In 2020, the cultural sector occupied 4.8 million people

Cultural indicators were released today by IBGE

Published in 08/12/2021 - 10:02 By Cristina Índio do Brasil - Repórter da Agência Brasil - Rio de Janeiro

In 2020, 5.6% of the employed population in the country was in the cultural sector. The percentage represents 4.8 million people. Compared to 2019, there was a decline of 11.2%. That year, the sector employed 5.5 million people, or 5.8% of the total.

The data are from the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Pnad Contínua), which is one of the surveys used by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in the preparation of the Cultural Information and Indicators System (SIIC) 2009-2020, released today ( 8) by the organ. In addition to the Continuous Pnad, the 2009-2020 SIIC consolidates information from the Central Register of Companies (Cempre), the Family Budget Survey (POF) and the Regions of Influence of Cities (Regic).

The covid-19 pandemic impacted the occupation. Across the country, the total number of jobs dropped by 8.7%, from 95 million in 2019 to 86.7 million last year. In the cultural sector, the drop reached 11.2%. "This trend reverses a growing gain in the sector's importance since 2016," stated the IBGE.

Still in 2020, São Paulo (7.5%), Rio de Janeiro (7.0%) and Rio Grande do Norte (6.7%) were the Federation units that registered the highest percentages of people working in the cultural sector. In reverse, Tocantins (2.7%), Acre (2.8%), Rondônia (3.1%), Amapá (3.1%) and Roraima (3.1%) had the lowest rates.


The percentage of employed persons who have higher education was 30.9% in the cultural sector. This index surpassed the country's average, which is 22.6%. Even with the highest level of education, the cultural sector registered, in 2020, more workers in informal occupations (41.2% of the employed) than in all sectors together (38.8% of the employed). The highest percentages of informality in the cultural sector in the same year were in Amapá (71.3%), Pará (67.7%) and Maranhão (64.9%). The smallest were in Santa Catarina (24.9%), Rio Grande do Sul (28.4%) and São Paulo (34.9%). “Higher education indicates the busiest workforce. We are even more informal due to the fact that we [have a] self-employed or unregistered worker. But, with higher education, it is indeed a more qualified workforce”, said IBGE researcher Leonardo Queiroz Athias.

Since 2014, the participation of women in the cultural sector has grown 3.1 percentage points (pp) and reached 2020 with the highest rate, representing 49.5% of employed persons. Black and brown people were 43.8% of those employed in culture, while the national average reached 53.5%. “Between 2019 and 2020, there was a drop in the participation of black and brown people both in the cultural sector and in all sectors, having been the most affected by the pandemic”, indicated the analysis.

Own account

The main category of persons employed in the cultural sector in 2020 was self-employed, which accounted for 41.6% of the total, followed by employees with a formal contract (37.7%) and without a formal contract (11.3%). The informality rate in the sector reached 41.2% in the same year, compared to a rate of 38.8% for the employed population in the country.

Also in 2020, the group with the highest number of employed persons, in all sectors, was that of employees in the private sector with a formal contract (37.6%), followed by the self-employed (25.4%) and employees in the sector public (13.0%). According to the IBGE, in the same year, the categories most associated with informality were highlighted, the private sector employees without a formal contract and the self-employed, who lost their relative participation in the occupation, mainly in the cultural sector. "The pandemic destroyed more informal jobs than formal ones."


According to the fifth edition of the SIIC, while in 2014 the average real monthly income of the population engaged in cultural activities was estimated at BRL 2,564.00, in 2019 it dropped to BRL 2,392.00. This means a drop of 6.7% in the period. Even so, the values are slightly above the income of the employed population in the country, which in 2014 was BRL 2,352.00 and in 2019, BRL 2,285.00, representing a decrease of 2.8% in the period.

Added value

The added value of the cultural sector reached R$ 256 billion in 2019. The value represents 9.8% of the total wealth created in the scope of the annual economic surveys of industry, commerce and services, carried out by IBGE. It is also a loss of 1.4 percentage points compared to 2009, when it registered 11.2%. Equipment and support material activities generated 67% of the added value of culture in 2019, followed by audiovisual and interactive media with 14.8%.

“The added value gives an idea of the size of the culture within our range of activities, which we understand as related, whether centrally, peripherally or directly within the economy as a whole”, commented the researcher.

The IBGE Central Register of Companies showed that culture was responsible for 6.3% of the total number of local units of companies in the country. Most of the local units were in the cultural sector (8.0%), were in Rio de Janeiro, followed by the Federal District (7.7%), São Paulo (7.6%) and Roraima (6.4 %). According to IBGE, the smallest participations came from Piauí (4.3%), Pará (4.5%) and Tocantins (4.6%).


The average monthly expense of families with culture, based on the 2017-2018 Family Budget Survey (POF), was R$291.18. The biggest expenses were with telephone, pay TV and internet services (R$ 172.63). Also according to the SIIC, the share of cultural consumption items (IPCult) in the household budget reached 9.6% of the Broad Consumer Price Index (IPCA). “In the calculation, pay TV and streaming were included and DVD rental was excluded, for example”, informed the IBGE.


The IBGE highlighted that, currently, the consumption of cultural services and products is closely linked to access to and use of new technologies. The highlight on the internet is the use of cell phones, especially smartphones, the most used equipment for this purpose. The 98.6% corresponds to 141.7 million people aged 10 or over who used the Internet in 2019. Microcomputer followed, with 46.2%, or 66.4 million people in the same age group deity. Then comes television, with 32.5% or 46.7 million, and finally, the tablet, which had 10.9% and was used by 15.7 million people aged 10 or over.

In the units of the Federation, the Federal District was the one with the highest percentage of use (92.7%). Then came São Paulo (87.5%) and Rio de Janeiro (85.8%) in 2019. The lowest rates were registered in Maranhão (58.0%), in Piauí (65.2%) and in Alagoas (65.3%). "All units of the Federation showed an increase in these rates from 2016 to 2019, with emphasis on Rondônia and Ceará, with increases of 22 and 20.2 percentage points, respectively", revealed the IBGE.

Public spending

The total public spending allocated to the cultural sector went from R$6.2 billion in 2009 to R$9.8 billion in 2020, the first year of the pandemic. The difference means a nominal increase of 57.6%. Despite this, there was a decline in the participation of culture in the expenditures of the three spheres of government, that is, federal, state and municipal, in this period.

Leonardo Queiroz Athias said that the data available for the analysis of public expenditures did not include the total referring to the use of the Aldir Blanc Law. Data do not show transfers between entities. We don't have a system that allows us to see this. At the federal, state, municipal and district levels, we have what they declare in terms of expenditure for the cultural function. Also in the Aldir Blanc Law, we cannot say how much is being accounted for”.

Cultural producers raised more funds through tax incentives. The values went from R$ 980 million in 2009 to R$ 1.489 billion in 2020. The Southeast was the region that raised the most part. There were 77.7% of the total.


This edition of SIIC has news. For the first time, it shows data from the research regions of influence of cities (Regic) on the attractiveness of cultural activities in municipalities. Although São Paulo (SP), Porto Alegre (RS), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), Belém (PA) and Belo Horizonte (MG) have the greatest attraction of residents from other municipalities for cultural activities in their territory, smaller municipalities such as Balneário Camboriú (SC), Crato (CE), Parintins (AM), Caruaru (PE) or Caldas Novas (GO) have cultural activities as the main or one of the main motivations to attract visitors.

“It shows that the network has influence. If the municipality has a cinema and everyone around it doesn't, people will move there, as well as a theater and concert halls. So it's relative - where the municipality is located and the type of infrastructure for cultural activities involves it", said Athias, adding that the large capitals have several attractions beyond culture, such as health and commerce, but the smaller municipalities stood out due to the specific factor of cultural activities.

Text translated using artificial intelligence.

Edition: Graça Adjuto

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