Art Museum Proximity

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Art Museum Proximity

Less than 6.2% (estimated) of the US population lives close to an art museum; correspondingly, over 93.8% of the US population does not live close to an art museum. 250.4 million people in urban areas live more than one mile away from an art museum. 59.4 million people in rural areas live more than 10 miles away from an art museum. The visits per capita to museums (all types) in the US is 2.5. The statistics have been triangulated using urban and rural population densities derived from the 2010 decennial census, the current population estimates, Statista, and data published by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Urban and Rural Population Density (2010)

  • The urban area population density: 2,534.4 persons per square mile
  • Total urban population: 249,253,271
  • Total rural population: 59,492,276
  • Urban areas comprise 3% of the total US land area.
  • Therefore, the rural area population density: 17.6 persons per square mile (59,492,276/ (249,253,271/(0.03*2534.4))*(100-0.03))
  • There are 5,526 (3.14*17.6*100) persons per 10-mile radius in a rural area.

No. of Art Museums by Region (2018)

  • There are 7,429 specialized museums (non-general and non-historic) in the US, of which 27.7% are located in rural areas.
  • There are 2,620 art museums in the US.
  • Assuming that 27.7% of all art museums (type of specialized museums) are located in urban areas, the total number of art museums located in urban areas of the US is 1,894 ((2,620*(100-27.7)%)).
  • Correspondingly, the total number of art museums located in rural areas of the US is 726 (2,620-1,894).
  • Assuming that all museums in urban areas are located more than two miles apart and all museums in rural areas are located more than 20 miles apart,

Proximity in Urban Areas (2010)

  • The total population living within one mile of an art museum in urban areas: 15,072,483 (3.14*1,894*2,534.4)
  • The proportion of the urban population living within a mile of an art museum: 6.05% (15,072,483/ 249,253,271)
  • Therefore, the proportion of the urban population living more than one mile away from an art museum: 93.95% (100%-6.05%)

Proximity in Rural Areas (2010)

  • The total population living within 10 miles of an art museum in rural areas: 4,011,876 (726*5,526)
  • The proportion of the rural population living within 10 miles of an art museum: 6.74% (4,011,876/ 59,492,276)
  • Therefore, the proportion of the rural population living over 10 miles away from an art museum: 93.26% (100%-6.74%)

Overall Proximity (2010)

  • The proportion of the total population living close to an art museum in the US, where a one-mile distance is considered close for an urban area and a 10-mile distance is considered close for a rural area: 6.18% ((15,072,483+4,011,876)/ (249,253,271+59,492,276))
  • Therefore, the proportion of the US population not living close to an art museum: 93.82 (100%-6.18%)

Current Proximity (2021)

  • As the population density data was only available in the decennial census, the latest publicly available data being the 2010 census (used in the above calculations), we have assumed that even while the population grew over a decade, the proportion of people living in urban areas vs. rural areas remained unchanged.
  • The current population of the US is approximately 330,206,000 (roughly 7% increase since 2010)
  • 80.7% of this population lives in urban areas and 19.3% lives in rural areas.
  • Therefore, the urban population currently living over one mile away from an art museum: 250,354,429(93.95%*(80.7%*330,206,000))
  • Therefore, the rural population currently living over 10 miles away from an art museum: 59,434,372 (93.26%*(19.3%*330,206,000))

Museum Visits

  • 850 million visits (including ones made by international tourists) were made to museums (all types) in the US in 2019.
  • There are 79.6 million international visitors to the US annually. In 2013, approximately 30% international tourists visited galleries and museums. Assuming that this statistic remained unchanged in 2019, ~24 million out of the 850 million museum visits were made by international tourists.
  • Correspondingly, 826 million museum visits were made by domestic tourists.
  • Therefore, the per capita visits to museums is 2.5 (826 million/ 330.2 million).
  • "67% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural or heritage activities such as visiting museums. These travelers spend 60% more on average than other leisure travelers."

Age Demographic of Visitors to Art Museums


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