The field of cultural statistics faces a two-fold challenge. On the one hand, cultural statistics need to report on new and evolving forms of cultural production and participation; on the other, new policy areas such as cultural diversity and intangible heritage require the development of new statistical instruments that capture the range of cultural activities and expressions encompassed by cultural heritage. Both instances create an increasing need for cultural heritage statistics and for new quantitative and qualitative measures. This chapter will review a range of cultural statistics currently in use at the national and international level. It will also provide a framework for understanding cultural heritage statistics as well as for assessing their capacity to measure both the economic and social aspects of cultural heritage. Since the 1980s, the role of culture in the economy as a factor for sustainable development has been increasingly recognized, as illustrated by the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988–97) and by the adoption of the first resolution on culture and development by the United Nations Assembly in 2010. In fact, the preservation of tangible heritage has always been a policy objective within the World Bank Programme related to culture and development (World Bank, 2001).
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