What is it about?

Statistics in the field of culture serve two essential functions:

  • Providing a reliable evidence-base for decision-making
  • Providing information of use to the culture sector and potential financiers

As such, it is essential that statistics on the cultural and creative industries, as well as culture sector professionals, are readily available to the general public.

Why is it needed?

The European Commission relies on statistical information to contribute to decision making; accurate information on the contribution of cultural industries to the economy and employment can assist in the development of effective policies.

Statistics are also essential to cultural and creative industries; one of the barriers to finance, as noted in the communication on Creative Europe, is that there is a lack of reliable data in the sector. This lack of data limits the ability of smaller organisations in the sector to secure financing from investors and institutions.

What is the Commission's role?

The role of the Commission in this field is two-fold:

  • Establish a reliable body of statistical information to contribute to policy-making
  • Establish a reliable body of statistical information to support investment in the culture sector

This is, predominantly, achieved through cooperation with experts to identify the potential solutions to the identified needs, as well as cooperation with the European Member States, organisations such as the European Audiovisual Observatory, and the European statistical office, Eurostat.

What has been achieved so far?

The Commission has, for several years, been taking steps to improve the body of cultural statistics at its disposal. In 2012, the European Statistical System network on culture (ESSnet-culture) proposed a methodological framework for producing comparable cultural data across the EU. Prior to that, Eurostat published a collection of information from the Member States in a "pocket book" on culture statistics.

Eurostat work on culture statistics has been now re-launched, and the first data on Cultural employment, International trade in cultural goods and Cultural participation and consumption are now available on Eurostat website.

A feasibility study on data collection and analysis in the cultural and creative sectors in the EU , planned as part of the Creative Europe programme, complements Eurostat's work by exploring the data available from 'alternative' sources including administrative registers, professional associations and rights management bodies, business registers, 'big data' from the internet and cultural observatories.

What are the next steps?

Thanks to the re-launch of Eurostat's work on culture statistics, further data on business statistics, culture participation, expenditure in the cultural sector and trade in cultural services are available on Eurostat's website during the course of 2016. A new Pocketbook on culture statistics was published in spring 2016.