Census Report: Rent Burden

Vicky Virgin, Julian Boilen 2014

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Looking at the Census Bureau’s 2010-2012 American Community Survey, BFAMFAPhD media contributors Vicky Virgin and Julian Boilen’s Census Report shows that most artists (85%) in New York City have non-arts-related day jobs. The few people with art degrees who make their living as artists in New York City (15%) have median earnings of $25,000. This is one-half of the median earnings of other professionals in the city, which is hard to face after going into debt for $120,000 for an art degree, but artists are better off than most New Yorkers. Only 10% of artists in New York City lived on $11,702 or less in 2011, compared to 20% of the city’s total population who live in poverty. Artists who live in Manhattan pay a higher percentage of their income on rent than other Manhattanites, but artists who live in Brooklyn are less severely rent burdened than the majority of Brooklynites. Census Report is a sobering report for artists and arts advocates alike.

To make media with us, under a Creative Commons share alike license, download the:  .CSV files Vicky Virgin provided Julian Boilen for Census Report, or add to the project on Github: Julian Boilen.

Census Report was made by BFAMFAPhD contributors Julian Boilen, a creative technologist, and Vicky Virgin, an interdisciplinary artist and demographic analyst, with edits by artist and organizer Caroline Woolard. Help us expand this work with additional development support or a donation! Email us: