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The Norwegian Cultural Barometer

Statistics Norway’s annual report ‘The Norwegian Cultural Barometer’ maps the nation’s culture usage patterns. Surprisingly, several cultural sectors see a decline in its user base.

The Norwegian Cultural Barometer is a publication based on Statistics Norway’s survey on domestic use of culture. In the survey, a representative sample of the total population aged 9-79 years answers questions on how often they have used different cultural offerings in the last 12 months. The survey also quantifies the population’s interest in culture, access to different cultural offerings and their own activities in the cultural field. The first survey was conducted in 1991. Subsequent surveys were carried out in 1994. 1997, 2000, 2004, 2008 and the last one was in 2012. The 2012 survey had a total of 1 996 respondents.
The results show that for some cultural offerings both the percentage using them and the number of visits have decreased since 2008. Other offerings have only seen a small change in this time period. Forty-five per cent of respondents had been to a theatre, musical or revue in 2012. This is a decrease from 53 per cent in 2008. The average number of visits to such cultural offerings was 1.1 in 2012, compared to 1.4 in 2008. Women and people with a high level of education and income go to the theatre, or to see musicals or revues the most.

Eight per cent of the respondents visited an opera or operette. Sixty-one per cent went to a concert. Respondents in the younger age groups were most likely to attend a concert, and pop and rock music were the most popular. 31 per cent of the respondents attended a culture festival; mostly music festivals.

The interest for the different cultural offerings has changed little from 2008 to 2012. Concerts are the most popular, with 21 per cent very or quite interested. Twenty per cent think that the price of the ticket is a major factor in how often they go to concerts, while 11 per cent think the same in relation to museum visits.
The percentage engaging in activities within the cultural field has not changed much from 2008 to 2012 according to the Statistics Norway survey.

Some key findings in the Statistics Norway survey:
• 61 per cent of respondents attend one or more concerts annually
• Gender balance is fairly equal
• Ages 16-24 represent the highest attendance percentage
• Main cities generate the highest attendance numbers, sparsely populated areas represent the other end of the scale
• 5 per cent have never attended any form of live concert
• Pop/rock concerts are most popular.

61 per cent of the population aged 9-79 had in 2012 attended concerts over a twelve month span, when both professional as well as amateur events were included in the survey. The equivalent 2008 number was 62 per cent. On average, Norwegians attended 2,3 concerts over the last year. Respondents that consume several forms of culture, attended on average 3,8 concerts per year.

Individuals that have completed university-level education are more likely to attend cultural events than other demographic groups. The same trend is prevalent among administrative managers, academic scholars and students. Income levels, place of residency or regional affiliation have little to no effect on user patterns among concert attendees. Still, inhabitants of cities are more likely to attend concerts than residents in sparsely populated areas.
82 per cent state that they have attended a concert during the last five years. 5 per cent have never attended any form of live concert.

51 per cent of the last five year’s concert attendees went to a pop/rock show the last time they went to a concert. Pop/rock is followed by classical/opera, church music and folk. 21 per cent attended a live event that featured choral singing.

Cultural Festivals
Some key findings in the Statistics Norway survey:
• 31 per cent attend one or more cultural festivals annually
• Men and women attend cultural festivals in equal numbers
• Younger age groups are the festival’s largest attendance group
• Music festivals are most popular, in particular pop and rock events

As of 2012, 31 per cent of the population aged 9-79 had visited a cultural festival over the last twelve months. The equivalent 2008 was 21 per cent. The average attendance number was in 2012 0.6 per cent.

The gender balance among festival attendees is relatively even. The age group 20 to 24 years is the most active one – 46 per cent of the segment attend cultural festivals. The lowest attendance factor is found in the older age groups – among men aged 67-79 the attendance percentage is as low as 14.

Education levels seem to have little effect on cultural festival attendance figures. The same can also be said in relation to household income and place of residence.

Over the last five years,56 per cent have attended cultural festivals while 24 per cent have never attended any such event. Among those that have attended cultural festivals over the last twelve months, 76 per cent have attended music festivals. Pop/rock festivals are most popular, having a 38 per cent stake of the segment while jazz/blues festivals account for 9 per cent. 1 per cent attended a theatre or revue-festival while 2 per cent attended a dance festival. The remaining 7 per cent attended other forms of cultural festivals including events such as boating and food festivals.

(Source: Statistics Norway)