2014 Census Results

black rock city censusThe preliminary results are in from the 2014 BlackRock City census. Some key highlights:

  • 62.41% Virgins or Noobz
  • 37.59% Veterans  – up from 29%, reflecting the population surge of the last couple of years, or the discrepancy between counting “number of years since first” and “number of burns”.

The number of kids was 4.1% of the population when we first started raising awareness about the unsuitability of this event for children. Now it’s down to 1.4%. That’s still 1000 kids too many, taking tickets away from sherpas Burners.

Re-blogged from BlackRock City Census:

census centaurThe online survey is now live at http://census.burningman.com and we encourage all 2014 citizens of Black Rock City to complete a survey as soon as possible so that your voices are represented in the 2014 report. Results won’t be ready until after the online instrument closes.

For the burning-data curious, we have some preliminary results for you! For the past 3 events, the Black Rock City Census Lab has randomly sampled entering participants through Gate Road. In addition, for the first time this year, we surveyed riders entering through Burner Express Buses (BxB). From these shorter, demographic surveys we get a baseline demographic profile that helps us weight the online survey. This post is a preliminary insight into the participants who attended the event in 2014 taken from this data.

This post reflects information collected from 1,367 entering participants randomly sampled at Gate Road from Friday pre-event through Wednesday mid-burn and 1,239 riders of BxB entering from Reno and San Francisco from Saturday, pre-event through Wednesday.

Though these results are preliminary, they do provide some new insights into the steady evolution of the event.


 

70% of Burners are in the highly marketable 20-40 age demographic. 20% are from another country (BMOrg lacks the ability to mail tickets to other countries, so all of these Burners have to go to Will Crawl).

A quarter of Burners are over 40, I wonder what percent of these are in RVs.

 

Demographics

Age

The median age this year is between 32 and 33, a little younger than last year.

_0_19 1.41%
_20_29 38.15%
_30_39 33.60%
_40_49 14.18%
_50_or_more 12.66%

Age


What with all the Broners and Next-Gen Tech Gurus, it’s becoming a bit of a sausage fest.

 

Gender

Percentage of women at the event increased another percentage point to 41%

female 41.12%
male 57.99%
fluid 0.89%

Gender


“Time Since First Burn” is different from “number of burns”. We define “Veteran” as having been more than twice. Substitute “years” for “burns”, and we have 62.41% noobs, 37.59% Veterans.

Time Since First Burn

Virgin population continues to increase up from 36% two years ago, to nearly 41% of the population in 2014.

Virgins

virgin 40.69%
_1or2years 21.72%
_3or4years 12.66%
_5to7years 9.90%
_8to11years 6.14%
_12to15years 6.45%
_16or_more 2.44%

Half the Burners are from California. There are as many from Canada, as from Nevada.

 

Language and Residence

Where do you reside?

California and Nevada residents continue to dominate the event.

NV 6.49%
CA 47.44%
US other 26.57%
Canada 6.12%
Other 13.37%

Residence

Foreign residents

After declining from 2012 to 2013, foreign participants rose to 19.5% in 2014.

Foreign


Supposedly, 6.37% of Burners got their ticket through STEP. At 68,000 paid participants, that would be 4332 tickets. Official numbers are 1500. Of course, not everyone at Burning Man did the census, so this shows you the sort of errors there can be in these statistics, which are simply estimates.

0.68% of people were there without a ticket, this is 476 out of the maximum peak population (including volunteers) of 70,000. Workers like LEOs may have done the survey, feeling they are Burners too.

With 2624 tickets bought for above face value, the Census claim the data shows that scalping is not an issue. Which it never was. About 5% bought tickets from a reseller or stranger. 25% got their tickets from someone known, which is 17,000 people. That’s a lot of Burner to Burner sales going on, did every Burner purchase an extra ticket? There were only 38,000 available in the “individual” sale.

 

Purchasing your ticket

Nearly 4% bought tickets for more than face value. Presumably this includes anyone who paid $650 to BMOrg for a scalper Exception ticket.

A vast majority (2/3) purchased their ticket this year from the Burning Man organization either directly or through the STEP program. Nearly 25% purchased their ticket from someone known to them. The growth of STEP coincides with a 50% drop in purchases from Strangers (potential scalpers) when compared with data from 2012. Additionally, 92% obtained their ticket for face value or less. Though the remainder who weren’t lucky enough to receive their ticket this way may feel frustrated, the data indicates that the issue of scalping has been mitigated significantly.

 

Where did you buy?

BM 60.57%
STEP 6.37%
Someone_known 24.56%
Stranger 3.26%
Reseller 1.46%
IDK 0.56%
No_ticket 0.68%
Other 2.55%

 

How much did you pay?

Less 6.51%
Face value 79.15%
More 3.86%
Gift 6.52%
IDK 0.98%
Other 2.98%

 Where did you get your ticket (2012 vs 2014)?

 .

 


Politics

Almost 10% of Burners support “alternative” political parties. Only 4.4% vote Republican. Now we know why Larry was so keen to bring Grover Norquist out, and the PR blitz around it was so strong. Perhaps by associating themselves publicly with Burning Man, Republicans can seem more “hip” to the political base that voted the Democrats into power.

 

Politically, burners have historically been significantly more likely to vote than the default US population. This year, we again see that 85% of those eligible to vote in US elections actually do. Moreover, a 51% majority voted in at least 3 of the last 4 federal elections, significantly above the US population.

Another interesting fact to note is that, for the first time, US voting participants, when asked about party affiliation, chose “unaffiliated” (nearly 41% of eligible voters) in larger numbers than any other political party, reflecting a broad trend of dissatisfaction with US political parties. The combination of being such a strong voting population and also being unaffiliated may imply that politicians need to pay attention to their Burner voters in their district. This maybe especially wise in Nevada and California where Burners represent a non-trivial portion of their constituencies.

Political Party Affiliation

 Not_eligible 23.27%
 Democratic 30.86%
 Republican 4.40%
 Libertarian 3.74%
 Green 2.36%
American_Ind_Party 1.58%
 Other 1.60%
 Unaffiliated 31.57%
 Multiple 0.62%

1st world problems

29 comments on “2014 Census Results

  1. Why is there nothing here about race and ethnicity when talking about “Burning Man?” There are several reasons I wouldn’t go but #1 on that list is that I wouldn’t want to be in the desert for a week with predominantly white people. That’s what “Burning Man” seems like at least. This census completely ignores the topic. So if I am wrong, please prove me wrong. At the end of the day, even the most white liberal socially conscious people out there are still white privileged try-to-know-it-all-jerks sitting on their high horse.

    Like

    • The 2014 census report is here:
      http://z9hbb3mwou383x1930ve0ugl.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/Census-2014-Afterburn.pdf
      -or-
      http://burningman.org/culture/history/brc-history/afterburn/2014-afterburn-report/brc-2014-census/

      The answer to your question is on page 17, analyzing the non-white “race and ethnicity,” as you put it. It was a minor factor, but a more important question is what in the story posted here you think should have been replaced with better coverage of race and ethnicity?

      More important than that, unlike sex, but like height and shoe size, race and ethnicity are not things we can readily change. Are things we have no control over good indicators for our life choices? What scares me is the BOrg getting new donations to implement more overhead in ticket selection, asking for race, ethnic origin, height and shoe size. Then, implementing affirmative ticketing to be sure the people less than 5’4″ are in BRC and have their own camps placed. THEN finding out they are placed away from the CCamps, while street talk starts referring to them as the “Munchkin Camps,” and the 13+ shoe size zone as the “Hobbit Camps” while the BRC Rangers have to do crowd control for all the chicks “visiting.”

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      • It would have been nice to see that outlined here but thank you for the link. The sad thing is that the BRC racial demographics is 87% white. Worse demographics than where I grew up in conservative Orange County.

        Do yourself a favor for the future, DO NOT compare race/ethnicity to height or shoe size. Not even similar situations but I don’t have the time nor do I think it is my responsibility to tell you why.

        Yes, sometimes things we have no control over do become indicators of our life choices if it means we will feel unsafe. Reality of life. Must be in a nice if that is not your reality.

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    • But to your point of being “in the desert for a week with predominantly white… privileged try-to-know-it-all-jerks sitting on their high horse,” that is pretty much the NV burn. However, you left out “rich kids trying to prove they can use their money to be cool.”

      If I were going, one of my favorite things to include would be to watch (and video) the rich kids fly in at the airport. …If only to see if they will react like Clinton with privacy drapes and ropes. It is so very hard to carefully manage perceptions when smartphones are there to capture reality.

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  4. Kudos to the awesome Census Team upon publishing numbers in September.

    The numbers are near to the same as within 2013.

    ‘Numbers of years since their first burn’
    ….. 2013 2014
    0 40% 41%
    1-2 24% 22%
    3-4 14% 13%
    5-7 10% 10%
    8-11 7% 6%
    12-15 4% 6%
    16+ 2% 2%

    ‘Numbers of burns before this year’
    …. 2013 2104
    0 40% 41%
    1 20% ?
    2 11% ?
    3-4 14% ?
    5-7 7% ?
    8-10 4% ?
    11+ 3% ?

    Of other numbers, many fewer Republicans are counted in 2014, and, the 6.4% of tickets purchased within STEP do not match reports within social media. Perchance, the Census team might have queried Burners at the airport as to their parties, and, queried the BMOrg as to the number of tickets purchased within STEP.

    Awesome blog, burnersxxx.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not a burner, but I took a look at the census out of curiosity, and wow! How could people voluntarily provide this much personal information? Detailed questions about your politics, voting habits, gender orientation, sexual activity, income, ethnicity, and on and on and on (I didn’t even get to the end yet)…

    Do you folks realize that this is an enormous MARKETING SURVEY??? That bmorg can pretty much pinpoint you as an INDIVIDUAL based on this info? Why would you voluntarily violate your own privacy by completing this monstrosity? Boggles.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha who doesn’t like targeted online advertising?

      Filled out the census in person at BM and you weren’t required to give any personal information (name, contact, etc) so think this is done with good intentions. Dunno about the online survey though…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I hope the comment regarding children was in jest…if not, I feel sorry for you. If you do not understand the importance of introducing children to life at Burning Man, then you may be missing the whole point of our temporary community. Our time in the desert together is one that celebrates openness, sharing, love, and most importantly community. These principles are exactly what our children need to experience and understand so that they can employ these aspects in the default world. We brought our two girls (7&8 yrs old) this year for the first time, my wife is a decade long burner and I am at 5 years spread out over the last 12. Bringing our kids to Burning Man allowed them to experience art, creativity, and joy, like they have never experienced in their entire lives. They saw that imagination does not die with age and that love is meant to be shared, not as a commodity with an expected return other than the feeling you get by giving it. They were there for three days with us, and true burners that they are, they demanded to stay the entire week next year. They will be back, and they will some day help build this community that they now love. Again, I hope your comment was in jest, if not, I hope you would reconsider your position, it is our responsibility to pass this amazing city on to the next generation, and having that generation with years of understanding and detail oriented experience with Burning Man, can only make our vision for Burning Man and the world grow. Oh, by the way…kids under 12 get in free, their not taking tickets from anyone. )'(

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  7. …I think children are and should be more then welcome at Burning Man!!! There is a whole section of the city for families and children!! How dare you bash on kids being there when there is now the “millionaire row” and all the “weekend warriors” Children are not the proble

    Like

    • Dang right! Kidsville was an excellent neighbor.

      Yesterday an 8 year old kid with a skateboard stopped me on my bike and said “hey, you go to Burning Man?”
      me – “Yeah”
      kid – “Same”
      me – “Like it?”
      kid – “Yeah”

      best conversation with a stranger I’ve since getting back from BRC

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Not sure if your comment about kids was in jest or not. But, kids have always gone to the burn. And, kids 12 and under are free, so it’s only the 13-17 year olds who are taking precious tickets. I’m a parent, only reason I haven’t brought my kids is because BM is my one week away from them. I’ve camped with people who brought theirs, kids seem to love it.

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  9. I think it is difficult to use the male/female ratio as a gauge with such a large gay population at BRC, however, It did feel more like a Broner/Sausage fest this year, especially around all the sound camps.

    I wish their question about ticket prices and face value went further to ask about, low-income, regular price (380) or early-purchase prices(650). I would think with the increase in paid staff on the playa, the latter would show an corresponding increase in order to make sure the staff can attend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Read this: https://burners.me/2014/08/01/60-veterans/

      Our definition of “Veteran” is “you went to Burning Man more than twice”. The first time you go, you either like it and want to come back with more participation of your own, or you never want to go again. The second time, you probably tried something more ambitious than was practical, and you learned some lessons about the Playa. Personally, I still think at that point, with 2 weeks under your belt, you are far from being a veteran. But for the purposes of simple and consistent use of language and numbers, “Veteran” means “3 or more burns” on this blog.

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  10. You start the article with: The preliminary results are in from the 2014 BlackRock City census. Some key highlights:
    61% Virgins or Noobz
    39% Veterans – up from 29%, reflecting the population surge of the last couple of years

    then you say : Time Since First Burn

    Virgin population continues to increase up from 36% two years ago, to nearly 41% of the population in 2014.

    so which is it 41% or 61% Noobz?!

    Like

    • Read this: https://burners.me/2014/08/01/60-veterans/

      Our definition of “Veteran” is “you went to Burning Man more than twice”. The first time you go, you either like it and want to come back with more participation of your own, or you never want to go again. The second time, you probably tried something more ambitious than was practical, and you learned some lessons about the Playa. Personally, I still think at that point, with 2 weeks under your belt, you are far from being a veteran. But for the purposes of simple and consistent use of language and numbers, “Veteran” means “3 or more burns” on this blog.

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      • So you define 2 years of attendance as “virgin or noobz”?

        Wouldn’t “virgin” be 0 years and “noobz” an identical number?

        2 burns doesn’t equate to 2 weeks in BRC. Some fly/drive in and out early, so 2 burns could be less than 4 days, or if one does theme camps and post burn DPW volunteer work, it could be more than a month on the playa, which is more substantial than turnkey camping for a decade.

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          • The three burns = “Now you’re a ‘Burner” has been a benchmark in the Bay Area for over a decade. I get it. My first two I was kind of a tourist. My only participation was documentary photography which was actually important back the days of film because it cost you a camera. I didn’t really get Burning Man until I put the camera down.

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