Data on Americans’ involvement in creative writing—defined by the National Endowment for the Arts (the collector of the data presented below) as the writing of stories, poems, or plays—provides a window on a particularly personal form of participation in the humanities.

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* See this indicator’s supporting table for information as to which differences between years and age groups are statistically significant.

Source: National Endowment for the Arts, Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Data accessed and analyzed via the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research Data Archive [files used: “1982–2008 (ICPSR 35527)” and “2012 (ICPSR 35168)”]. Data presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (

The data on which this indicator is based are from the National Endowment for the Arts’ Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA). In 2012 the wording of the SPPA creative writing item changed slightly. Whereas in 1982–2008, respondents were asked if they did creative writing other than for school or work, in 2012 the question asked respondents to indicate whether they had done creative writing at all, regardless of the context.

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