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Published: 7 October 2020

Share of culture in the economy decreased slightly in 2018

According to the latest calculations of the culture satellite, the share of culture in the economy has decreased slightly compared to the previous year, that is, the share in GDP was 3.3 per cent in 2018 (3.4 per cent in 2017). The calculations are compiled at such a long delay because they are done only when the calculations of the National Accounts have been compiled at the most detailed level. The figures published in autumn 2019 took into account both the time series revision made at that time and the industry change of some enterprises in the games industry, and the calculations compiled now continue this time series.

Changes have been made to the latest calculations concerning the classification of cultural consumption: the previous consumption categories named by industry groups have been abandoned and a separate classification has been compiled for consumption. In practice, the changes are not significant in any way, some empty categories were removed, and the remaining categories were renamed while the content mainly remained unchanged. At the same time, the classification called ECOICOP, which harmonises households’ consumption expenditure to a more detailed level and was introduced in the time series revision in autumn 2019, was included in the calculations. This changed the level of consumption expenditure by some tens of millions of euros in some years, but it did not affect the overall picture, that is, the share of culture in consumption expenditure remained unchanged.

According to the culture satellite, both output and value added accounted for 3.3 per cent of GDP in 2018. Both cultural output and value added grew slightly at current prices but as GDP grew clearly more, the share of culture decreased. Value added grew particularly in the industries of motion pictures, videos and computer games, and in artistic, theatre and concert activities. Value added decreased most in radio and television activities and in amusement parks and other entertainment and recreation activities.

Percentage share of cultural industries in the national economy in 2008 to 2018

Percentage share of cultural industries in the national economy in 2008 to 2018

In 2018, the share of combined consumption expenditure of culture in all consumption expenditure fell. General government's consumption expenditure on culture rose slightly, while private consumption expenditure fell somewhat, but combined, consumption expenditure on culture remained on level with the previous year. As the combined consumption expenditure of the whole economy grew, the share of culture in consumption expenditure decreased, being now 4.3 per cent (4.4 per cent in 2017).

According to the culture satellite, the share of culture in employment was 3.1 per cent in 2018. The culture satellite takes into account employed persons from the industries included in the calculation regardless of the tasks, while the cultural statistics expressly examine employed persons in the field of culture regardless of industry. The cultural statistics show a clear improvement in employment in 2018, while according to the satellite accounts, the number of employed persons in cultural industries would in practice have remained unchanged and the share of employed persons would have fallen relative to the employed persons in the whole economy, while the number of employed persons in the whole economy has grown. An estimate of employment based on the wages and salaries sum may underestimate the number of employees if the work is part-time, low-paid or short-term, which is quite typical in the field of culture. The falling trend in the number of employed persons in cultural industries that has continued since 2008 still does not seem to have changed significantly in the cultural satellite accounts.

Culture has conventionally been regarded as an activity that balances economic cycles, whose role usually grows somewhat during a downturn, because it includes several permanent elements. The share of non-profit and public activities is significant and maximising profits is not always the primary objective. Culture is produced for its own sake, even without profit. However, the downturn of the early 2010s was visible in both cultural production and its consumption; also when it comes to culture, people look for more inexpensive alternatives when the economy is tight, and the money spent on culture has not made much of an upturn even if the economy has grown.

Although the share of culture in the economy has been falling on the long term, culture still has a fairly important role in the national economy, because its share of consumption is nevertheless good four per cent and its share of employed three per cent.

The statistics on Culture Satellite Accounts depict the economic significance of culture, using the concepts and methods of national accounts. Data according to the Standard Industrial Classification TOL 2008 have now been released for the years 2008 to 2018 in accordance with the ESA2010 system and the time series revisions published in autumn 2019. In addition, the classification revision of households' consumption expenditure at the EU level to the ECOICOP classification harmonised up to the 5-digit level has been taken into account in this latest publication.

The data for the Culture Satellite Accounts are published on the statistics website as database tables.

Source: Culture Satellite Accounts, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Katri Soinne 029 551 2778,

Head of Department in charge: Mari Ylä-Jarkko

Publication in pdf-format (220.2 kB)


Tables in databases

Appendix tables

Updated 07.10.2020

Referencing instructions:

Statistics: Culture satellite accounts [e-publication].
ISSN=2323-9905. 2018. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 14.8.2022].
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