SMU DataArts - Cultural Data Profile


Visiting Chicago for a performance? You’ll spend 2.5x more than those who live there.

  • Posted Aug 22, 2012

Non-residents who visit Chicago for its arts and cultural scene pump two-and-a-half times more money into the city’s economy than Chicago residents.  Spending more on meals, transportation, lodging, souvenirs and other items and services, cultural tourists represent a major growth opportunity for the city, according to the Chicago-focused version of the national report Arts and Economic Prosperity IV.

“Further,” said the report, “nearly half of all attendees interviewed said they would travel to a different location for similar cultural experiences. In other words, if Chicago doesn’t offer desirable cultural experiences, audiences are likely to go elsewhere.”

The new report—the first since 2007 to examine the economic impact of Chicago’s arts and cultural scene—also showed that the sector is a 2.2 billion dollar industry, and also debunks the stereotype that it is mostly the older and wealthier who attend arts and cultural events; in fact more than half of all arts attendees in Chicago are under the age of 44, and 1/3 make less than $60,000 per year.

Data collection for the Chicago study was conducted in 2011 by Arts Alliance Illinois and compiled by Americans for the Arts, and included data from the Illinois CDP and other sources.

Read more about the report here.