Industries in Depth

What is creativity worth to the world economy?

José Santiago
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How much do the creative industries contribute to the global economy? A new study has quantified, for the first time, the economic and social contribution of cultural and creative industries (CCI) around the world.

Conducted by Ernst & Young and jointly presented by UNESCO and the International Confederation of Authors and Composers Societies (CISAC), the study analysed 11 CCI sectors in Europe, North America, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the South Pacific region, focusing on everything from architecture and advertising to television.

Bigger than India

All 11 cultural sectors combined generated $2,250 billion in revenues (3% of world GDP). The highest earners were television ($477 billion), newspapers and magazines ($354 billion) and visual arts ($391 billion).

Revenue from creative industries exceeded those of telecommunications services (which comes in at $1,570 billion globally), and even surpassed the entire GDP of India ($1,900 billion).

Just the job

Creative industries generated 29.5 million jobs, which employ about 1% of the world’s active population. The top three employers are visual arts (6.73 million employees), books (3.67 million) and music (3.98 million).

Creative industries also employ more people than the automotive industry in the United States, Europe and Japan combined.


Innovative and inclusive

Researchers found that creative industries are open to people of all ages and backgrounds, and provide a significant contribution to youth employment and careers.

In Europe, cultural sectors employ people between the ages of 15 and 29 more than any other sector; they also have more women participating in them than traditional industries. Statistics compiled by the government of the United Kingdom show that women accounted for more than 50% of the people employed in the music industry in 2014, compared with 47% in the overall active population.

Small businesses and individuals are key, and give rise to innovative and agile employers and workers. In the United states, artists are 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed than the rest of the US working population, according to the study.

Have you read?
These are the world’s most creative countries
What’s the difference between creativity and innovation?
Which quality do all creative geniuses share?

Author: José Santiago, Digital Content Specialist, Public Engagement, World Economic Forum

Image: Cafe Tacuba’s singer Cone Cahuitl performs at the Imperial Festival in La Guacima REUTERS/Monica Quesada

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Industries in DepthEconomic Growth
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