade in such performing arts as 
opera, ballet, theater, and especially in art museums, typically they have not 
caught up. With continuing declines among the succeeding Generation X 
adults, it seems unlikely that the younger cohorts will in fact catch up with- 
out major and successful efforts to recruit them. 

One way to summarize this complex picture (including as it does seven art 
forms over two surveys and 13 five-year cohorts) is to use the data to single 
out the cohort segments that attended at the highest rates and at the lowest 
(hereafter respectively in bold and italics) for that art form in that survey year. 
The other cohorts fall between the two extremes for each art form. This 
method is used to summarize the data in Table 18 and later when examining 
specific factors such as education and income. In each case, full numerical 
data are provided in the respective appendix tables. 

The conclusion is obvious: those in the youngest baby boom cohort (born 
1961-65, aged 27-31 in 1992) participated at the lowest rates in five of the 
seven art forms in 1982 and four of seven in 1992. Taking the four baby boom 
cohorts together, in 1982 when baby boomers were between 17 and 36, their 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 77 



TABLE 18. 


H 


ighest and Lowest Cohort Arts Participation Rates 




in 


1982 and 1992 










1982 


1992 


Classical music 


1941-45 


7 967-65 


1941-45 


7 96 7-65 






1 7.4% 


11.1% 


18.4% 


9.9% 


Opera 




1936-40 


796 7-65 


1941-45 


7 96 7-65 






4.6 


1.8 


4.5 


2.5 


Musicals 




1941-45 


7 967-65 


1941-45 


7967-65 






24.4 


15.7 


22.2 


14.5 


Jazz 




1961-65 


1926-30 


1951-55/56-60 1931-35 






18.0 


5.3 


13.1 


7.5 


Ballet 




1941-45 


7 96 7-65 


1956-60 


1926-30 






6.2 


3.7 


6.1 


4.1 


Theater 




1941-45 


7957-55/67-65 


1941^5 


796 7-65 






15.8 


10.9 


18.0 


12.4 


Art museums 




1946-50 


7926-30 


1946-50 


7 926-30 






28.4 


20.3 


31.3 


22.8 



participation was greatest in only two forms, jazz and art museums; in 1992 
when they were in their late 20s to mid-40s, they were top participants at bal- 
let performances as well. However, even here their actual rate of attendance 
declined over the decade for ballet and jazz, and increased only for attendance 
at art museums (see Figures 2-8). 

In contrast, the WW II babies born between 1941—45 have the highest 
participation rate in four of the seven art forms in both 1982 and 1992 when 
they were respectively in their early 40s and early 50s, with their rates in- 
creasing over the decade as well for classical music, opera, and theater (though 
declining for musicals and ballet). While the 1941-45 cohort does not rank 
highest in jazz and art museums in either survey, their rates of attendance at 
these art forms increase during the period. They are never lowest in participa- 
tion rates, even as those 20 years younger — the youngest baby boomers — hit 
bottom in 9 of the 14 possible cases. 

Comparing the art forms to each other over the 10-year period between 
surveys makes clear that while ballet and especially art museums have seen in- 
creased rates of attendance from the baby boomers, other art forms did not see 



78 I Age and Arts Participation 



such an increase and indeed, for classical music, jazz, and theater, there is a 
consistent decline over the rates attained by older cohorts. Ballet's popularity 
in 1992 was greatest for those born between 1956-60, nearly reaching the 
1982 level of the then five-year older 1941-45 cohort; it also went up con- 
siderably in 1992 for the 1931-35 cohort, then aged 56-61. Such a mixed 
pattern is hard to interpret; perhaps the elders are going to Swan Lake while 
those younger are going to a Twyla Tharpe performance, and both consider it 
ballet when interviewed. 

Art museums differ from the other core art forms in a number of ways 
which are likely to have contributed to their comparatively greater success in 
attracting baby boomers. In contrast to performance-based arts events that al- 
most inevitably involve planning ahead to make ticket reservations, museums 
are more like shopping malls in ease, cost, and timing of access, with un- 
scheduled visits possible even with a child or two in a stroller. Moreover, mu- 
seums have long provided on-site educational programs for school classes and 
individual children. 1 ' Clearly, the venue makes a difference. There is a payoff 
in the general comfort with which people, with or without children, experi- 
ence museums. 

It may also be argued that museums are further advantaged in holding a 
certain monopoly on the presentation of the visual arts, in contrast to the sit- 
uation of the established performing arts which must compete with the com- 
plex institutions that have grown up around rock music, for example. Baby 
boomers have created no distinct "age-graded" institutions to frame their 
tastes in visual art to rival museums and galleries. If they wish to see the lat- 
est, or even the oldest, in the visual arts, they find the best examples at art mu- 
seums, and often all under one roof 12 Another noteworthy difference be- 
tween museums and other art forms is that museum audiences are composed 
not only of local people but also in considerable measure of tourists, while au- 
diences for the performing arts are far more largely composed of local resi- 
dents. 13 

In sum, looking only at the comparative rates of attendance across these 
art forms between 1982 and 1992, it appears that the hope that the baby 
boomers would grow into active participation in these fine arts as they ma- 
tured has so far not materialized. Despite their greater education, they attend 
less rather than more often than their elders. 

Data in Figures 9-15 present the picture as it looks numerically rather 
than proportionately in order to visualize and compare the respective sizes of 
audiences for the seven art forms, as well as to demonstrate the effect of the 
enlarged size of the baby boom cohorts (see also Appendix Table B-l). Thus, 
lower attendance rates may still mean greater actual numbers of attenders com- 
pared to other cohorts (the collective audience for any art form may not ap- 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 79 



FIGURE 9. 1982 and 1992 Classical Music Concert Attendance 
by Age Cohort 



o 



E 
cz 



< 



Survey Year 



1982 ] 1992 





Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-55 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 10. 1982 and 1992 Jazz Concert Attendance by Age 
Cohort 



DC 



< 

-Q 

E 



_. 4 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 



H 



q.qi 




1_. 



Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



80 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 11. 1982 and 1992 Opera Attendance by Age Cohort 



Ol 

E 
3 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 



_ 4 

o 

1 3 



< 




n 



-F 



Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 12. 1982 and 1992 Musical Attendance by Age Cohort 



O 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 



E 3 



< 

E 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 81 



FIGURE 13. 1982 and 1992 Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort 



Survey Year 



1982 ^]1992 



o 

1 3 

c= 



-a 

CD 

<C 

its 

-Q 

E 




n 



Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 14. 1982 and 1992 Theater Attendance by Age Cohort 



Survey Year 



1982 ]1992 



E 3 



Sn l - H n 
iii iiii mii 

i^ i^ H^ \ I I I I I ~ ~ r^ r^ 

Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



82 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 15. 1982 and 1992 Museum Visits by Age Cohort 






Survey Year ■ 1 982 □ 1 992 




o 




7 






f. 












<; 






















4 






















o 




























DO 

■E 2 












































-a 2 - 

c 

(LI 

s 














































E 

z n 
















































Pre-l 


916 

19K 


192 
v20 


-25 
192 


1931-35 
5-30 193( 


1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
j-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 





pear to be grayer than it used to be). However, remember that the total num- 
ber of artists and arts institutions has also expanded enormously during this 
decade, following upon a similar expansion in the previous ten years. 14 There 
is simply more art available to be attended to, thus diluting the effects of an 
enlarged total audience upon any single arts presenter. 



Effect of Education on Arts Participation 

As noted, higher education differed among the baby boomers. The effect 
of education on the various cohorts' arts participation as measured by atten- 
dance at the seven core art forms is examined (see Figures 16-22). Survey re- 
spondents are divided into two categories: those who completed high school 
only, or less, and those with some college or more. Initial runs of the data in- 
dicate that using more categories for education makes little difference. 

In every cohort, in every art form (including jazz), those with more edu- 
cation participate at higher rates than those with less. Nonetheless, the basic 
pattern remains: there is an overall decline after the cohort born between 
1941-45. Note here that both 1982 and 1992 SPPA data are included, so that 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 83 



FIGURE 16. Classical Music Concert Attendance by Age 
Cohort and Education 



< 

(U 

<_) 

~- 



50 

45 
40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 
5 




Education | High school or less 3 College or more 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 1 7. Jazz Concert Attendance by Age Cohort and 
Education 



Education | High school or less J College or more 



50 



45 



40 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



£ ,0 

< 

c 5 

o> 

u 

I 




1 LL_ U U_ . 



Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



84 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 18. Opera Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 



Education | High school or less ] College or more 



<v 



CD 



50 
45 
40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 
5 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 19. Attendance at Musicals by Age Cohort and 
Education 



Education | High school or less ] College or more 



50 
45 
40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 

DC 

1 10 

< 



CD 

£ 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 85 



FIGURE 20. Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 



Education | High school or less ] College or more 



< 



50 

45 
40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



£ 



H 



JZ 



Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 21 . Theater Attendance by Age Cohort and Education 






Education | High school or less ] College or more 




50 












40 






































































1 
























DO 

1 10 






£ lu 
< 






£ 




1 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 





86 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 22. Museum Visits by Age Cohort and Education 



<v 

< 



50 
45 
40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



Education 



High school or less ] College or more 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



differences in cohort attendance between those two surveys — whether up or 
down — are averaged out. As has already been suggested by the data in Table 
17, a lower rate of attendance among college-educated baby boomers could 
still mean higher numbers of baby boomers attending than their elders, sim- 
ply because of the sheer size of that large cohort. At the same time, the de- 
clining attendance rates among the better-educated baby boomers supports 
the hypothesis that it was not "the same" higher education (or had the same 
impact) as that obtained by their elders. 15 

Following the analysis above in which the data is summarized by concen- 
trating on those who participate at the highest rates and those whose rate of 
participation is lowest, data in Table 19 compares cohorts in terms of their 
level of education rather than comparing the two surveys (for full figures, see 
Appendix Table B-2). 

Among those with high school or less education, those born before 1940 
show the highest rates of participation in most of the art forms (6 out of 7). 
This is not surprising since these cohorts have comparatively low rates of col- 
lege attendance, so that those with less formal education were not necessarily 
as self-selected as were later cohorts with more opportunities. 

Among the less educated baby boomers, only in jazz do they rank highest 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 87 



TABLE 19. 


Highest and Lowest Cohort Arts Participation Rates 
(Average of 1982 and 1992) by Education 




High 
or 


School 
Less 


One or 
Years of 


More 
College 


Classical music 1926-30 


7956-60 


1936-40 


7 967-65 




7.4% 


4.3% 


32.0% 


18.0% 


Jazz 


1961-65 

9.5 


1941-45 
3.1 


1961-65 

23.3 


7 926-30 
12.4 


Opera 


1926-30 

1.8 


1951-55 
.8 


1931-35 

8.8 


7 96 7-65 
3.5 


Musicals 


1926-30 

13.3 


7967-65 
7.5 


1936-40 

37.8 


7 967-65 
24.8 


Ballet 


1926-30/36-40 

2.2 


796 7-65 
1.3 


1941-45 

10.2 


1951-55 
7.6 


Theater 


1926-30 

8.5 


7 957-55 
3.9 


1931-35 

29.5 


7956-60 
19.9 


Art museums 


1 936-40 

14.3 


1931-35 
12.2 


1941-45 

45.4 


7 926-30 
40.0 



in attendance, while they are lowest in 5 of the core arts activities. Among 
those with a college education (which considerably more baby boomers were 
able to attain), baby boomers are again highest only in jazz, and lowest in 6 of 
the 7 art forms. Indeed, it is particularly those born between 1961-65 who 
are most frequently low in attendance: among the less educated, they are low- 
est in 2 forms; among the more educated, in 3, for 5 of the 14 lowest ranks. 
Together, the four baby boom cohorts hold 10 of the 14 ranks as lowest for 
their education category. 

Thus, whether one looks at cohort differences over the ten years between 
the two surveys (Appendix Table B- 1 ) or between less or more educated people, 
averaging out the rates of the combined surveys (Appendix Table B-2), the co- 
hort of adults that is most frequently lowest in participation are those born be- 
tween 1961—65. Combining these two tables (which represent different ways 
of measuring respective participation by cohorts) yields 28 slots of highest and 
lowest. The 1961-65 cohort occupies 14 out of the combined total of 28 low- 
est ranks; it is highest in only 3 of 28 (all in jazz). Together, the four baby 
boomer cohorts account for 1 9 of the lowest slots and only 5 of the highest. 



88 I Age and Arts Participation 



In contrast, the 1941-45 cohort ranks lowest only in the category of the less 
educated attending jazz; it is highest in 10. 

Of particular interest here are art museums, where the ratio of less to more 
educated attenders — especially among the baby boomers — is lower than that 
for other art forms (jazz is a close second among the younger cohorts). In other 
words, museums have attracted, and held, their less educated audiences with- 
out losing those with more education. Yet even here among the better-edu- 
cated, it is those adults born between 1941-45 who attend at the highest rate. 

What might account for the differences between the baby boomers and 
their most immediately older cohort, the WW II babies, who are highest in 
arts participation, while the baby boomers fail to continue their trend of in- 
volvement? In contrast to younger age groups, the childhood of the WW II 
babies was filled with the stuff of patriotism. If they attended college, they 
typically graduated in the mid-1960s and emerged into adult culture to join 
the optimism and institutions of their elders who had survived the Depression 
and World War II (especially those born 1931—40 who for some art forms still 
rank highest in participation). They graduated from college at the advent of 
the Beatles and before rock music became as prolific and commercialized as it 
is today. Despite the antiestablishment activity of some of the younger mem- 
bers at this time, for most the civil rights movement was seen in a positive 
light. The WW II babies may have been in college when President Kennedy 
was assassinated, but the general sense of disillusionment and anger that fol- 
lowed the later assassinations lay ahead. The minority who took art and music 
appreciation classes and became more fully socialized members of established 
elite culture may have been incipiently radical, but they were typically willing 
to follow the rules even in resistance, as, for example, in the heated contra- 
venes over the Vietnam War. 

Perhaps because of their smaller cohort size and their typical lack of "trou- 
blemaking," the WW II babies have attracted little attention among the pun- 
dits and analysts compared to that showered upon the baby boomer genera- 
tion. Thus explanations for their high participation rates are based more on 
personal experience and less on other data than is the understanding of their 
successors, the baby boomers. Nonetheless, it is clear that in both 1982 and 
1992 those born between 1941-45 attended the fine arts at rates that are usu- 
ally higher than those of the other cohorts. Evidently, for many of the WW II 
babies, the established masterpieces of human creativity — past and present — 
are felt to be accessible to inspire and console. Perhaps some willingness to sus- 
pend disbelief may be necessary for the arts to work, but for those immedi- 
ately younger — especially those 10 to 20 years younger — cynicism is all too 
typical, at least according to many analysts. 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 89 



Effect of Income on Arts Participation 

Cynicism among the baby boomers is often thought to be linked to the 
"declining fortunes" that affect so many of them. Although they have more (if 
somewhat different) higher education than their elders, they have not experi- 
enced a higher payoff. Proportionately fewer baby boomers have advanced 
into top professional and high-salaried positions, despite their advanced de- 
grees. And rising costs, especially housing, have made home ownership diffi- 
cult for middle-income adults, even with two wage earners. 16 How has this 
situation possibly affected their arts participation? The following analysis con- 
siders the rates of attendance by income rather than education. (Note: Given 
the complexities of correcting for inflation, only 1992 data are used.) 

The data in Table 20 show the respective proportions of cohorts in income 
brackets below and above $30,000, selected as benchmark because, out of the 
available 1992 SPPA income categories, this range is closest to the national 
median family income. The data are given in real numbers, comparable to 
Table 17 which similarly examined education. 

Proportionately more of the 1936—40 and 1941-45 cohorts earn above 
the $30,000 median family income than is true of the baby boomers. This is 
consistent with what is expected: older workers tend to earn more than 



FIGURE 23. Family Income by Age Cohort 



Family Income 



< $30,000 ] $30,000 + 



in nnn nnn 


i ^ nnn nnn i 1 




IE ■! 

5,000,000 1 



Pre-1915 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



90 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 24. Attendance at Classical Music Concerts by Age 
Cohort and Income 



< 






Family income 



$30,000 ] $30,000 + 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 25. Attendance at Jazz Concerts by Age Cohort and 
Income 



+J 

< 

(V 



Family income 



< $30,000 ] $30,000 + 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 91 



FIGURE 26. Opera Attendance by Age Cohort and Income 



< 

a3 



40 
35 
30 

25 
20 
15 
10 
5 




Family income 



$30,000 H $30,000 + 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 27. Attendance at Musicals by Age Cohort and 
Income 



is 
< 



40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



Family income 



< $30,000 ] $30,000 + 





I — 



Pre-1916 



1921-25 



1931-35 



1941-45 



1951-55 



1961-65 



1971 + 



1916-20 



1926-30 



1936-40 



1946-50 



1956-60 



1966-70 



92 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 28. Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort and Income 



-a 
m 

< 

c 

(J 



40 
35 
30 
25 
20 
15 
10 



Family income 



$30,000 ] $30,000 + 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 29. Theater Attendance by Age Cohort and Income 



< 



Family income 



$30,000 D $30,000 + 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 93 



FIGURE 30. Museum Visits by Age Cohort and Income 



ac 
CD 



a. 



40 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



Family income 



$30,000 ] $30,000 + 



illl 




Pre-1916 1921-25 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1916-20 1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



younger ones. Still, the proportion, let alone the real numbers, of baby 
boomers whose family incomes are in the top half is sizeable indeed. (This ob- 
viously has not reduced their financial worries, since two incomes are typically 
required to push families into the upper bracket which was not the case for 
their elders, as indicated.) 

How does family income, whether the product of single or dual wage 
earners, affect arts participation by cohort? Comparable to the models used 
above, Figures 24—30 show the results for the seven core art forms (see also 
Appendix Table B-3). 

As expected, those with higher incomes attend the arts more than do 
those with less money: higher education is the best predictor of more income 
just as it is of more arts participation. However, in this case the picture is con- 
siderably more mixed, as becomes apparent when summarizing the highest 
and lowest cohort rates of participation in Table 20, following the model of 
analysis found in Tables 17 and 18 (the oldest cohorts, those born before 
1926, are combined in this summary table). 

Compared to the figures on participation generally and participation by 
education, when considering income, the youngest cohorts do not come in 
last so consistently. Indeed, among those with lower incomes, those in Gen- 
eration X (including both those born between 1966-70 and in 1971 and 
after) attend at the highest rates in five categories, although they did not ap- 
pear in any such slot when lower education was the variable being considered. 



94 I Age and Arts Participation 



Lower-income, older baby boomers appear as highest in only one core art 
form, classical music; their younger boomer peers are lowest in only one, mu- 
sicals, yet collectively the less educated boomers held five of the lowest slots 
and only one of the highest, for jazz. Instead, among those with lower in- 
comes, it is the Depression era cohort of 1 936—40 who attend at lowest rates 
for four art forms and the 1941-45 cohort for a fifth. 

Among those with higher incomes, two baby boom cohorts are lowest in 
attendance rates, one for musicals, the other for ballet, with Generation X low- 
est for four of the seven art forms. However, among the wealthier, that same 
younger cohort attends at higher rates for two art forms, jazz and art muse- 
ums (where they tie with the 1951-55 baby boomers). The 1941-45 WW II 
babies attend highest for two art forms as well. Thus, looking at income rather 
than education, baby boomers fill only two of the lowest ranks rather than ten 
(both for musicals), and the 1941-45 cohort does not shine so consistently at 
the top. Instead, it is the better-off, post-baby boomers, Generation X, who 
fill four of the lowest s\ots — in each case, among those with more income; yet 



TABLE 20. Highest and Lowest Cohort Arts Participation 
Rates by Income (1992 Data Only) 

$30,000+ 





< $30,000 


Classical music 


1951-55 


1936-40 




10.2% 


5.6% 


Jazz 


1966-70 


1936-40 




12.7 


2.6 


Opera 


1 966-70 


1936-40 




3.0 


.7 


Musicals 


1926-30 


1961-65 




14.0 


8.9 


Ballet 


1971 + 


1941-45 




4.3 


.9 


Theater 


1966-70 


1936-40 




12.0 


5.9 


Art museums 


1966-70 


<1926 




25.8 


10.8 



1941-45 


1971 + 


24.1% 


12.1% 


1966-70 


<1926 


20.3 


6.6 


1926-30 


1966-70 


7.5 


2.5 


1936^10 


1961-65 


30.3 


20.8 


1931-35 


1946-50 


9.4 


6.1 


1941-45 


1966-70 


24.5 


13.6 


1951-55/66-70 


1971 + 


39.0 


28.8 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 95 



they are at a time in their lives when presumably they have less family and pro- 
fessional responsibilities than they will later acquire. At the same time, look- 
ing at the top ranks reveals that members of Generation X with lower incomes 
occupy five of the seven highest ranks, in total reversal of their more affluent 
peers. 

How is it possible to make sense of this picture, contradicting as it does 
the patterns already established regarding education, which correlates gener- 
ally with income? Differences in income are probably less significant for arts 
participation among the youngest cohorts at this particular stage of the life 
cycle; later when career and place of residence are more established, the link 
between income and life style may be more significant. This process seems to 
be the case among the baby boomers as well. 

This conclusion is supported when the connections between income and 
arts participation are examined by calculating the mean ratios of attendance 
rates between the two income brackets (see figures in Appendix Table B-3). 
This ratio is about 1.5 for Generation X (i.e., those with higher incomes at- 
tend about one-and-a-half times more often than those with lower incomes), 
and it is about 2 for the baby boomers (those with higher incomes attend 
twice as often as those with less). Among the senior cohorts, however, the ratio 
is over 4 (those with higher incomes attend four times more often than those 
with less). 

However, when considering more or less education rather than income for 
all cohorts born after 1941, the average ratios of attendance are higher (nearly 
4 in all cases) while it is 2 for income. For older cohorts (whose education 
ratio is only slightly higher at 4.5), this correlates with the ratio regarding in- 
come, but for the younger ones it does not. In sum, "internal" differences in 
arts participation among members of the baby boom cohorts are Zero related to 
their comparative incomes than is the case for their elders, but they are more 
related to educational differences. Seen another way, here is further support 
for the thesis that for baby boomers, their higher level of education has pro- 
duced less financial payoff to distinguish them from their less educated peers. 
Following the argument about "cultural capital" developed by Pierre Bourdieu 
and others, 17 this finding should make participation in the arts all the more 
important as a status marker, when income itself does not serve. Compared to 
their elders, baby boomers and their younger siblings are more likely to have 
champagne tastes on beer budgets, with the greater need to demonstrate their 
tastes accordingly. Yet even this additional factor (it would seem from this 
data) is insufficient to induce greater proportions of the better-educated to be 
more active in the arts. 



96 I Age and Arts Participation 



Effect of Households with Children on Arts Participation 

It can be argued that it is neither lack of caring for culture nor lower in- 
comes that keep baby boomers — especially the younger ones — away from ac- 
tive participation in the arts. One of the reasons they may have neither the 
time nor money to attend (even if they have the inclination) is that they are 
home with the children, in what little free time their work affords them for 
family life. The impact of having children in the household under the age of 
1 2 upon arts participation is examined by comparing the rates of attendance 
for those surveyed who had children and those who did not. 

The data in Figure 31 show the proportional numbers of the different co- 
horts in 1992 with no children under 12, one such child, or two or more. 
Here the oldest cohorts (those born before 1926) are combined, so that their 
proportional numbers appear greater than in previous graphs. Both in rates 
and in numbers, baby boomers make up fewer of the childless than the older 
and the youngest cohorts, and more of them have two children under 12 than 
have only one. 

The data in Figures 32-38 (which combine the 1982 and 1992 surveys) 
compare attendance rates of cohorts according to the number of children 
under 12 for each of the seven art forms (see also Appendix Table B-4). To be 
sure, as the data in Figure 31 reveal, the proportions and numbers of the older 
cohorts with such children (presumably people raising grandchildren) are very 
small. Similarly, the number of Generation X members with two or more chil- 
dren is also very small. 

Turning to the baby boomers (where the proportions of those with chil- 
dren are higher and thus the numbers more reliable), findings reveal that hav- 
ing children induces quite different effects across the art forms. In particular, 
classical music loses the young parents in greater proportions than it loses 
their peers without children. Still, it appears that if baby boomer parents want 
to attend — especially in the less popular art forms like ballet and opera — they 
find ways of doing so. In fact, frequently the rate of attendance is higher for 
baby boomers with two or more children than it is for those with one child. 
Not surprisingly, given the findings above, art museums remain highest in at- 
tendance among the childless baby boomers, but they also seem to hold that 
allegiance once the children arrive. 

Nonetheless, as the figures reveal, the basic shape of the curve doesn't 
change from what has been learned so far: regardless of presence or absence of 
children, those in the 1941-45 cohort attend the core art forms at the high- 
est rates, and those in the younger cohorts reduce their attendance below that 
attained by their elders at the same age and presumably at the same stage of 
full-nest family life. 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 97 



FIGURE 31. Number with Children under 12 by Cohort 
(1992 Data Only) 



30,000,000 



25,000,000 



20,000,000 



15,000,000 



10,000,000 



5,000,000 



Children under 12 



Two or more | One [IZ1 None 




i i 1 i 1 n — n i r 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Alternate Forms of Arts Participation: The Case of Music 

The foregoing raises a final question: if the baby boomers and their suc- 
cessors, Generation X, tend to participate at lower rates in most of the seven 
core art forms examined here, what are they doing instead? Presumably, they 
are not just watching television, going to sporting events, or working out — or 
simply working to make an inadequate living. Without question, like their el- 
ders, many of the baby boomers are participating in the core art forms and in 
the popular arts, especially music, in ways that are not accounted for here. On 
that assumption, it is no accident that their rates of participation are highest 
in jazz — the art form closest to popular music — and in art museums where 
popular music competes least. In this section, arts participation in music is ex- 
amined in order to explore adult participation in art forms other than the 
benchmark activities discussed thus far. 

If the nature and location of that "other" participation could be deter- 
mined with greater assurance, it would help the core arts organizations in de- 
veloping strategies to lure the nonparticipants away from their present activi- 
ties to those that might be considered more enriching for adults. While the 



98 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 32. Classical Music Concert Attendance by Age 

Cohort and Number of Children, 1982 and 1992 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



10 



Children under 12 



None 



One Two or more 



< 




~i~ ~i~ ~i~ ~i~ — r~ —[- ~i- — r 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 33. Jazz Concert Attendance by Age Cohort 
and Number of Children, 1 982 and 1 992 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



E 10 

C 

e 

< <; 






Children under 12 



None One 



■Two or more 




°- -I- -I" -T 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 99 



FIGURE 34. Opera Attendance by Age Cohort and 
Number of Children, 1 982 and 1 992 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



E 10 
■a 

c 
<u 
ts 

tE 5 

ai 



Children under 12 



None One 



■Two or more 











T 



T 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 35. Attendance at Musicals by Age Cohort 

and Number of Children, 1982 and 1992 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



E 10 

(Z 
0J 

< s 



D_ 



Children under 12 — 


None One Two or more 














* 


--'?X- 


N% - '•• "V 












^x. _-—■ -""""\ 

x*. ^x— — — ^^ ^x. 

**- ^^^ ^x. 

x . 

\X . . ■ * >k 








\ \ 

"**."• — *~ *"x 








X 

X 
X 

X 
X 












1 1 1 


I 


1 1 1 1 1 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



100 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 36. Ballet Attendance by Age Cohort and 
Number of Children, 1 982 and 1 992 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



E 10 

C 

<v 

< 5 

c 

O) 

(J 

i— 
CD 



Children under 12 



None One 



Two or more 




. 

^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^ 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 37. Theater Attendance by Age Cohort and 
Number of Children, 1982 and 1992 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



IS 
< 






Children under 12 



None One 



Two or more 




T" —r~ t* —[- ~i~ —r~ —r~ ~r~ — r 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 101 



FIGURE 38. Museum Visits by Age Cohort and 

Number of Children, 1982 and 1992 



-a 






40 



35 



30 



25 



20 



15 



Children under 12 



None One 



•Two or more 




— i 1 1 1 1 1 1 r 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



principle of "the more, the more" holds across all fields of leisure activity — so 
that those who attend live sporting events are more likely to attend live arts 
events, and vice versa, than those who attend neither — it is probably easier to 
attract new participants from related fields of activity. Thus those who like to 
listen to and attend any kind of live music will presumably be more attracted 
to another form of it. What is the evidence? 

The 1982 SPPA included a general question about music tastes: respon- 
dents were asked whether or not they "liked to listen" to a number of differ- 
ent types of music. Thirteen types of music were included; the 1992 survey 
extended this list to 20 types. In both instances, the survey included classical, 
jazz, opera, and musicals in which actual listening and live attendance by par- 
ticipants were explored in depth and whose patterns have already been ana- 
lyzed here. But in neither survey were respondents queried about media or live 
participation for the other "liked" forms of music, from marching band to 
gospel to reggae to country and western. (Given the discrepancies between the 
two surveys, data reported here are from the more inclusive 1992 SPPA only.) 

How can one make sensible projections of participation in such popular 
forms of music? It is assumed that those who say they like to listen to any of 



102 I Age and Arts Participation 



these alternative forms have probably attended live performances as well in 
somewhat comparable proportions to those for whom there is data to calcu- 
late these ratios; that is, those who say they not only like to listen to classical 
music, jazz, opera, and musicals but have attended such events in the last year. 
On that basis, however tentatively, the liking/attendance data that is already 
available are projected to the forms of music the majority of Americans say 
they like and therefore presumably attend. What might be learned about the 
arts participation of the baby boomers and the other cohorts by this exercise? 
First, a picture is drawn of what Americans like to listen to followed by 
the next step, projecting their actual attendance at live events for a particular 
form of music (see Table 21 and, for detail, Appendix Table B-5). Following 
the 1992 SPPA, 20 types of music are listed here in their order and rates of 
popularity among the WW II baby boom cohort (those now in their early 
50s) which have been shown above to be the most active participants in the 
seven core art forms. Also listed are the order and rates of liking by the 
younger baby boomers (those born between 1961-65 and now in their early 
30s) who are least active in the seven core arts disciplines. This pairing of lists 



TABLE 21. Percentage 


of the 1941-45 and 1961-65 Cohorts 




Liking Various Types 


of Music 








1941-45 






1961-65 


1. 


Country & Western 


61.7% 


1. 


Rock 


60.8% 


2. 


Easy Listening 


55.3 


2. 


Country & Western 


50.0 


3. 


Gospel 


45.4 


3. 


Easy Listening 


48.2 


4. 


Big Band 


43.3 


4. 


Blues 


43.7 


5. 


Blues 


41.7 


5. 


Jazz 


38.6 


6. 


Rock 


38.1 


6. 


Gospel 


31.2 


7. 


Classical 


38.1 


7. 


Soul 


29.9 


8. 


Musicals 


37.6 


8. 


Classical 


24.4 


9. 


Bluegrass 


36.1 


9. 


Reggae 


24.4 


10. 


Folk 


33.8 


10. 


Bluegrass 


23.2 


11. 


Jazz 


32.9 


11. 


Big Band 


21.9 


12. 


Soul 


24.9 


12. 


Latin/Salsa 


19.8 


13. 


Ethnic 


24.0 


13. 


New Age 


19.6 


14. 


Latin/Salsa 


22.7 


14. 


Musicals 


19.5 


15. 


Marching Band 


22.4 


15. 


Folk 


16.9 


16. 


Choral/Glee Club 


18.1 


16. 


Ethnic 


16.2 


17. 


Reggae 


17.7 


17. 


Rap 


15.9 


18. 


Opera 


17.0 


18. 


Marching Band 


7.9 


19. 


New Age 


15.6 


19. 


Opera 


6.4 


20. 


Rap 


5.7 


20. 


Choral/Glee Club 


5.9 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 103 



highlights the changes in taste in popular music and the relative position of 
classical, jazz, opera, and musicals. 

With this comparison, it is possible to chart what was perceived respec- 
tively by the two cohorts to be "our music" (what a large proportion of the co- 
hort likes) as well as "their music" (what a large proportion of the other co- 
hort likes that this cohort does not). Thus rock, jazz, soul, reggae, new age, 
and rap are identifiable as "younger people's music," while gospel, big band, 
musicals, folk, ethnic, and choral/glee club are seen more as "older people's 
music." In general, the older cohort tends to have a higher rate of liking across 
the 20 types of music than the younger cohort. 

Assuming that people attend in comparable proportions to what they say 
they like to listen to, given lower rates of liking the baby boomers are likely to 
attend the various types of popular music events in lower proportions than 
their elders, just as they attend classical, opera, and musicals in lower numbers. 

The principle of "the more, the more" shows up repeatedly when looking 
at the rates of liking among those who participate in at least one of the seven 
core art forms in contrast to those who do not participate in them at all (see 
Figures 39-58 for details). With the exception of country and western music 
(for most cohorts, at least), in every case, those who participate in one of the 
core art forms prefer that type of music at higher rates than do nonpartici- 
pants (see Appendix Table B-6). Most forms of popular music are liked by 
more of the better-educated and more affluent audiences, those already par- 
ticipating in at least one of the "fine art" forms, than they are liked by the less 
educated and nonparticipating. 

How do these rates of liking translate into numbers of those who listen, 
let alone actually attend? The rates of actual listening to classical, jazz, musi- 
cals, and opera (or watching on television, especially the latter two) are also 
available from the SPPA data: they tend to be only a few percentage points 
lower than the figures reported for liking, and it is assumed that this pattern 
prevails for the 16 alternative forms of popular music about which respon- 
dents were not asked if they actually listened to or attended. 

How might these be projected? Taking the 1941-45 and 1961-65 co- 
horts, as above, consider the rates of liking and attending for classical, jazz, 
musicals, and opera, for which there are actual attendance figures (see Table 
22). Using the figures for cohort size presented earlier, cohorts are compared 
in terms of the size of the liking as well as the attending audience, in millions. 
(Note: This is a very conservative projection of attendance, as it is based only 
on those who say they "like to listen," not on those who report actual listen- 
ing or wanting to be more active.) 

The respective average ratios of cohorts' rates of liking is then projected to 
attendance of these four types of music — country and western, easy listening, 



104 I Age and Arts Participation 



gospel, and rock. The ratio is .405 percent for the 1941-45 cohort; .462 per- 
cent for the 1961-65. That is, for the older cohort, approximately 40 percent 
of those who like to listen report attending; for the younger cohort, the ratio 
is about 46 percent. Since fewer in the younger cohort actually like these four 
core types of music performance, their higher ratio here is understandable in 
terms of attendance. These projections, therefore, must be seen as very tenta- 
tive indeed. 

Again, given the much enlarged size of the younger cohort, its apparent 
audience for these various types of music is often larger than that of the older 
cohort, even when there is a lower rate of liking. In any event, assuming that 
those who like new age, big band, salsa, or reggae attend no less frequently, 
following the specific cohort ratio, the audiences for popular music are vast in- 
deed, even if not counted in the SPPA. This exercise could be continued for 
all of the 1 3 other types of music about which respondents were queried in 
the 1992 SPPA, comparing types of music and the probable sizes of their live 
audiences to each other, as well as comparing cohorts to each other. 

While baby boomer tastes in popular music are not as wide-ranging as 
those of their elders, it is quite possible that they are reducing their participa- 
tion in core art forms that compete most directly with the popular arts, given 



FIGURE 39. Percent That "Like to Listen to Country-Western 
Music" by Extent of Arts Participation and Age 
Cohort 






Arts participation | none ] 1/more 










7f1 








■ 


■~ 


■ 


^n 


n 


|- 


Y 


t 

5 
1936-4 


1 

1941-4 



J 

5 
1946-5 


t 

1951-5 







40 - 
30 - 

i? 20 

c 10 - 

i o 


i 

Pre- 19; 


t 

6 
1926-3 


i 

1931-3 



1 

5 
1956-6 


i 

1961-6 



5 
19( 




>6-7 


t 

1 971-1 







Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 105 



FIGURE 40. Percent That "Like to Listen to Mood/Easy 

Listening" by Extent of Arts Participation and Age 
Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/i 



more 



80 

70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
g 3 20 



■E 10 
a> 





— 1 1 


— | r—i 




i — | 


1 - 1 


-■-■-■-. 


r _ 


ft 1 ■ 


tl II 


1 Mr 


±11 It 




± 





Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 41. Percent That "Like to Listen to Hymns/Gospel 
Music" by Extent of Arts Participation and Age 
Cohort 






Arts participation | none ] 1 /more 








70 — 
60 - 
50 - 
40 - 
30 - 
jf 20 - 
c 10- 
















i-n 














~l 




























































■r 






_r 










































n 
























































































I 


r 


































Pre- 


l l l l l 

1926 1931-35 1941-45 195 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 


1-55 

1951 


1961-65 1971+ 
3-60 1966-70 





106 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 42. Percent That "Like to Listen to Big Band Music" 
Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 


by 




Arts participation | none ] 1/more 




80 




70 


















fiO 
















, — 




•;n 
























40 - 
30 - 




























f 




1 




_■ 






























1 




■ 






















■?= i n 














1 


1 


1 
















S3 

I 


1 






1 


1 




1 






1 1 


■ 






I I 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 
Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 





FIGURE 43. Percent That "Like to Listen to Blues/Rhythm and 
Blues" by Extent of Arts Participation and Age 
Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/more 



80 
70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
.1° 20 

lid 

E io 

E 

(j 

<v 

o- 



I I II I I I II I I 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



1971 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 107 



FIGURE 44. Percent That "Like to Listen to Rock" by Extent of 
Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



80 
70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
20 



E 10 

o 

Q- 



Arts participation 



no 



ne ] 1/more 



M 



r 



_ 



r 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 45. Percent That "Like to Listen to Classical Music" by 
Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation 



none 



□ Vi 



more 



80 

70 
60 
50 
40 
30 



g? 20 



S 10 
c£ 







[— 1 






— 1 




















r " 








~ 










| 


-J- 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



108 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 46. Percent That "Like to Listen to Musicals" by Extent 
of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 




Arts participation | none ] 1/more 




ftO 




70 






fin 




^o 




40 




^0 












?P 70 
























1* 

■?= 1 n 






■ 






















i — 








u 

O- 


1 


1 


1 


1 




1 


■ 




■ 




■ 


















Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 196 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 


-65 1971 + 
1966-70 





FIGURE 47. Percent That "Like to Listen to Bluegrass" by 
Extend of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



80 



70 



60 



Arts participation | none ] 1 /more 




w 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 109 



FIGURE 48. Percent That "Like to Listen to Contemporary Folk 
Music" by Extent of Arts Participation and Age 
Cohort 



Arts participation | none ]l/more 



80 
70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
E 20 
S 10 

<3J 

i_ 
<V 

Q- 



s» 



mm 



Kt 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 49. Percent That "Like to Listen to Jazz" by Extent of 
Arts Participation and Age Cohort 




Arts participation | none ]l/more 


















RO 
















AC\ 
























































































?? ?n 






















r 




n 






7 






- 














lit 

■^ 1 n 


P 




|| 




r 


I 


\ 


r 


























1 


! 


! 






1 




i 


























1 1 1 1 1 1 1 
Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 195 


196 
5-60 


1-65 
1961 


1971 + 
S-70 





110 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 50. Percent That "Like to Listen to Soul Music" by 
Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation 



none ] 1/mo 



re 



80 

70 

60 

50 

40 

30 

gf 20 

£ 10 
33 

Q_ 



■ ■ ■■ M lllll 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 51. Percent That "Like to Listen to Ethnic Music" by 
Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/more 



80 



70 



60 



50 



40 



30 



20 



c 10 



a- 



lllllllllll 

Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 111 



FIGURE 52. Percent That "Like to Listen to 

Latin/Spanish/Salsa" by Extent of Arts 
Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/more 



80 

70 
60 
50 

40 
30 



§? 20 



10 



St o 



m 



\? 



t 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 53. Percent That "Like to Listen to Marching Band 
Music" by Extent of Arts Participation and Age 
Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/more 




n t tfi fl mt 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



112 I Age and Arts Participation 



FIGURE 54. Percent That "Like to Listen to Choral/Glee Club" 
by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation | none ]l/more 



80 



70 



60 



50 



40 



30 



20 



S 10 



mu 



□ 



IE 



* 



imm 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 55. Percent That "Like to Listen to Reggae" by Extent 
of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation | none ]l/more 



80 



70 



60 



50 



40 



30 



20 



Q- 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971+ 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 113 



FIGURE 56. Percent That "Like to Listen to Opera" by Extent 
of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/more 



80 



70 



60 



50 



40 



30 



c 20 



c 10 

a; 

o 

I 






Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 57. Percent That "Like to Listen to New Age Music" 
by Extent of Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



Arts participation | none ] 1/more 



80 

70 
60 
50 
40 
30 
20 



c 10 



£ 



■H=L4 



Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 
1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



FIGURE 58. Percent That "Like to Listen to Rap" by Extent of 
Arts Participation and Age Cohort 



£ 



Arts participation 



none 



DV' 



more 




Pre-1926 1931-35 1941-45 1951-55 1961-65 1971 + 

1926-30 1936-40 1946-50 1956-60 1966-70 



what is known of the constraints on their time and economic pressures. With 
increased sophistication of performances of most forms of popular music, as 
well as the general informality of their venues, it is no wonder that it is classi- 
cal music, jazz, opera, musicals, and theater that have suffered the largest de- 
clines among baby boomers and the younger Generation X, while ballet and 
art museums — both art forms and venues having less competition from those 
of popular music — have enjoyed increases instead. 



Implications of Baby Boomer Analysis 

For most of the seven core art forms analyzed here, baby boomers partic- 
ipate less than their elders. Furthermore, comparing the rates of attendance in 
1982 with those in 1992, it appears that they are not catching up. For some 
art forms the baby boomers have increased their own attendance rate over the 
decade, but in general they do not match the rates of their elders at the same 
age. Indeed, even the younger baby boomers are not catching up with the 
older baby boomers. Instead, they largely continue the patterns of decline set 
by the older ones. Because Generation X is examined only in the 1992 SPPA, 
there are no longitudinal comparisons, but for some art forms, they do show 



Arts Participation of the Baby Boomers I 115 



TABLE 22. Music Liking and Projected Audience Size for 
1941-45 and 1961-65 Cohorts 





1941-45 




1961-65 




Classical music 


39.0% 


5.67M 


24.8% 


4.7JM 




18.4 


2.62 


9.9 


1.89 


Musicals 


38.5 


5.59 


19.7 


3.75 




22.2 


3.23 


14.5 


2.76 


Jazz 


33.6 


4.88 


39.2 


7.47 




70.6 


1.54 


12.9 


2.46 


Opera 


17.0 


2.47 


6.5 


1.24 




4.5 


.65 


2.5 


.48 



Ratio of Liking/ Attending: 

.405 .462 

Projecting these ratios to four types of popular music reveals: 

9.1 7M 50.7% 9.66M 

3.72 23.4 4.46 

8.22 48.9 9.32 

3.33 22.6 4.31 



Country 


& Western 


63.1 % 

25.6 


Easy Listening 


56.6 






22.9 


Gospel 




46.4 

18.8 


Rock 




39.0 

15.8 



50.7% 


23.4 


48.9 


22.6 


31.6 


14.6 


61.7 


28.5 



6.74 31.6 6.02 

2.73 74.6 2.78 

5.66 61.7 11.76 

2.29 28.5 5.43 



higher rates of attendance than did their predecessors, the youngest baby- 
boomers, at the same age. But given the smaller size of the Generation X co- 
horts, even if this pattern holds as they mature, it is unlikely to be a sufficient 
reversal to arrest the audience declines that have been observed. 

To be sure, the decline in real numbers has yet to become apparent for 
some art forms: because of the larger numbers in the baby boomer cohorts, 
decreased rates of attendance may still result in more actual attenders. The 
total national box office for some art forms may, in fact, have increased over 
the decade. Since this surge is divided among more arts providers, the effect 
of an enlarged total audience on each art form may be slight. 

More importantly, in a time of general economic stress and budget cuts, 



TABLE 23. Classical Music Attendance and Nonattendance for 


1941 


-45 and 1961-65 Cohorts 


with One or More 


Years of College 






1941-45 


1961-65 


Cohort size 


6.93MM 


10.32MM 


Attendance rate 


31.30% 


1 7.60% 


Audience size 


2.17MH 


1.82MN 


Non-attenders 


4.76MN 


8.50MM 


1945-45 rate: 




31.30% 


Projected audience size at 1941—45 rate: 


3.23MM 


Projected non-attenders at 1941-45 rate: 


7.09MN 



the arts are not necessarily protected because the size of their total audience 
may have increased; the numbers of nonparticipants have also increased. To il- 
lustrate, consider classical music attendance, taking only the better-educated 
subset of the 1941-45 and 1961-65 cohorts, using data from 1992 (see Table 
23). 

For classical music, even if the high attendance rates of the older cohort 
had held firm in the younger one, the numbers of nonattenders would have 
increased 2.33 million, more than the total attenders in the 1941—45 cohort. 
As it is, the increase in nonattenders nearly equals the combined audience 
total of both cohort segments. Multiply this example across the cohorts and 
one sees dimensions of the problem that are not illuminated by a comparison 
of rates of attenders (and their concomitant real numbers). 

The problem of nonattendance is serious for a number of reasons, espe- 
cially because it affects the earned income of arts organizations. Moreover, 
since most arts organizations are nonprofits, they depend on "unearned" sup- 
port from public agencies and foundations as well as from private patrons to 
survive. These patrons are subject to increasing pressure to use their limited 
funds to address social problems such as poverty, drugs, homelessness, AIDS, 
and a host of others. 

Clearly, if the largest segment of the adult population, the baby boomers, 
turns away from providing support, the future for the arts is indeed grim. 18 



Summary 



The data presented and analyzed in Parts I and II of this report disclose a 
mixed pattern of participation: some art forms are faring well, while oth- 
ers are in real decline; some cohorts are active participants, others are tapering 
off. This poses a major challenge, not only to American culture as we have 
known it but also to specific sectors of it. What is to be done? How can in- 
creased numbers of nonparticipants be encouraged, educated, and drawn into 
active participation as arts audiences, especially those from the huge ranks of 
the baby boomers? 

There are no simple solutions, it seems. The benchmark art forms must 
compete more fiercely than ever before for adults' attention, to say nothing of 
the need to increase participation. This calls for innovation and a rethinking 
of reality. Adult Americans are already pressed for what limited leisure time 
they do have by demands from other media and popular culture and from 
life's daily pressures, which may include working longer hours, holding a sec- 
ond job, or having to spend time with children in the household. With baby 
boomers facing so much responsibility and so many distractions, the trend is 
clear: it will not get easier for the arts. As one leading cultural economist de- 
scribed it: "The future of the high arts. ..depends critically upon their ability 
to compete for attention with a popular culture that is powerfully propagated 
by the mass media of radio, television, the movies, and the culture of adver- 
tising and promotion in which they are enmeshed. The weak position of the 
high arts in competition with popular culture is the result of very powerful 
cultural trends that will be difficult to alter." 19 

One way to address the issue of adult participation in the arts, now and in 
the future, is to continue to both track and inventory attendance figures as 
was done with the 1982, 1985, and 1992 Surveys of Public Participation in 
the Arts. But more can be done to build on the information collected in these 
and future SPPAs so that presenters, practitioners, and concerned lay public 
fully understand why certain core art forms are increasing in appeal while oth- 
ers are not. To be sure, the aggregated data analyzed herein are vitally impor- 
tant. However, the longitudinal research of the NEA and Bureau of the Cen- 
sus could have more impact if augmented by specific surveys about each of the 
core art forms and through local investigations. Tracking audience demo- 
graphics at the community level, as well as conducting qualitative interviews, 
could provide a better handle on the trends and reveal the exact reasons why 
people do or do not participate in particular art forms. Showcasing new 



11 7 



118 I Age and Arts Participation 



approaches that seem to reverse the negative trends would also be helpful. In- 
deed, continued introspection, "keeping our fingers on the pulse" of adult 
participation in the arts, in addition to the already ongoing education and ac- 
tive and innovative solicitation of audiences by arts providers, can serve to 
focus attention and energies on finding solutions to the changing composition 
of arts audiences in America. 



Appendix A 

1992 Survey of Public Participation 
in the Arts 



INTRODUCTION - Now I have some questions about your leisure activities. The Bureau of the 
Census is collecting this information for the National Endowment for the Arts. The survey is 
authorized by Title 20. United States Code, section 954 and Title 13, United States Code, section 
8. Your participation in this interview is voluntary and there are no penalties for not answering 
some or all of the questions. (If PERSONAL INTERVIEW, hand respondent the Privacy Act Statement, 
SPPA13.) i 



The following questions are about YOUR 
activities during the LAST 12 months — 

between 1, 19 , and 

19 



With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances, did YOU go to a live 
jazz performance during the LAST 12 
MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances,) Did you go to a live 
classical music performance such as 
symphony, chamber, or choral music 
during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



£HJ oDNo 
Yes 



About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances,) Did you go to a live 
opera during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances.) Did you go to a live 
musical stage play or an operetta during 
the LAST 12 MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances,) Did you go to a live 
performance of a non-musical stage play 
during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



6. 



7. 



Number of times 



(With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances,) Did you go to a live 
ballet performance during the LAST 12 
MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(With the exception of elementary or high 
school performances.) Did you go to a live 
dance performance other than ballet, such 
as modern, folk, or tap during the LAST 12 
MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
visit an ART museum or gallery? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



(During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
visit an ART fair or festival, or a CRAFT fair 
or festival? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



119 



120 I Age and Arts Participation 



10. 



(During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
visit an historic park or monument, or 
tour buildings, or neighborhoods for their 
historic or design value? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many times did you do 
this during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



1 1 



With the exception of books required for 
work or school, did you read any books 
during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 

oDNo 

Yes - About how many books did you 

read during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of books 



12. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS, I Did you 
read any - 

Read answer categories 



a. Plays? 



I 0? ' I -DNo 2D Yes 



b. Poetry? 



I 02? I iDNo ?DYes 



c. Novels or short stories? I 023 I iDNo 2DYes 



13. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to - 



a. A reading of poetry, 
either live or recorded? 



_2£U iDNo 2D Yes 



b. A reading of novels or 
books either live or 
recorded? 



I 0?s I .DNo 2DYes 



14a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS,) Did you 
watch a jazz performance on television or 
a video (VCR) tape? 

i DNo - Skip to item 14c 

Yes - Was that on TV, VCR. or both? 

2DTV 

sDVCR 

4DBoth 



b. About how many times did you do this in 
the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



Number of times 



c. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to jazz on radio? 



££U . DNo 
aDYes 



d. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS,) Did you 
listen to jazz records, tapes, or compact 
discs? 



■ □No 
2D Yes 



15a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
watch a classical music performance on 
television or a video (VCR) tape? 

"HE!} <DNo - Skip to item 15c 

Yes - Was that on TV, VCR, or both? 

zDTV 
3D VCR 
. D Both 

b. About how many times did you do this (in 
the LAST 12 MONTHS)? 



Number of times 



c. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to classical music on radio? 



iDNo 
?DYes 



d. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to classical music records, tapes or 
compact discs? 



iDNo 
?DYes 



16a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
watch an opera on television or a video 
(VCR) tape? 

034 I >DNo - Skip to item 16c 

Yes - Was that on TV. VCR. or both? 

2DTV 
aDVCR 
• □Both 

b. About how many times did you do this (in 
the LAST 12 MONTHS)? 



Number of times 



c. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS,) Did you 
listen to opera music on radio? 



iDNo 

2D Yes 



d. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to opera music records, tapes, or 
compact discs? 



iDNo 
?□ Yes 



17a. With the exception of movies, did you 

watch a musical stage play or an operetta 
on television or a video (VCR) tape during 
the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



i D No - Skip to item 1 7c 

Yes - Was that on TV, VCR, or both? 

2DTV 
3DVCR 
« D Both 



b. About how many times did you do this (in 
the LAST 12 MONTHS)? 



Number of times 



c. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to a musical stage play or an operetta 
on radio? 



iDNo 
2DYes 



(During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
listen to a musical stage play or an operetta 
on records, tapes, or compact discs? 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



Page 2 



JO«M SPPA 111 9 9?i 



1992 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts I 121 



18a. With the exception of movies, situation 
comedies, or TV series, did you watch a 
non-musical stage play on television or a video 
(VCR) tape during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



1DN0- Skip to item 18c 
Yes -Was that on TV. 

sDTV 
aDVCR 
4 □ Both 



VCR. or both? 



b. About how many times did you do this (in the 
LAST 12 MONTHS)? 



Number of times 



c. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you listen 
to a radio performance of a non-musical stage 
play? 



2HJ 'DNo 
zDYes 



19a. With the exception of music videos, did you 
watch on television or a video (VCR) tape 
dance such as ballet, modern, folk, or tap 
during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



i □ No - Skip to item 20a 
Yes -Was that on TV, 
?DTV 
sDvCR 
4 □ Both 



VCR, or both? 



About how many times did you do this (in 
the LAST 12 MONTHS)? 



Number of times 



20a 



(During trie LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you watch 
a program about artists, art works, or art 
museums on television or a video (VCR) tape? 

iDNo- Skip to item 21a 

Yes - Was that on TV, VCR, or both? 

2DTV 
3D VCR 
4 D Both 



22a. The following questions are about your 
participation in other leisure activities. 

Approximately how many hours of television 
do you watch on an average day? 



Number of hours 



b. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did YOU go 
out to the movies? 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



c. With the exception of youth sports, did you 
go to any amateur or professional sports 
events during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



iDNo 

zD Yes 



d. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you go to 
an amusement or theme park, a carnival, or 
a similar place of entertainment? 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



e. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you jog. 
lift weights, walk, or participate in any other 
exercise program? 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



f. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you 
participate in any sports activity, such as 
Softball, basketball, golf, bowling, skiing, or 
tennis? 



tDNo 
2D Yes 



g. Did you participate in any outdoor activities, 
such as camping, hiking, or canoeing during 
the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



. About how many times did you do this (in 
the LAST 12 MONTHS)? 



Number of times 



21a. I'm going to read a list of events that some 

people like to attend. If you could go to any of 
these events as often as you wanted, which 
ones would you go to MORE OFTEN than you 
do now? I'll read the list. Go to - 

Mark IX) all that apply. 



Jazz music performances 
;ZCIassical music performances 
3 Zi Operas 

Musical plays or operettas 
5 D Non-musical plays 

Ballet performances 

Dance performances other than ballet 

Art museums or galleries 
9 D None of these - Skip to item 22a 



If only one is chosen, skip to item 22a. 
If more than one is chosen, ask - 

b. Which of these would you like to do most? 



Category number 
ooDNo one thing most 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



h. Did you do volunteer or charity work during 
the LAST 12 MONTHS? 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



Did you make repairs or improvements on 
your own home during the LAST 12 

MONTHS? 



iDNo 
2D Yes 



Did you work with indoor plants or do any 
gardening for pleasure during the LAST 12 
MONTHS? 



1DN0 
2D Yes 



23a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS,) Did you work 
with pottery, ceramics, jewelry, or do any 
leatherwork or metalwork? 



iDNo- 

-HYes 



Skip to item 24a 



b. Did you publicly display any of your works? 



25Li iDNo 
2DYes 



*OBM SPPA 2 (4-9-92) 



Page 3 



122 I Age and Arts Participation 



24s. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you do 
any weaving, crocheting, quilting, 
needlepoint, or sewing? 

067 I i DNo - Skip to item 25a 
2D Yes 


30b. Did you play any jazz in a public performance 
or rehearse for a public performance? 

Z°*D -DNo 
2DYes 


31a. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you play 
any classical music? 


b. Did you publicly display any of your works? 


_25fJ .DNo 
zDYes 


081 1 1 D No - Skip to item 32a 


2DYes 


25a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you 
make photographs, movies, or video tapes 
as an artistic activity? 


b. Did you play classical music in a public 
performance or rehearse for a public 
performance? 

°* ; 1 .DNo 
2D Yes 


069 I i D No - Skip to item 26a 


2D Yes 


b. Did you publicly display any of your works? 


32a. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you sing any 
music from an opera? 

°" 3 1 1 D No - Skip to item 33a 


°'° 1 ,riNo 


zDYes 


2DYes 


26a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you do 
any painting, drawing, sculpture, or 
printmaking activities? 


b. Did you sing in a public opera performance 
or rehearse for a public performance? 


<»« 1 >riNn 


07 ' 1 iDNo- Skip to item 27a 


2DYes 


2D Yes 


33a. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you sing 
music from a musical play or operetta? 


b. Did you publicly display any of your works? 


o" 1 ,riN 


095 1 1 D No - Skip to item 33c 
2D Yes 


2D Yes 


27a. With the exception of work or school, did you 
do any creative writing such as stories, poems, 
or plays during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 

073 I 1DN0 - Skip to item 28a 
2DYes 


b. Did you sing in a public performance of a 
musical play or operetta or rehearse for a 
public performance? 


0S6 | 


1DN0 
2DYes 


b. Were any of your writings published? 


c. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you sing in 
a public performance with a chorale, choir, 
or glee club or other type of vocal group, or 
rehearse for a public performance? 


7 ' I ,riNo 


2DYes 


_2SlJ .DNo 
2DYes 


28a. Did you write or compose any music during 
the LAST 12 MONTHS? 


075 1 1ON0- Skip to item 29a 
2DYes 


34. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you act in a 
public performance of a non-musical play or 
rehearse for a public performance? 


b. Was your musical composition played in a 
public performance or rehearsed for a public 
performance? 


08» I ,nNn 


2D Yes 


° 7 <* 1 ,riNn 


35a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you dance 
any ballet? 


2DYes 


089 I . D No - Skip to item 36a 


29a. Do you own any original pieces of art, such 
as paintings, drawings, sculpture, prints, or 
lithographs? 


2D Yes 


b. Did you dance ballet in a public performance 
or rehearse for a public performance? 


077 1 1 D No - Skip to item 30a 
2D Yes 


090 1 .DNo 
2D Yes 


b. Did you purchase or acquire any of these 
pieces during the LAST 12 MONTHS? 

~™1 ,riNn 


36a. (During the LAST 12 MONTHS.) Did you do any 
dancing other than ballet such as modern, folk, 
or tap? 


2DYes 


091 1 . D No - Skip to item 37a 
2D Yes 


30a. During the LAST 12 MONTHS, did you 
perform or rehearse any jazz music? 

079 1 1 D No - Skip to item 31a 
2DYes 


b. Did you dance modern, folk, or tap in a 
public performance? 

jED .dno 

2DYes 



Page 4 



FORM SPPA 2 I4»«?l 



1992 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts I 123 



37a. I'm going to road a list of some typos of 
music. As I road the list, tell me which of 
these types of music you like to listen to? 

Mark (XI all thai appi\ 



Classical/Chamber music 
JlJ Opera 

Operetta/Broadway musicals/Show tunes 
Jazz 

Reggae (Reg gay ) 
Rap music 
?DSoul 

p Blues/Rhythm and blues 
9 □ Latin/Spanish/Salsa 
icCBig band 

ii D Parade/Marching band 
i? □ Country -we stern 
[ oDBIuegrass 
i4DRock 

15 D The music of a particular Ethnic/ 
National tradition 
I Contemporary folk music 

Mood Easy listening 
New age music 
Choral Glee club 
20 Q Hymns/Gospel 

2iDaii 

22 D None/Don't like to listen to music - Skip to item 38a 



b. If only one category is marked in 37a, enter code in 
37b without asking Which of these do you like 
best? 



Category number 



ooD No one type best 



38a. Have you EVER taken lessons or classes in 
music - either voice training or playing an 
instrument? 



J i □ No - Skip to item 39a 
2D Yes 



b. Did you take these lessons when you were 

Read categories. IDo not read category 4 if 
respondent is under 25 years old.) 
Mark (X) all that apply. 



1 □ Less than 12 years old 
2D 12-1 7 years old 
3D 18-24 years old 
25 or older 



CHECK 
ITEM A 



Refer to Item 38b 
Is box 1 or 2 marked in item 38b' 
DNo - Skip to Check Hem B 
DYes - Ask item 38c 



38c. Were these lessons or classes offered by the 
elementary or high school you were 
attending or did you take these lessons 
elsewhere? 



1 D Elementary/high school 
2D Elsewhere 
3D Both 



CHECK 
ITEM B 



38d.Did you take any of these lessons or 
classes in the past year? 



!U 1DN0 
2 DYes 

FORM SPPA 2 14 9 921 



39a. (Have you EVER taken lessons or 

classes) in visual arts such as sculpture, 
painting, print making, photography, or 
film making? 



1 G No - Skip to item 40a 
2DYes 



b. Did you take these lessons when you were 

Read categories IDo not read category 4 it 
respondent is under 25 years old I 
Mark IXI all that apply 



1 D Less than 12 years old 
2D 12-1 7 years old 
3D 18-24 years old 
1 25 or older 



CHECK 

ITEMC 



Refer to item 39b 
Is box 1 or 2 marked in item 39b' 
DNo - Skip to Check Item D 
DYes - Ask item 39c 



39c. Were these lessons or classes offered by the 
elementary or high school you were 
attending or did you take these lessons 
elsewhere? 



1 D Elementary/high school 
2D Elsewhere 
3D Both 



CHECK 
ITEMD 



Refer to item 39b 

If box 4 is marked in item 39b, ASK item 39d 

If not - Is box 2 or 3 marked in item 39b AND 
the respondent is under 25 years old? 

DNo - Skip to item 40a 
DYes - Ask item 39d 



39d Did you take any of these lessons or classes 
in the past year? 



1DN0 
2 DYes 



40a. (Have you EVER taken lessons or classes) in 
acting or theater? 



108 I 1 D No - Skip to item 4 1a 
2 DYes 



b. Did you take these lessons when you were 

Read categories. IDo not read category 4 if 
respondent is under 25 years old.) 
Mark (X) all that apply. 



1 D Less than 12 years old 
2D 12-1 7 years old 
3D 18-24 years old 
25 or older 



Refer to item 38b 

If box 4 is marked in item 38b, ASK item 38d. 

If not - Is box 2 or 3 marked in item 38b AND 
the respondent is under 25 years old? 

D No - Skip to item 39a 
DYes - Ask item 38d 



CHECK 
ITEME 



Refer to item 40b 
Is box 1 or 2 marked in item 40b? 
DNo - Skip to Check Item F 
D Yes - Ask item 40c 



40c. Were these lessons or classes offered by the 
elementary or high school you were 
attending or did you take these lessons 
elsewhere? 



1D Elementary/high school 
2D Elsewhere 
3D Both 



Page 5 



124 



Age and Arts Participation 




Refer to item 40b 

!"»« « » m„k, i„ „,„ „„ . ASK ,,,,„, 400 

ONo- Skip to item 4 1a 
UYes - Ask item 40d 



^fC^Sp 7 ^ 11 ^^^;^; 



attending or did vou ok. ,VL ■ 
elsewhere? e ,hese la s»ons 

'D Elementary/high school 

2 U Elsewhere 

sDBoth 



'□No 
?ClYes 




CHECK 
ITEM J 



41a 



-□No -Skip to item 42a 
2 DYes 




Refer to item 42b 

Ifkoxitmaitod In HwUfcASK tan, <*, 

□ No-S>t/pto/tem43a 

□ Yes - Ask item 42d 



^£°^^ 



'□Less than 12 years old 
2^12-17 years old 
3D 18-24 years old 
25 or older 



43i ^^^^^^^^^r 



'□No- Skip to item 44a 
2D Yes 




CHECK 
ITEMG 



Refer to item 41b 

Is box 1 or 2 marked m, tern 41b? 
□ No -Skip to Check Item H 
UYes - Ask item 41c 



attending or d id vou tab* ,lZ ■ 
elsewhere? e ,hese '"sons 

'□Elementary/high school 

2UElsewhere 

3DBoth 




□ Less than 12 years old 
2U12-17 years old 
3D 18-24 years old 
4 □ 25 or older 




CHECK 
ITEM K 



Refer to item 41b 

'"»« «*"»'»« in torn «Ib. ASK n. m4M 

□ No -Skip to item 42a 

□ Yes- Ask item 41 d 



A ^?^^^^^^^i^ 



33 



'□No 
jQYes 



or tap? oanet such as modern, folk 



TjT] 



□ No - Skip to item 43a 
2D Yes 



'DLess than 12 year, old 
2l_12-17 years old 

3 □ 18-24 years old 
' D 25 or older 




Refer to item 43b 

Is box 1 or 2 marked in item 43b' 

HNo - Skip to Check Item L 
UYes - Ask item 43c 



attending or d d vou tab* til. ■ 
elsewhere? these ,e »sons 

'D Elementary/high school 
2 U Elsewhere 
3D Both 



Refer to item 43b 

" box 4 is marked in item 43b. ASK „em 43d 

□ No - Skip to item 44a 
DYes - Ask item 43d 



t^ ^^^^^^^^^^ 



CHECK 

ITEM I 



Refer to item 42b 

's box 1 or 2 marked in item 42b' 

° No - Sk 'P to Check Item J 
UYes - Ask item 42c 



Page 6 




44a. (Have you EVER t»u» n ■ ■ 7". 

appreciation %£&£%}••> '" ■« 

'ONo- Skip to, tern 45a 
2 DYes 

•DLess than 12 years old 
2D 12-1 7 years old 
3 D 18-24 years old 
< D 25 or older 



FORM SWA J |«.| , 2 , 



i 
i 
i 
i 
i 

[i 
u 

ri 



1992 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts I 125 



CHECK 

ITEM M 



Refer to item 44b 

Is box 1 or 2 marked in item 44b 7 

□ No - Skip to Check Item N 



□ Yes - Ask item 44c 



44c. Was this class offered by the elementary or 
high school you were attending or did you 
take this class elsewhere? 

' 2e I i □Elementary high school 
2CEIsewhere 
3D Both 



CHECK 

ITEMN 



Refer to item 44b 

If box 4 is marked in item 44b, ASK item 44d 

If not - Is box 2 or 3 marked in item 44b AND 
the respondent is under 25 years old' 

□ No - Skip lo item 45a 

□ Yes- Ask item 44d 



44d.Did you take any of these lessons or classes 
in the past year? 



iQNo 
zOYes 



45a. (Have you EVER taken a class) in music 
appreciation? 



lED i □ No - Skip to item 46a 
zQYes 



b. Did you take this class when you were - 

Read categories (Do not read category 4 if 
respondent is under 25 years old I 
Mark (X) all that apply. 



4Di 



i □ Less than 1 2 years old 
?D12-17 years old 

18-24 years old 

25 or older 



Refer to item 45b 

Is box 1 or 2 marked in item 45b' 

□ No - Skip to Check Item P 

□ Yes - Ask item 45c 



Notes 



45c. Was this class offered by the elementary or 
high school you were attending or did you 
take this class elsewhere? 



i □Elementary/high school 

jQEIsewhere 

3D Both 



CHECK 
ITEMP 



Refer to item 45b 

If box 4 is marked in item 45b, ASK item 45d. 

If not - Is box 2 or 3 marked in item 45b AND 
the respondent is under 25 years old? 

□ No - Skip to item 46a 

□ Yes - Ask item 45d 



45d Did you take this class in the past year? 



■ □No 
2D Yes 



46a. What is the highest grade (or year) of regular 
school your FATHER completed? 



I3S 1 01 □ 7th grade or less 
02 □ 8th grade 
03d9th— 1 1th grades 
04Dl2th grade 

os □ College (did not complete) 
06DCompleted college (4+ years) 
o?DPost graduate degree (MA. Ph D . M.D., J.D.. etc ) 
os □ Don't know 



b. What is the highest grade (or year) of regular 
school your MOTHER completed? 



133 I oi □ 7th grade or less 
02 □ 8th grade 
03D9th-11th grades 
04 D1 2th grade 

osDCollege (did not complete) 
06DCompleted college (4+ years) 
07DPost graduate degree (M.A., Ph.D.. M D . J D.. etc.) 
os □ Don't know 



CHECK 
ITEMQ 



Is this the LAST household member to be 
interviewed? 

□ No - Go back to the NCS- 1 and interview the 

next eligible NCS household member 

□ Yes - END INTERVIEW 



fOOMSePA 1 (2 9 921 



Page 7 



Appendix B 
Additional Tables 



TABLE B-1. 


Arts Participation by Age Cohort and Survey Year 


Age 




















Cohort 


SPPA 


Total 


Classical 


jazz 


Opera 


Musicals 


Ballet 


Theater 


Museum 


Pre-1916 


'82 


21,772,920 






Percent 


Pa r 1 i c i pa 


ting 






9.7 


1.8 


2.8 


11.5 


2.4 


7.8 


11.7 




'92 


9,817,724 


6.8 


1.6 


1.8 


7.9 


2.1 


5.2 


8.3 


1916-20 


'82 


9,625,404 


11.4 


3.5 


2.8 


16.5 


3.3 


10.6 


16.0 




'92 


8,694,448 


14.9 


3.7 


4.2 


13.4 


3.5 


10.6 


17.8 


1921-25 


'82 


12,403,668 


13.3 


4.9 


4.2 


20.0 


4.1 


11.3 


19.9 




'92 


10,357,480 


13.9 


5.2 


3.2 


17.7 


4.8 


14.9 


20.4 


1926-30 


'82 


12,393,816 


13.7 


5.3 


3.7 


19.6 


4.0 


13.9 


20.3 




'92 


11,305,700 


13.4 


8.4 


4.1 


20.1 


4.1 


15.0 


22.8 


1931-35 


'82 


12,216,480 


15.5 


7.8 


4.2 


22.6 


3.9 


14.6 


21.4 




'92 


11,845,456 


14.9 


7.5 


4.4 


18.5 


5.7 


15.6 


25.7 


1936^0 


'82 


12,433,224 


16.5 


7.7 


4.6 


20.9 


5.0 


12.7 


25.5 




'92 


12,283,096 


15.4 


8.2 


4.3 


22.1 


5.2 


14.3 


26.7 


1941-45 


'82 


14,600,664 


17.4 


7.6 


3.2 


24.4 


6.2 


15.8 


26.9 




'92 


14,529,648 


18.4 


10.6 


4.5 


22.2 


4.6 


18.0 


28.1 


1 946-50 


'82 


18,580,872 


14.8 


10.3 


3.0 


21.6 


6.0 


15.1 


28.4 




'92 


16,965,844 


15.6 


11.7 


4.2 


22.1 


5.3 


16.1 


31.3 


1951-55 


'82 


19,112,880 


12.7 


13.7 


2.8 


19.6 


4.8 


10.9 


25.5 




'92 


20,700,372 


12.5 


13.1 


3.0 


18.0 


5.1 


14.3 


31.0 


1956-60 


'82 


21,171,948 


11.9 


17.2 


2.4 


17.9 


4.5 


11.5 


25.1 




'92 


22,450,932 


10.9 


13.1 


3.6 


18.9 


6.1 


12.7 


28.8 


1961-65 


'82 


15,536,604 


11.1 


18.0 


1.8 


15.7 


3.7 


10.9 


21.6 




'92 


19,956,384 


9.9 


12.9 


2.5 


14.5 


4.8 


12.4 


29.2 


1966-70 


'92 


15,740,452 


10.7 


15.1 


2.8 


16.5 


4.4 


12.5 


30.0 


1971 + 


'92 


11,028,528 


8.6 


9.5 


2.4 


15.1 


5.3 


12.3 


26.5 



Appendix B I 127 



TABLE B-2. Arts Participation Rates 


(Average of 1 982 and 






1992) by Age Cohort and Ed 


jcational Level 




Age 


Educational 
















Cohort 


Level 


Classical 


Jazz 


Opera 


Musicals 


Ballet 


Theater Museum 


Pre-1916 


High school/less 


5.3 


1.1 


1.6 


6.9 


1.6 


4.2 


6.3 




College/more 


23.0 


42 


6.1 


24.0 


4.9 


18.0 


28.0 


1916-20 


High school/less 


6.7 


1.5 


1.8 


10.0 


1.2 


6.3 


9.6 




College/more 


33.0 


10.0 


8.7 


31.0 


11.0 


24.0 


40.0 


1921-25 


High school/less 


7.0 


3.1 


1.9 


13.0 


2.7 


8.3 


12.0 




College/more 


30.0 


10.0 


8.6 


33.0 


8.7 


25.0 


41.0 


1926-30 


High school/less 


7.4 


4.0 


1.8 


13.0 


2.1 


8.6 


13.0 




College/more 


28.0 


13.0 


8.8 


34.0 


8.4 


28.0 


40.0 


1931-35 


High school/less 


6.5 


4.1 


1.5 


12.0 


1.9 


7.4 


12.0 




College/more 


31.0 


14.0 


9.4 


36.0 


9.8 


29.0 


43.0 


1936-40 


High school/less 


6.0 


3.8 


1.6 


11.0 


2.3 


5.4 


14.0 




College/more 


32.0 


15.0 


9.0 


38.0 


9.7 


26.0 


45.0 


1941-45 


High school/less 


6.6 


3.3 


1.5 


12.0 


1.5 


7.6 


12.0 




College/more 


31.0 


16.0 


6.7 


37.0 


10.0 


28.0 


46.0 


1 946-50 


High school/less 


6.0 


4.8 


1.2 


10.0 


2.2 


6.6 


13.0 




College/more 


24.0 


17.0 


5.7 


32.0 


8.9 


24.0 


45.0 


1951-55 


High school/less 


4.7 


6.2 


0.8 


8.6 


2.2 


4.1 


13.0 




College/more 


20.0 


20.0 


4.8 


28.0 


7.5 


20.0 


42.0 


1956-60 


High school/less 


4.3 


8.0 


0.9 


8.6 


1.9 


4.2 


13.0 




College/more 


18.0 


22.0 


5.1 


28.0 


8.7 


20.0 


41.0 


1961-65 


High school/less 


4.5 


8.7 


1.0 


7.4 


1.3 


4.8 


13.0 




College/more 


18.0 


23.0 


3.5 


24.0 


7.9 


20.0 


41.0 


1966-70 


High school/less 


2.2 


6.1 


1.0 


8.1 


1.8 


3.7 


13.0 




College/more 


18.0 


23.0 


4.3 


24.0 


6.6 


20.0 


44.0 


1971 + 


High school/less 


3.4 


6.2 


2.1 


10.0 


2.3 


6.2 


18.0 




College/more 


16.0 


14.0 


2.8 


22.0 


9.4 


21.0 


38.0 



128 I Age and Arts Participation 



TABLE B-3. Arts 


Participation Rates 


(Average of 1 982 and 






1992) by Age Cohort and Annual Family 


Income 


Age 


















Cohort 


Income 


Classical 


Jazz 


Opera 


Musicals 


Ballet 


Theater 


Museum 


Pre-1916 


< $30,000 


6.0 


1.0 


1.0 


6.6 


1.8 


3.5 


5.6 




$30,000+ 


8.7 


5.4 


6.5 


15.2 


3.3 


13.0 


21.7 


1916-20 


< $30,000 


11.3 


2.4 


3.5 


11.8 


2.1 


8.3 


12.5 




$30,000+ 


28.7 


7.4 


7.4 


18.9 


9.0 


19.7 


36.1 


1921-25 


< $30,000 


10.1 


5.1 


2.1 


14.0 


4.3 


13.1 


14.8 




$30,000+ 


25.7 


6.6 


5.9 


27.6 


7.2 


19.1 


37.5 


1926-30 


< $30,000 


8.4 


5.3 


1.9 


14.0 


1.6 


10.2 


14.9 




$30,000+ 


19.6 


13.6 


7.5 


29.1 


6.8 


20.8 


36.2 


1931-35 


< $30,000 


7.8 


4.5 


2.8 


11.2 


2.5 


8.7 


16.8 




$30,000+ 


22.5 


11.5 


7.0 


27.3 


9.4 


22.7 


34.2 


1936-40 


< $30,000 


5.6 


2.6 


0.7 


10.8 


1.6 


5.9 


12.8 




$30,000+ 


23.1 


11.9 


6.6 


30.3 


7.3 


19.1 


36.7 


1941-45 


< $30,000 


8.0 


6.0 


0.9 


9.2 


0.9 


6.9 


14.6 




$30,000+ 


24.1 


13.0 


7.1 


29.7 


6.9 


24.5 


34.2 


1946-50 


< $30,000 


9.9 


6.7 


2.4 


11.2 


3.5 


8.5 


19.5 




$30,000+ 


19.0 


14.4 


4.9 


27.7 


6.1 


20.0 


38.1 


1951-55 


< $30,000 


10.2 


9.6 


2.0 


10.0 


2.7 


9.0 


19.0 




$30,000+ 


14.3 


15.5 


3.7 


22.9 


6.9 


17.9 


39.0 


1956-60 


< $30,000 


6.0 


11.0 


1.0 


11.7 


4.0 


7.8 


21.0 




$30,000+ 


15.2 


14.7 


5.6 


24.9 


8.1 


16.3 


35.5 


1961-65 


< $30,000 


6.5 


9.9 


1.5 


8.9 


3.0 


9.6 


21.2 




$30,000+ 


13.5 


16.0 


3.2 


20.8 


6.8 


15.3 


37.8 


1966-70 


< $30,000 


10.1 


12.7 


3.0 


13.6 


3.0 


12.0 


25.8 




$30,000+ 


12.5 


20.3 


2.5 


21.2 


6.4 


13.6 


39.0 


1971 + 


< $30,000 


6.7 


7.8 


1.9 


12.8 


4.3 


11.6 


25.2 




$30,000+ 


12.1 


12.8 


3.9 


18.7 


7.0 


15.2 


28.8 



Appendix B I 129 



TABLE B-4. 


Arts 


Participation 


i Rates 


(Average of 1 982 and 








1992) by Age Cohort and N 


umber of Children 




Age 




Number of 














Cohort 




Children 


Classical 


|azz 


Opera 


Musicals 


Ballet 


Theater 


Museum 


Pre-1916 



1 
2 




8.9 


1.7 


2.4 


10.0 


2.2 


6.8 


11.0 


1916- 


-20 


13.0 


3.6 


3.3 


15.0 


3.4 


11.0 


16.0 






1 








33.0 






33.0 






2 


33.0 














1921- 


-25 





14.0 


4.9 


3.8 


19.0 


4.3 


13.0 


20.0 






1 


9.0 


7.3 


3.6 


15.0 


5.4 


5.4 


24.0 






2 










17.0 


17.0 




1926- 


-30 





13.0 


6.6 


3.8 


20.0 


4.0 


14.0 


21.0 






1 


7.5 


7.5 


1.7 


12.0 


1.7 


6.7 


22.0 






2 








6.5 






6.5 


1931- 


-35 





15.0 


7.8 


4.0 


21.0 


4.9 


15.0 


23.0 






1 


15.0 


4.9 


6.3 


16.0 


1.4 


15.0 


18.0 






2 


6.2 


6.2 




4.1 


4.1 


4.1 


12.0 


1936-40 





16.0 


8.1 


4.6 


21.0 


4.7 


13.0 


25.0 






1 


14.0 


7.3 


2.9 


22.0 


4.6 


12.0 


28.0 






2 


12.0 


3.7 


2.8 


12.0 


7.5 


12.0 


20.0 


1941-45 





18.0 


11.0 


4.1 


22.0 


4.6 


17.0 


27.0 






1 


18.0 


6.1 


3.2 


25.0 


7.9 


18.0 


26.0 






2 


17.0 


6.1 


3.5 


24.0 


5.7 


16.0 


26.0 


1946- 


-50 





16.0 


13.0 


4.0 


23.0 


6.1 


18.0 


31.0 






1 


11.0 


7.9 


2.7 


19.0 


4.2 


12.0 


26.0 






2 


16.0 


8.7 


2.9 


21.0 


6.3 


14.0 


29.0 


1951- 


-55 





16.0 


18.0 


3.8 


22.0 


5.4 


15.0 


33.0 






1 


11.0 


11.0 


2.1 


16.0 


4.5 


11.0 


26.0 






2 


9.2 


7.8 


2.2 


15.0 


4.1 


9.8 


21.0 


1956- 


-60 





14.0 


21.0 


3.9 


22.0 


6.4 


16.0 


32.0 






1 


8.4 


8.5 


1.6 


12.0 


2.7 


6.0 


21.0 






2 


7.7 


9.2 


2.2 


17.0 


4.9 


9.6 


21.0 


1961- 


-65 





13.0 


19.0 


2.7 


18.0 


4.9 


14.0 


29.0 






I 


6.3 


8.9 


2.0 


10.0 


3.3 


8.1 


20.0 






2 


4.2 


6.7 


0.7 


6.7 


2.6 


7.1 


20.0 


1966- 


-70 





14.0 


19.0 


3.2 


20.0 


5.0 


15.0 


36.0 






1 


2.5 


8.7 


1.2 


12.0 


2.5 


5.6 


20.0 






2 


2.6 


5.2 




5.8 




3.9 


9.7 


1971 


{- 





9.7 


11.0 


2.2 


16.0 


5.6 


14.0 


28.0 






1 






1.7 


6.7 


1.7 


5.0 


12.0 






2 




4.8 










9.5 



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Notes 



1. This section is taken from Robinson's NEA Report No. 27, Arts Participation in 
America: 1982—1992. For more information on the survey methodology and 
questionnaire used, see this report. 

2. "Significance" generally refers to the differences between numbers. "Substantive 
significance" refers to a difference between numbers that is judged to be impor- 
tant in their consequences. Since questions of substantive importance are gener- 
ally left to the reader, "significant" here more often refers to "statistical" signifi- 
cance, and when the term "significance" without the protection of an adjective 
is used, it means statistical significance. Statistical significance is measured math- 
ematically and shows how many times in sampling a population a hundred times 
one would find two measures as different as the two being compared. "Signifi- 
cance at the .05 level" means that numbers as different as those being observed 
would occur by chance in 5 of 100 samples of a population. "Significance at the 
.001 level" means that numbers as different as those being observed would occur 
by chance in 1 in 100 samples of a population. So that the reader can make an 
independent judgment, the significance levels are often presented in the tables, 
but when the word "significant" is used in the text, it means the numbers are sta- 
tistically different from each other at the .05 level of confidence at least. This is 
the conventionally accepted level of confidence, though there are instances 
where a higher or lower level of confidence is appropriate. 

3. Standardized estimates are interpreted as effects of a standard deviation change 
in an independent variable on the participation scale, measured in terms of stan- 
dard deviation increases or decreases in the dependent variable (the participation 
scale). Because of the requirements of the regression statistic, the independent 
variables which represent categories are compared to an omitted category; for in- 
stance, females are compared to males, blacks and nonwhites are compared to 
Anglos, 17- to 26- and 27- to 36-year-olds are compared to 37- to 46-year-olds. 

4. See Paul DiMaggio and Francie Ostrower, Race, Ethnicity, and Participation in 
the Arts, 1992, for more details on nonwhite arts participation. 

5. Classical music and opera are selected because they are the most likely art forms 
to be presented by radio; musicals and plays are not. Ballet music is sometimes 
aired on radio but only as a part of the mix of classical music. Jazz, of course, is 
often presented by radio and on records, but it is not analyzed here because its 
audience is robust and young, so the issue of the media substitution of radio for 
live performance among older cohorts is of less concern. 

6. The NEA budget increased by ten times between 1970 and 1985; those of state 
and local arts agencies tripled. Corporate and foundation funding increased in 
like amounts, as did the number of people employed, directly or indirectly, in 



134 



Notes I 1 35 



the arts. For documentation of these facts, see Cherbo (1992) and Langley & 
Abruzzo (1986). 

7. See Landon Y. Jones, Great Expectations, 1980, and Wanda Urganska, The Sin- 
gular Generation: Young Americans in the 1980s, 1986. 

8. See Francine Klagsbrun, Mixed Feelings: Love, Hate, Rivalry and Reconciliation 
Among Brothers and Sisters, 1 992. 

9. See Andrew Hacker, U.S.: A Statistical Portrait of the American People, 1983, 
243. 

0. See Philip S. Ennis, The Seventh Stream: The Emergence of Rock-n-Roll in Ameri- 

can Popular Music, 1993. 

1. See Barbara Y. Newsom and Adcle Z. Silver, Art Museum as Educator: A Collec- 
tion of Studies as Guides to Practice and Policy, 1978. 

2. Baby boomers may be going to commercial art galleries more than they go to 
museums, just as they may go to commercial music venues rather than to non- 
profit presenters of classical music. However, given the wording of the SPPA 
questions, there is no way to determine if this is the case. 

13. A study of tourism in the New York metropolitan area, for example, demon- 
strated that over 40 percent of international tourists attended art museums and 
galleries during their visit, while barely 30 percent attended performing arts 
events. 

14. NEA Division Note #40 indicates that in the 1970s the number of professional 
artists, as derived from census occupational data, increased over 47 percent. In 
the 1980s it increased by another 54 percent. Numerically, the total number of 
artists rose from 736,960 in 1970, to 1,085,693 in 1980, and to 1,617,278 in 
1990, by which year they comprised 1.37 percent of the total civilian labor force 
(NEA, 1993). These figures do not include the managerial and other personnel 
employed by arts organizations, as discussed by Langley and Abruzzo (1986). 

15. See Hacker, U.S.: A Statistical Portrait. 

16. See Katherine S. Newman, Declining Fortunes: The Withering of the American 
Dream, 1993. 

17. Bourdieu's (1984) perspective has been applied to American arts audiences by 
DiMaggio and Useem (1978). For a different version of the relation of social 
class and artistic taste, see Gans (1985). 

18. Judith H. Balfe, "The Baby-boom Generation: Lost Patrons, Lost Audience?" in 

The Cost of Culture: Patterns and Prospects of Private Art Patronage (Wyszomirski 
andClubb, 1989: 9-26). 

19. See James Heilbrun, Journal of Cultural Economics, 1993, 89-90. 



Bibliography 



Andreasen, Alan R. (1990). Expanding the Audience for the Performing Arts. 
Research Division Report No. 24. Washington, DC: National Endow- 
ment for the Arts. 

Balfe, Judith H. (1989). "The Baby-boom Generation: Lost Patrons, Lost 
Audience?" In The Cost of Culture: Patterns and Prospects of Private Art Pa- 
tronage. Margaret J. Wyszomirski and Pat Clubb, eds. New York: Ameri- 
can Council of the Arts. 

Bourdieu, Pierre. (1984). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of 
Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 

Cherbo, Joni M. (1992). "A Department of Cultural Resources: A Perspective 
on the Arts." Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, 22(1): 44-63. 

DiMaggio, Paul and Francie Ostrower. (1992). Race, Ethnicity, and Participa- 
tion in the Arts. Research Division Report No. 25. Washington, DC: Na- 
tional Endowment for the Arts. 

DiMaggio, Paul and Michael Useem. (1978). "Social Class and Art Con- 
sumption." Theory and Society, Vol. 5: 141-161. 

Ennis, Philip S. (1993). The Seventh Stream: The Emergence of Rock-n-Roll in 
American Popular Music. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press of 
New England. 

Esterlin, Richard A. (1987). Birth and Fortune, 2d ed. Chicago, IL: 
University of Chicago Press. 

Gans, Herbert. (1985). "American Popular Culture and High Culture in a 
Changing Class Structure." In Art Ideology & Politics. Judith H. Balfe and 
Margaret J. Wyszomirski, eds. New York: Praeger, 40-58. 

Hacker, Andrew. (1983). U.S.: A Statistical Portrait of the American People. 
New York: Viking Books. 



136 



Bibliography I 137 



Hcilbrun, James. (1993). "Innovation in Art, Innovation in Technology, and 
the Future of the High Arts." Journal of Cultural Economics, 17(1): 
89-98. 

fones, Landon Y. (1980). Great Expectations. New York: Random House. 

Klagsbrun, Francine. (1992). Mixed Feelings: Love, Hate, Rivalry and Reconcil- 
iation Among Brothers and Sisters. New York: Bantam Books. 

Langley, Stephen and James Abruzzo. ( 1 986). Jobs in Arts and Media Manage- 
ment: What They Are and How to Get One! 'New York: Drama Book Pub- 
lishers. 

NEA, (1993). Division Note #40. Washington, DC: National Endowment 
for the Arts. 

Newman, Katherine S. (1993). Declining Fortunes: The Withering of the Amer- 
ican Dream. New York: Basic Books. 

Newsom, Barbara Y. and Adele Z. Silver, eds. (1978). Art Museum as Educa- 
tor: A Collection of Studies as Guides to Practice and Policy. Berkeley, 
CA: University of California Press. 

Peterson, Richard A. (1992). "The Battle for Classical Music in the Air." In 
Paying the Piper: Causes and Consequences of Arts. Judith H. Balfe, ed. Ur- 
bana, IL: University of Illinois Press: 271-286. 

Port Authority of New York. (1994). Tourism and the Arts in the New 
York/ New Jersey Region, Part II. New York: Port Authority of New York, 
Alliance for the Arts, New York City Partnership and the New Jersey 
Partnership. 

Robinson, John. (1993). Arts Participation in America: 1982-1992. Research 
Division Report No. 27. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the 
Arts. 

Urbanska, Wanda. (1986). The Singular Generation: Young Americans in the 
1980s. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. 

Zeigler, Joseph W. (1994). Arts in Crisis: The National Endowment for the Arts 
versus America. New York: A Cappella Books. 



About the Authors 



Part I: 

Richard A. Peterson is a Professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University. He 
has written widely on the production and consumption of culture. Among 
other topics, these works focus on types of music ranging from jazz and clas- 
sical music to country music and disco. Peterson was the Founding Chair of 
the Culture Section of the American Sociological Association. He has con- 
sulted with National Public Radio and the National Endowment for the Hu- 
manities since the 1970s. While at the Endowment in 1980, he helped to for- 
mulate the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. More recently he helped 
to construct the "Culture Module" for the General Social Survey of the Na- 
tional Science Foundation. 

Darren E. Sherkat is Assistant Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies at 
Vanderbilt University. His research focuses on cultural consumption, and 
most of his previous substantive work deals with religious affiliation and at- 
tendance. His work on quantitative methods explores new ways of analyzing 
binary and polytomous choices. Sherkat is a consulting editor for American 
Journal of Sociology, and his recent articles appear in the American Sociological 
Review, Social Forces, Social Science Research, and other journals. 

Part II: 

Judith Huggins Balfe is Associate Professor of Sociology at the City University 
of New York, College of Staten Island and Graduate Center. She has edited 
and contributed to three books on the sociology of the arts, most recently, 
Paying the Piper: Causes and Consequences of Art Patronage (University of Illi- 
nois Press, 1993) and published many articles in the field. She has three times 
chaired or co-chaired the International Conference on Social Theory, Politics 
and the Arts, and serves as Executive Editor of The Journal of Arts Manage- 
ment, Law and Society. 

Rolf Meyersohn retired last year as Professor of Sociology at Lehman College 
and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has written 
extensively on the sociology of leisure, cultural studies, popular culture, mass 
communication and, most recently, the sociology of music. He coedited Mass 



138 



About the Authors I 1 39 



Leisure, Die Soziologie der Freizeit and the 14-volume Literary Taste, Culture 
and Mass Communication. For his 1990 study "Culture in the Bronx: Minor- 
ity Participation in the Arts" (in Pankratz and Morris, The Future of the Arts), 
he adapted questions from the 1982 and 1985 SPPA. He is currently engaged 
in a survey of the users and non-users of New York City's Central Park, as well 
as an examination of the sociological strains in Theodor Adorono's musical 
writings in the 1920s. 

Editor: 

Erin Lehman is a research coordinator in the Psychology Department of 
Harvard University. She holds a bachelors degree in economics from Wellesley 
College and joined the staff of Harvard in 1986. Erin was the primary field 
researcher for the U.S. and U.K. portions of the cross-national study of 
"Leadership and Mobility in Symphony Orchestras." She has authored several 
papers based on this comparative research and is working towards her doc- 
torate in organizational psychology at City University, London, with a focus 
on exploring alternative organizational models such as the London Symphony 
Orchestra and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. 



Other Reports on Arts Participation 



The most recent nationwide survey of arts participation was conducted in 
1992. The following publications report on various aspects of the 1992 
Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. 

Public Participation in the Arts: 1982 and 1992, Research Division Note #50. 
A 10-page summary comparing the results of the 1982 and 1992 surveys. 

Arts Participation in America: 1982—1992, Research Division Report #27. A 
more detailed discussion (100 pp) of the 1982 and 1992 surveys. 

Research Division Notes #51, #52, and #55 provide brief summaries of data 
on demographic information for the live broadcast and recorded media audi- 
ences and on regional and metropolitan audiences. Division notes and Report 
#27 are available from The Research Division, National Endowment for the 
Arts, 1 100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20506. 

The Research Division of the Arts Endowment has been studying trends in 
the size and characteristics of arts audiences for two decades. A complete de- 
scription of the Division's work in this area through the most recent nation- 
wide study, Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, 1992, is contained in A 
Practical Guide to Arts Participation Research, Research Division Report #30. 
This report is available through the National Assembly of Local Arts Agencies, 
927 15th Street, NW, 12th Floor, Washington, DC 20005, (202) 371-2830. 



The Division has also funded fifteen monographs that analyzed various as- 
pects of the 1992 and 1982 surveys. Each of these documents, which are listed 
below, are being deposited in the Educational Research Information Center 
(ERIC) system to facilitate distribution. 

Age Factors in Arts Participation, Richard A. Peterson and Darren E. Sherkat 

American Dance 1992: Who's Watching? Who's Dancing? Jack Lemon/Jack 
Faucett Associates 



140 



Other Reports on Arts Participation I 141 



American Participation in Opera and Musical Theater — 1992, Joni Maya 
Cherbo and Monnie Peters 

American Participation in Theater, Chris Shrum/AMS Planning and Research 

Americans' Personal Participation in the Arts, Monnie Peters and Joni Maya 
Cherbo 

Arts Participation and Race/Ethnicity, Jeffrey Love and Bramble C. Klipple 

Arts Participation by the Baby Boomers, Judith Huggins Balfe and Rolf Meyer- 
sohn 

Cross-Over Patterns in Arts Participation, Richard J. Orend and Carol Keegan 

Education and Arts Participation: A Study of Arts Socialization and Current Arts- 
Related Activities, Richard J. Orend and Carol Keegan 

The Effects of Education and Arts Education on Adult Participation in the Arts: 
An Analysis of the 1992 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, Louis 
Bergonzi and Julia Smith 

Hold the Funeral March: The State of Classical Music Appreciation in the U. S., 
Nicholas Zill 

Jazz in America: Who) Listening? Scott DeVeaux 

Patterns of Multiple Arts Participation, Jeffrey Love 

Reading in the 1990s: Turning a Page or Closing the Books? Nicholas Zill 

Tuning in and Turning On: Public Participation in the Arts via Media in the 
United States, Charles M. Gray 

Seven of these have been condensed and published by Seven Locks Press as the 
following: 

Research Division Report #31: Jazz in America: Who's Listening? Scott 
DeVeaux 



Other Reports on Arts Participation I 142 



Research Division Report #32: American Participation in Opera and Musical 
Theater, 1992, Joni Maya Cherbo and Monnie Peters 

Research Division Report #33: Turning On and Tuning In: Media Participa- 
tion in the Arts, Charles M. Gray 

Research Division Report #34: Age and Arts Participation with a Focus on the 
Baby Boom Cohort, Richard A. Peterson, Darren E. Sherkat, Judith Hug- 
gins Balfe, and Rolf Meyersohn 

Research Division Report #35: American Participation in Theater, AMS Plan- 
ning & Research Corp. 

Research Division Report #36: Effects of Arts Education on Participation in the 
Arts, Louis Bergonzi and Julia Smith 



w 




NATIONAL 
ENDOWMENT 
FOR THE ARTS 



Seven Locks Press 
Santa Ana, California 



ISBN D-HES7bS- 

51 



9 780929V6545?