Back in March we referenced a study that showed artists become famous because of who they know, not necessarily for their work. Now an additional report recently conducted by Karol Jan Borowiecki, a professor of economics at the University of Southern Denmark, suggests that individuals from wealthier families are more likely to become artists as opposed to those with poorer backgrounds.
Titled “The Origins of Creativity: The Case of the Arts in the United States Since 1850,” Borowiecki’s paper was published this past February, as it implies that a major key in determining an artist’s success is their family’s wealth. The study is based on United States census data dating back to 1850, comparing the socio-economic backgrounds and geographic locations of individuals who consider themselves artists, musicians, authors, actors, or other creative professionals.
Borowiecki’s review states that with every $10,000 in additional family income, an offspring is two percent more likely to find themselves in a creative field. Therefore, if your family has an income of $100,000, you are twice as likely to become an artist in comparison to someone coming from a household income of $50,000.
Borowiecki also points out that the annual income for artists in the United States is generally below average for the country. Furthermore, her study reveals that more and more women have been choosing artistic careers dating all the way back to 1890. When compared to men, women are 18 percent more likely to end up in a creative field.
The number of minorities becoming artists has risen to 20 percent, according to data from a 2010 US census. You can compare this to just two percent in 1850.
Lastly, Borowiecki’s study shows us that creative individuals typically migrate to more established art scenes, as New York currently has the most artists, followed by Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.