Friday, September 25, 2015

DC projected to appropriate $22.30 per capita for its arts agency in FY16

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies put together a map of projected legislative appropriations per capita of its members, for the 2016 fiscal year.

Learn more about funding for state arts agencies at
Source: State Arts Agency Legislative Appropriations Preview, Fiscal Year 2016
Washington, DC's is projected at $22.30 per capita, or for each resident. This is the most per capita for ANY State Arts Agency (SAA) in the country, with the closest runner up being Puerto Rico at $6.74 and only 11 other SAAs appropriating more than $2 per capita. Of those 13 SAAs, 6 are not agencies for states, but 5 of the 6 are U.S. territories, and the remaining one is the District of Columbia.

But some perspective on that $22.30 number for DC and where it falls compared to some of the others.

The population of the city, according to the most recent estimate from the United State Census Bureau which is for 2014, is 658,893. This puts the estimated budget appropriation at a little over $14,693,000, using last year's population estimate.

For the record, 2014 is also the year which this funding  report used in terms of population numbers.

The population of Puerto Rico is estimated at 3,548,397 for 2014. This puts the appropriation for the territory at a bit more than $23,916,000, so about 163% of the appropriation amount of DC for a population roughly 5.39 times larger.

California's population (the population of the most populous state in the U.S.) is about 38,802,500 according to the census estimate for 2014. Their total estimated appopriation is a little over $10,864,000. So with a population about 58 times larger than DC, they are getting about 74% of the total funding that DC is receiving.

And this is why per capita is such a good way to compare such things. So yay, wow!! DC in general is doing good, comparing apples to apples. But per capita often requires context to be able to make sense of such comparisons, as these kind of things are not that simple.

Have you looked at this report? What would you say about any of the numbers I pulled out above, or any of the other findings in the appropriations preview.

Share your thoughts and observations, conclusions and questions in a comment,

- JR
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