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Artists in Brampton in 2021
Over 1,500 professional artists, most of whom are racialized and many of whom are young
Using custom data that Hill Strategies requested from Statistics Canada’s 2021 long-form census, this article examines the demographics, employment situations, and incomes of artists in Brampton. The article also provides summary information about workers in arts leadership occupations and all occupations in the arts, culture, and heritage (a category that includes artists and arts leaders). Comparisons are provided with all workers in Brampton and all artists in Ontario.
This article is made possible with the support of the City of Brampton.
Hill Strategies Research retained full editorial control of the content.
This sponsored post analyzes custom data that I requested from the 2021 census. If you are not yet a sponsor but are interested in this type of information for your jurisdiction, please let me know. Or simply subscribe at the sponsor level ($750 including taxes) here:
The analysis relates to professional workers, but with a very specific concept of professional. The census data on occupations include people who worked more hours as an artist than at any other occupation between May 1 and 8, 2021, plus people who were not in the labour force at that time but had worked more as an artist than at another occupation between January of 2020 and May of 2021. Part-time artists who spent more time at another occupation in May of 2021 would be classified in the other occupation. (The same would be true of workers in arts leadership occupations and all cultural occupations.)
The occupational perspective counts people who work across the economy, as long as they are classified into one of 10 artist occupation groups, 5 arts leadership occupation groups, or 52 cultural occupation groups. Details about the occupation groups included in each of the categories is available in a recent article, which also outlined the methods behind choosing the 52 cultural occupation groups. Another article highlighted some strengths and limitations of the census for counting artists and cultural workers.
To ensure confidentiality and data reliability, no estimates of fewer than 40 people are presented in this article.
The challenging context of the pandemic in the spring of 2021 is important to keep in mind when interpreting census data on artists, which were collected in May of 2021. Income data from the census relate to the 2020 calendar year.
Provincial and national context: Artists, arts leaders, and all cultural workers
The 81,800 professional artists who reside in Ontario account for 40% of the 202,900 artists in Canada. As a percentage of the overall labour force, artists represent 1.0% in both Ontario and Canada. A finer analysis shows that 1 in every 96 Ontario workers and every 102 Canadian workers is an artist. (Articles related to Ontario artists and Canadian artists are available. The Canadian post provides a list of the 10 artist occupation groups.)
56,200 Canadians, including 23,000 Ontarians, work in five occupation groups that are classified as arts leaders. Ontario accounts for 41% of Canada’s arts leaders, slightly higher than the province’s share of all workers (38%). For more information on the occupation groups included as arts leaders, please see this Canada-wide article. Readers should note that two arts leadership occupations (conductors / composers and producers / directors / choreographers) are also included as artists. As such, the number of arts leaders should not be added to the number of artists in any jurisdiction.
The broadest analysis relates to the 370,000 Ontarians and 914,000 Canadians who work in arts, culture, and heritage occupations. These workers represent 4.7% of Ontario’s labour force and 4.4% of the Canadian labour force. One in every 21 Ontario workers and every 23 Canadian workers has a cultural occupation. The 52 occupation groups in this category include the 10 artist occupation groups as well as the 5 arts leadership occupation groups, other cultural occupations (e.g., graphic designers, print operators, editors, translators, architects, and professionals in fundraising, advertising, marketing, and public relations), and heritage occupations (e.g., librarians, curators, and archivists).
Over 1,500 professional artists in Brampton
The 1,530 artists in Brampton represent 0.4% of the city’s overall labour force, well below the provincial average (1.0%). Neighbouring cities have slightly higher concentrations of artists: Mississauga, Vaughan, and Halton Hills each have a concentration of artists of 0.7%, and the equivalent percentage in Caledon is 0.6%.
In Brampton, 1 in every 245 workers is a professional artist.
Diversity of artists in Brampton
Among Brampton’s artists:
63% are members of racialized groups, the second-highest percentage in the country, much higher than that of all Ontario artists (23%) but still lower than the percentage of all Brampton workers (81%).
37% are immigrants to Ontario, lower than the percentage of all Brampton workers (62%) but higher than that of all Ontario artists (25%).
55% are women (including some transgender and non-binary people), much higher than the proportion of all Brampton workers (47%) but similar to that of all Ontario artists (53%).
31% have a child at home, much lower than the percentage of all Brampton workers (50%) but similar to that of all Ontario artists (30%).
3.5% are French speakers (i.e., official language minority), double the percentage of all Brampton workers (1.7%) but lower than official language minority speakers’ proportion of all Ontario artists (5.0%).
32% have a bachelor’s degree or higher, below the percentage of all Brampton workers (37%) and well below that of all Ontario artists (48%).
61% are self-employed, four times higher than the percentage of all Brampton workers (15%) but somewhat lower than that of all Ontario artists (69%).
Brampton’s artists tend to be younger than artists in other areas and other workers in Brampton:
53% are under 35 years of age, higher than the proportions of all Brampton workers (40%) and all Ontario artists (37%).
30% are between 35 and 54 years of age, lower than the proportions of all Brampton workers (42%) and all Ontario artists (36%).
17% are 55 years of age or older, similar to the proportion of all Brampton workers (19%) but lower than that of all Ontario artists (28%).
Brampton artists by occupation and industry
Brampton is home to many different types of professional artists. From most to least common, there are:
340 musicians (22% of the city’s artists)
230 photographers (15%)
200 producers, directors, choreographers & related occupations (13%)
190 writers (12%)
150 actors, comedians & circus performers (10%)
150 artisans & craftspeople (9%)
100 dancers (7%)
90 other performers (6%)
80 painters, sculptors & other visual artists (5%)
There are fewer than 40 conductors, composers, and arrangers in Brampton (which is below the threshold of reliability).
Compared with the rest of the province, Brampton appears to have relatively few visual artists (who account for just 5% of all artists in the city, compared with 12% of all Ontario artists). The percentages for most other artist occupations are quite close to the provincial averages.
Brampton’s artists work throughout the economy. There are relatively similar proportions of artists who work in businesses and organizations in three industry sectors: arts, entertainment, and recreation (23%), educational services (21%), and information and cultural industries (18%). All other industries, excluding the three largest ones, employ 37% of artists.
Professional artists had very low incomes in 2020
The financial analysis in this article focuses on median incomes, which are believed to provide a better indication of the typical situation of professional artists than the average (i.e., the “mean”), which is more strongly affected by a few individuals with very high incomes.
Three measurements of artists’ incomes are provided: median employment income, median personal income, and median household income. Employment income shows the work-related earnings of artists; personal income includes all sources of income (including pandemic supports); and household income provides a measure of the family situation of artists.
It should be kept in mind that the income statistics from the 2021 census relate to the 2020 calendar year, which included many pandemic related lockdowns and significant slowdowns in artistic activity.
The median employment income of Brampton artists was just $7,700 in 2020, which is about one-fifth of the median employment income of all Brampton workers in the same year ($36,800). The median employment income of artists in Brampton in 2020 was much lower than the provincial average ($11,200).
The median personal income of Brampton’s artists (from all sources) was $24,800 in 2020, 44% below that of all Brampton workers ($44,400). The median personal income of local artists is below the median for all of Ontario ($29,600).
The graph below shows the median personal incomes of artists and all workers in Brampton and Ontario. The difference in median personal income between artists and other workers in Brampton (-44%) is significant, and slightly higher than the difference in all of Ontario (-41%).
Brampton artists appear to have significant support from other members of their households. In 2020, the median household income of artists was $127,000, just 8% lower than that of all workers in Brampton ($138,000) and well above the median household income of all Ontario artists ($98,000).
Brampton’s arts leaders
300 Brampton residents work in five occupation groups that are classified as arts leaders, with the broad grouping of producers, directors, and choreographers accounting for two-thirds of them. In Brampton, there are:
200 producers, directors, choreographers & related occupations (65% of the arts leaders in the city)
60 managers in publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting & performing arts (17%)
Less than 40 workers in each of three other occupation groups: library, archive, museum & art gallery managers; conductors, composers & arrangers; and conservators & curators.
Summary information about workers in arts, culture, and heritage occupations in Brampton
There are 9,200 workers in arts, culture, and heritage occupations in Brampton, representing 2.5% of the local labour force, well below the provincial average of 4.7%. One in every 41 workers in Brampton has a cultural occupation.
In 2020, a typical cultural worker in Brampton had:
Employment income of $33,600, 9% less than all Brampton workers ($36,800)
Total personal income of $41,200, 7% less than all workers in the city ($44,400)
Household income of $139,000, essentially equal to that of all workers ($138,000)