Arts Basic Survey, United States, 2018 (ICPSR 37583)

Version Date: Feb 25, 2020 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
National Endowment for the Arts; United States. Bureau of the Census.

Version V2 ()

  • V2 [2020-02-25]
  • V1 [2020-01-20] unpublished

ABS, Annual Arts Basic Survey, AABS

The 2018 Arts Basic Survey (ABS) was conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau as a supplement to the Current Population Survey. This data collection is comprised of responses from two sets of survey questionnaires, the basic Current Population Survey (CPS) and a survey administered as a supplement to the February 2018 basic CPS questionnaire. The supplement, on the topic of public participation in the arts in the United States, was sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The CPS, administered monthly, collects labor force data about the civilian noninstitutional population aged 15 years old or older living in the United States. Moreover, the CPS provides current estimates of the economic status and activities of this population which includes estimates of total employment (both farm and nonfarm), nonfarm self-employed persons, domestics, and unpaid helpers in nonfarm family enterprises, wage and salaried employees, and estimates of total unemployment. The basic CPS data are provided on labor force activity for the week prior to the survey. In addition, CPS provides respondents' demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race, marital status, educational attainment, family relationship, occupation, and industry.

The ABS captures data on American's participation in the arts through personal performance and creation. Examples include the share of adults who: play a musical instrument; perform or practice singing, dance, or acting; take photographs for artistic purposes; and engage in textile arts such as knitting, crocheting, or embroidery. Questions were also asked about the use of pottery, ceramics, jewelry, leatherwork, metalwork and woodwork. The 2018 ABS sample size was 18,116.

National Endowment for the Arts, and United States. Bureau of the Census. Arts Basic Survey, United States, 2018. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2020-02-25.

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Users of the data must agree to the Terms of Use presented on the NADAC Website and available through the link in each codebook.

Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

2017-01-01 -- 2018-12-31
2018-01-01 -- 2018-12-31

Users are strongly encouraged to refer the User Guide (produced by the Census Bureau), which contains the supplement questionnaire, as well as additional detailed technical documentation regarding the study design, sampling frame used, and response rates.

For more information, please visit the Arts Basic Survey website.

The purpose of the Arts Basic Survey (ABS) supplement was to examine American adults' participation in various artistic activities.

The February 2018 Annual Arts Benchmarking Survey questions were asked of the CPS respondent and spouse as well as another randomly selected household member aged 18 or older and his/her spouse. About one-quarter of the sampled households were asked the supplement questions. The supplement contained questions about the sampled member's participation in various artistic activities from February 2017 through February 2018. Questions were asked about the use of pottery, ceramics, jewelry, leatherwork, metalwork and woodwork. They were also asked about weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, knitting, sewing, and whether they played a musical instrument. Questions also included doing any acting, singing or dance. Interviews were conducted during the period of February 18-24, 2018.

The current Current Population Survey (CPS) sample is selected based on 2000 census information. The first stage of the 2000 sample design created 2,025 geographic areas called primary sampling units (PSUs) in the entire United States. These PSUs were grouped into strata within each state. Some of these PSUs formed strata by themselves and were in sample with certainty, which is referred to as self-representing. Of the remaining nonself-representing PSUs, one PSU was selected from each stratum with the probability of selection proportional to the population of the PSU. A total of 824 PSUs were selected for sampling. The second stage of the sample design selected housing units within these PSUs.

Approximately 72,000 housing units are assigned for interview each month, of which about 60,000 are occupied and thus eligible for interview. The remainder are units found to be destroyed, vacant, converted to nonresidential use, containing persons whose usual place of residence is elsewhere, or ineligible for other reasons. Of the 60,000 occupied housing units, approximately 7 percent are not interviewed in a given month due to temporary absence (vacation, etc.), the residents are not found at home after repeated attempts, inability of persons contacted to respond, unavailability for other reasons, and refusals to cooperate. The interviewed households contain approximately 108,000 persons 15 years old and over, approximately 27,000 children 0-14 years old, and about 450 Armed Forces members living with civilians either on or off base within these households.

The ABS was conducted as part of the CPS. The supplement was administered to about one-quarter of the sample of CPS households. Interview numbers 3 and 7 were asked the supplement questions. If the selected person had a spouse or partner then questions were also asked of the spouse/partner.

This study is a complex sample using stratification and primary sampling units (clusters).


The basic CPS universe consisted of all persons aged 15 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population of the United States living in households. The 2018 ABS supplement universe is comprised of persons 18 years of age or older from about one-quarter of the eligible CPS households.

survey data

The person response rate was 78.49 percent. The effect of nonresponse cannot be measured directly, but one indication of its potential effect is the nonresponse rate. For the February 2018 basic CPS, the household-level nonresponse rate was 15.5 percent. The person-level nonresponse rate for the Annual Arts Benchmarking Survey supplement was an additional 19.2 percent.

Since the basic CPS nonresponse rate is a household-level rate and the Annual Arts Benchmarking Survey supplement nonresponse rate is a person-level rate, we cannot combine these rates to derive an overall nonresponse rate. Nonresponding households may have fewer persons than interviewed ones, so combining these rates may lead to an overestimate of the true overall nonresponse rate for persons for the Annual Arts Benchmarking Survey supplement.



2020-02-25 Updated PIs and added online analysis.

2020-01-20 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

The data contain seven CPS weight variables:

  • Household Weight, HWHHWGT, should be used for tallying household characteristics.
  • Family Weight, PWFMWGT, should be used only for tallying family characteristics.
  • Longitudinal Weight, PWLGWGT, should be used for gross flows analysis and is found only on adult records matched from month to month.
  • Outgoing Rotation Weight, PWORWGT, should be used for tallying information collected only in outgoing rotations.
  • Final Weight, PWSSWGT, is used for most tabulations, controlled to independent estimates for (1) States; (2) Origin, Sex, and Age; and (3) Age, Race, and Sex.
  • Veterans Weight, PWVETWGT, should be used for tallying veterans data only.
  • Composited Final Weight, PWCMPWGT, is used to create BLS's published labor force statistics.

The collection contains one supplement weight variable associated with the 2018 ABS Supplement:

Final supplement weight, PWABSWGT, should be used to estimate the supplement variables.

Users are strongly encouraged to refer to the User Guide for detailed information on how to use the weights, as well as how they were derived.



  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Free and easy access to data on the arts and on the arts' value and impact for individuals and communities