When Richard Florida first began talking about the Creative Class, it appeared to be an urban phenomenon (with some nods to college towns). Now David McGranhan and Timothy Wojan suggest that creative class indicators can be used to measure both metro and nonmetro counties across the United States.
The authors of this piece use 1990 and 2000 employment classification data to determine total employment, employment in "creative' occupations (scientists, engineers, authors, and artists, or anyone whose occupation requires creative thinking for problem-solving), arts employment, and a "bohemian index" (the share of employment in arts occupations.) Their methodology is available here, as well as their data documentation. For a listing of counties and the data sets for each (look up your own!), click here (Excel file).
I found it interesting to be able to think about rural communities in terms of creativity, and not just urban competitions for who's the hippest. This appears to be a useful beginning for translating a new kind of indicators into the less-urbanized environment. I'm interested in hearing from those who are implementing this idea in their communities, and what they're finding.
If you're interested in exploring "creative class" indicators further, here's a few more data sets to consider:
NSF's Science and Engineering Indicators
Americans for the Arts' Creative Industries Reports
Hat tip: DocuTicker
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