Creative Workforce

Most artists practice in metropolitan areas, and regional artists earn less than those living in capital cities

Throsby and Zednik estimate that 31 percent of practising professional artists are located in regional or remote areas of Australia. The distribution of artists reflects the Australian population, although artists are slightly more likely to be located in capital cities than the general labour force.

Actors, dancers and musicians are more likely to live in an urban area, while almost half of writers and visual artists live in regional areas. Throsby and Zednik suggest that this is related to the location of work opportunities, with a higher concentration of performing arts organisations in urban areas.

There was a shift in the location of writers and visual artists to the regions between 2003 and 2009. In 2003 a quarter of professional writers lived outside the capital cities, in 2009 it was about half.

Regional artists earned 30 percent less than those living in capital cities. This is partly because those artist professions that are relatively better paid such as actors and musicians are more likely to live in the cities. However, regional artists also showed stronger income growth than those in capital cities.

Living outside a capital city was generally viewed positively by artists located regionally. However there are differences across artform. Regional composers were more likely to view their location as more negative than positive. Regional writers, craft practitioners and community cultural development workers reported notably more positive effect of living regionally than other artists.

Figure 11 - Effects of living outside a capital city on creative practice

All artistsActorsCACD practitionersComposersCraft practitionersDancersMusiciansVisual artistsWriters
% That live regionally311728293412194947
More negative effect253210512327253117
No effect131910731826813
More positive effect614880417454496070