Savage Minds Reader Survey Results Part 1: Demographics

First of all, a big “Thank you!” to everyone who responded to the Savage Minds Reader Survey. Over the one month the survey was up Google tells us that we had 31,003 people visit the site1, but of those only 6,255 were returning visitors. It is that second number we want to target, since we aren’t really interested in the people who randomly end up on the site because they are Googling “jewish glam rock” or “origin sexy librarian” (although we’re happy if they become regular readers after ending up here). The fact that 430 people responded to the survey means we got about 7% of the regular readers during that period, which is fantastic. Of those almost half left their email to be entered in our prize drawing. The lucky winners have already been selected and (hopefully) notified of their prizes.

If you’d like to look at the survey results directly, take a look here. In this post I’m going to summarize some of the demographic data and information on how people use the site. At least one or two more posts will come later on with more information on the qualitative answers, and the data on employment and student debt, etc.

The blog has been around for 10 years, but 71% of you only started reading the site in the past 5 years, and a whopping 40% only began reading the site since 2013. How about going through our archive of end-of-year roundups to see some of what you missed? Also interesting to those of us brought up in the age of RSS feeds is that most of you (almost 90%) come to the blog primarily through social media (split evenly between Facebook and Twitter according to the survey, although our stats suggest Facebook drives more traffic). More than half of you visit more than once a week, and about 6% visit at least once a day.

Google suggests that returning visitors are 51% male, but the survey respondents were only 43% male. We also had 2 people who listed “other” for their gender. Ethnicity was very mixed, and hard to summarize, but these answers caught my eye:

pasty, White-ish, Zootlian, Heinz 57, Mountainer, JEDI (just kidding…czech), ginger, Saturnian, I wouldn’t, Confused, balding, Rootless Cosmopolitan, poi dog, vitamin d-deficient hunchback, Mixed breed, human being, critically white?, privlaged, Erm, brown? I DON’T KNOW!, Banana – yellow outside and white inside.

Google says that 40% of you are between 25 and 34, while the survey was 70% made up of readers in their 20s or 30s. But it was nice to see that we had 4 survey respondents under 19 and 3 over 70!

Google says that 59% are from either the US or Canada, while the Survey says that 64% are from North America. The survey also shows that 17% are from Europe (Google says 7% of our readers are from the UK), and 7% from Asia. There were 23 respondents from Australia (3% of our readers according to Google). We also had 10 users from Africa and 10 from South America. Google says that 2 percent of our readers are from Taiwan, but I have no idea how many of those are my own students!

40% of you have a PhD and 36% have an MA. 43% are currently attending university and 54% plan to get an advanced degree in Anthropology or a related field. 56% of you teach college-aged students (some at community colleges).

What these demographics tell us is that Savage Minds readership is incredibly diverse, but it also has a solid “core” readership which is heavily weighted towards graduate students in the social sciences in North America. We’d like to do more to reach readers outside of Europe and North America, as well as to expose those readers to what is happening in the rest of the world. Stay tuned for a whole month of translated blog posts from Taiwan’s leading anthropology blog, Guava Anthropology, coming in September. (Suggestions for other, similar, projects welcome in the comments!)

We also asked some questions about your reading habits. A lot of you just come to the site when something randomly shows up on their Facebook or Twitter feed, while some read everything that we write, but 37% of you pick and choose based on the subject matter, and only a few considered the author to be important. More surprising (for me) was that over two thirds of you read the comments (at least occasionally) and 30% of you even leave comments (although you do so only rarely). And I was happy to see that most of you are generally positive (or at least indifferent) about the quality of the comments on this blog. You can thank Angela and Rex for their hard work moderating the comments! Also 60% of you thought the survey was “better than average” which made me happy as well. I know we can do better and we hope to learn from this experience. Stay tuned for more details in a future blog post!

  1. The Google stats I mention below are just for the returning visitors.