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Taking Part: The National Survey of Culture, Leisure and Sport

The new Taking Part data was released in April 2011. The information is available at: http://www.dcms.gov.uk/publications/7995.aspx. Here are some extracts:

Participation in culture

Between 2005/06 and January to December 2010, the proportion of people visiting a museum, gallery or archive in the last year increased (from 42.3% to 47.2%). Over the same period, the proportion of people visiting a public library declined (from 48.2% to 39.0%), while the proportion visiting heritage sites and engaging with the arts remained steady. Cultural participation tends to be higher among certain groups. In particular, participation rates are significantly higher among those in the upper socio-economic groups and in the least deprived areas of England.

 The arts:

  • The extent to which people engage with the arts varies according to where people live, and the type of area they live in.
  • The effect of area-level deprivation is considerable. In January to December 2010, people who lived in the least deprived areas of England were far more likely than those who lived in the most deprived areas to have engaged with the arts in the last year (85.9% compared with 60.0%). However, excluding the extremes of deprivation and affluence, there is comparatively little variation.
  • While people who live in rural areas (79.5%) are more likely to have engaged with the arts in the last year than people in urban areas (74.4%), between 2005/06 and January to December 2010, the proportion of people in rural areas engaging with the arts decreased from 81.8 per cent to 79.5 per cent.
  • Since 2005/06, the proportion of the people engaging with the arts decreased in London (from 75.1% to 70.7%) and the South West (from 82.1% to 78.3%). Rates in the other regions remained steady (Figure 4.4).
  • Between 2005/06 and January to December 2010, the proportion of those aged 25-44 engaging with the arts decreased from 79.7 per cent to 77.1 per cent. Meanwhile, the proportion of those aged 65-74 engaging increased from 70.7 per cent to 73.4 per cent.  Engagement rates in the other age groups remained steady.
  • Across the same period, the proportion of Black and minority ethnic people engaging with the arts declined from 69.9 per cent to 65.4 per cent. Since 2005/06, rates of engagement have remained consistently higher among White people.
  • While people in the upper socio-economic groups (82.6%) are considerably more likely than those in the lower socio-economic groups (64.4%) to have engaged with the arts in the last year, the percentage of people from upper socio-economic groups engaging with the arts has fallen from 84.4 per cent in 2005/06. The percentage of people engaging with the arts in lower socio-economic groups, on the other hand, has remained steady in this time.

 Digital participation:

  • In January to December 2010, 34.8 per cent of adults had participated digitally in culture, an increase from 2008/09 (25.1%).
  • In January to December 2010, theatre and concert websites were the most popular (41.6%), followed by sport (35.7%), heritage (26.8%), museums or gallery (24.6%), libraries (15.0%) and archives or records office (10.9%) websites.
  • While between 2005/06 and January to December 2010, there was an increase in the proportion of people visiting museum and gallery websites (from 15.8% to 24.6%) the proportion looking at online collections fell (from 33.7% to 22.8%).

 Regional findings:  

  • While patterns of engagement with culture and sport vary widely by region, there are some regional trends. In the North East, for example, there have been increases in the proportion of people visiting museums, galleries or archives and heritage sites. Meanwhile, the proportion of people visiting libraries has remained steady. This has occurred alongside a widespread decline in library visits in the other regions.
  •  While the North East has the lowest sports participation rate across the English regions, people in the North East have the highest rate of swimming proficiency. Cycling proficiency rates are about the same as other regions.
  • Meanwhile, compared with the other English regions the North East has the lowest volunteering and digital participation rates.