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ABS releases 2017-18 attendance rates

Sydney Living Museums visitors. Source: SLM.

Attendance at Selected Cultural Venues and Events, Australia, 2017-18, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 26 March 2019

ADULT ATTENDANCE 

During the 12 months before interview in 2017-18, most Australians (82.4%) aged 15 years and over attended a cinema, art gallery, museum, library, or live performance. The highest attendance rates were at Cinemas and drive-ins (66.8%), Live music concerts and performances (38.2%) and Libraries and archives (30.9%).

Attendance rates for people aged 15 and over living in greater capital cities were higher when compared with people living in other regions of Australia. The largest differences were for people attending Cinemas and drive-ins, where people living in greater capital city regions had an attendance rate of 70.8%, and those living in other regions had an attendance rate of 58.4% (12.4 percentage point difference).

Museum and art galleries attracted the next highest differences in attendance rates for these groups, with those for capital city residents slightly over 6 percentage points higher when compared with the rates for other Australians.

Graph 1. Attendance rates for Australians aged 15 and over attending selected cultural venues and events, by region, 2017-18
Graph 1. Attendance rates for Australians aged 15 and over attending selected cultural venues and events, by region, 2017-18

Compared with the other states and territories, Australian Capital Territory residents reported the highest overall attendance rate (92.5%), as well as the highest attendance rates for:

  • Cinemas and drive-ins (80.0%)
  • Museums (48.6%)
  • Art galleries (46.1%)
  • Live music concerts and performances (43.0%)
  • Theatre performances (23.6%)
  • Dance performances (12.7%).

Conversely, South Australian residents had the highest attendance rates for Other performing arts, such as acrobatics and cabaret performances, comedy acts and festivals, and magic acts (30.9%), while Victorians were the most likely to go a Musical or opera (19.1%). Attendance at Libraries and archives were very similar between the states, varying from 28.8% amongst Tasmanians and 33.5% for Australian Capital Territory residents.

Attendance rates generally decreased with age, with a very high attendance rate for people aged 15-17 years (94.7%) and a relatively low rate for those aged 75 years and over (56.3%). While going to the cinema was the most popular venue or event attended by each age group, it was more popular with 15-17 year olds (89.2% attendance rate) than for those aged 65-74 years (50.5% attendance rate) and those aged 75 years and over (34.4% attendance rate).

Attendance rates for females were higher than for males overall (84.9% compared with 79.7%), and this pattern was consistent across all cultural venues and events. The largest difference between female and male attendance rates was for visiting Libraries and archives, which had an 11.8 percentage point difference (36.7% female attendance rate compared with 24.9% for males), followed by Musicals and operas with an 8.5 percentage point difference (20.0% female attendance rate compared with 11.5% for males).

Other performing arts attracted the most equal attendance rates for males and females, with a 20.6% attendance rate for women compared with a 18.8% attendance rate for men.

Table 1. Attendance rates at cultural venues and events, By age and sex, 2017-18


ATTENDANCE RATE (%)
Age group (years)
Males
Females
Persons

15-17
95.3
94.1
94.7
18-24
89.8
92.4
91.2
25-34
88.5
90.6
89.5
35-44
83.5
91.5
87.7
45-54
81.5
88.0
84.6
55-64
70.0
81.0
75.6
65-74
67.1
76.4
72.0
75 and over
55.4
56.9
56.3
Total
79.7
84.9
82.4

Overall, those living in households with dependent children had a higher rate of attendance (89 per cent) compared with those living in couple-only households (79 per cent) and people living alone (73 per cent).

In terms of the labour force, employed and unemployed people each attended at least one cultural event or venue at similar rates (88.2% and 86.4%, respectively). However, those who were not in the labour force attended at significantly lower rates (70.7%). Furthermore, people who were employed were significantly more likely than those not in the labour force to attend any of the selected venues or events, with the exception of Libraries and archives where the trend was reversed.

Attendance rates at cultural venues and events increased relative to equivalised gross household income. Echoing the attendance patterns seen in different labour force population groups, attendance rates increased for all activities as household income increased, with the exception of Libraries and archives which had similar rates of attendance across income ranges (from 32% in the lowest quintile to 31.2% in the highest).

FREQUENCY OF ATTENDANCE

People who visited Museums and Art galleries were most likely to attend only once during the 12 month period. Similarly, the majority of people who attended a live performance were most likely to attend only once. Libraries had relatively high rates of frequent visits, with a third of attendees visiting more than 10 times in the 12 month period.

Graph 2. Frequency of attendance for people aged 15 years and over attending cultural venues or events, 2017-18 
Graph 2. Frequency of attendance for people aged 15 years and over attending cultural venues or events, 2017-18

Council of Australasian Museum Directors, c/o Ms Daryl Karp, Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House PO Box 3934 Manuka, Australian Capital Territory 2603 Australia, © CAMD 2019
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