About the Active People survey

The Active People survey is a national telephone survey about participation in sport. It collects data for every local authority in England.  The survey is managed by Sport England in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). More information about the content and management of the Active People survey is on Sport England's website.

Between 2008 and 2010 respondents to the survey were asked about their engagement in the arts, libraries and museums and galleries.

The cultural questions in Active People asked respondents whether they have been to any creative, theatrical, artistic or musical events in the last 12 months and how often they have attended. They were also asked if they have done any creative, artistic, theatrical or musical activities in the last 12 months and how often they have done so. These questions were less detailed than those asked in the Taking Part survey, but Active People gave us data for each local authority in England, including district councils.

The data from Active People was used to measure the performance of local authorities against National Indicator 11: the percentage of adults engaging with the arts three or more times a year.

Identifying places with the least engagement

We have analysed data from the Active People survey to create a list that ranks local authorities by level of arts engagement. This list can be downloaded in an Excel file. It highlights the (pre-2009) local authorities in the lowest fifth and third of all local authorities in England.

If you wish to understand the level of arts engagement by geographic region, or in England as a whole, we would recommend using data from the Taking Part survey instead.

Accessing the data

Headline data from the Active People survey is released on a regular basis as an Official Statistic by the DCMS. The Active People data relating to cultural engagement is available on the DCMS website.

Full data from the Active People survey can be accessed via the Active People Diagnostic - an online tool which allows anybody to view key indicator reports and to create their own analyses. Register for free on the Sport England website.

The Diagnostic has its own online help and FAQs. For more detailed instructions for analysing the cultural data in Active People, download Arts Council England's guide to using the Diagnostic.