Burning Man 2015 By The Numbers Part 2 – Census Highlights

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Along with the 2015 Afterburn report, BMOrg released the results of their 2015 Census. I’ve had a chance now to go through this in a bit more detail. Some highlights:

There are a lot of dudes (60%) and it’s pretty gay (1/3rd LGBT) and pretty white (86%).
The minorities at Burning Man these days are double digit Burners (just over 5%).

“40% Virgins” is still about right, which is really still about 68.9% newbies, as only 31.1% of Burners had been to Burning Man more than twice prior to 2015 – our previous definition for Veterans. It’s up slightly from 28% the previous year, it is remarkable how these virgin and veteran percentages remain about the same, year after year. Coincidence? Random chance? Or the result of Burner profiles, ticket lotteries, and all the other socially engineered ticketing hoops Burners are forced to jump through?


Screenshot 2016-02-20 16.47.07Screenshot 2016-02-20 16.47.47
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20% of Burners are aliens, about a third of those from the biggest country, Canada
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Scalpers are not a problem, and STEP is not very useful.
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Burners are very affluent. 44.1% have an average household income of US$100,000 or more.
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About 7% of Burners are in the 1% – and we even have some in the 1% of 1% of 1% of 1%, the 62 people with as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the planet combined.
We’re smart, too. 77% have a college degree, 6.1% of Burners have a  degree in healing or beauty
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Despite the vehicle pass scheme, 10% of Burners still arrived alone. A third used a plane in their journey to Black Rock City.
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Although 17.9% arrived in an RV, 26.2% ended up staying in one.
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Only a third of those RVs got pumped – incredibly disappointing, given the amount of money being spent across Black Rock City on site services – and BMOrg’s intervention to make it hard for camps to make their own deals with vendors of their choice.
35.9% had access to some form of renewable energy – iPhone charging, perhaps?

69.7% of Burners were connected to electricity from generators – not exactly “off grid living”.

It is, however, a great place to go to get away from conventional forms of religion. Only 5.4% of Burners identify as religious.
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How many of those are Satanists is unknown, but let’s call it 5%: 3.2% of Burners worship “other” and 1.2% are Pagans.
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Download the full Census from their new home within the borg. Here are the team credits, thanks to everyone who participated:

Principal investigators and project coordinators: S. Megan Heller (Countess), Dana Lilienthal DeVaul (DV8), Dominic Beaulieu-Prévost (Hunter), and Kateri McRae (Variance)

Data analysis: Dominic Beaulieu-Prévost (Hunter), David Nelson-Gal (Scribble)

Report coordination, graphics, layout & design: Rebecca Mason (B^2), Aaron Shev (Murse), Dana Lilienthal DeVaul (DV8), David Nelson-Gal (Scribble), Jason Lankow, & John Nicholson

The 2015 Census Lab: The project also involved more than 150 volunteers whose contributions were essential in many ways: research collaborators, volunteer coordinators, statisticians, camp builders, gate samplers, keypunchers, census lab hosts, graphic designers, and many more. These contributors will globally be referred to as “the Census Lab”. We would also like to thank the Burning Man organization for the resources that they provided both on playa and off playa and for believing in the project.

18 comments on “Burning Man 2015 By The Numbers Part 2 – Census Highlights


    • The Census team does a random sample, of more than 1,000 people, halted within the traffic at Gate, and on the Burner Express bus, in the manner the Census team has done for the prior four burns, purposed to correct for whom might answer the Census form queries. The query of number of burns was within the random sample queries. Click on the blue 2015 Census link for information in these regards.

  2. Kudos to the Census team for their labours for doing an accurate census, and for doing the query of number of prior burns, again, the query was not within the 2014 Census sample count.

    The Borg replaced the prior counter culture Burner community, changing Burning Man from a community whom threw the event in a bottoms up crowd sourced manner, to a festival controlled in a most top down manner. In due of there were 67,564 paid participants, and near to 7,500 volunteers, the Census numbers are of

    Prior burns (number of people)
    0 35.8% (27,000)
    1 20.9% (16,000)
    2 12.2% (9,000)
    3-4 11.1% (8,000)
    5-7 10.7% (8,000)
    8-10 4.7% (3,500)
    11+ 4.6% (3,500)

    The Borg is curious of the rationale of why we are most pissed in these regards. At the least, 25,000 tickets are within the directed sale of 2016, might the Borg have placed 25,000 tickets within the directed sale beginning within 2012, in the place of radical inclusion of numerous spectators attending an awesome festival, and the Borg taking many millions of dollars of cash towards their pockets in the place of paying the costs of others whom threw the event, it might be much different. In the manner Larry Harvey stated on the Charlie Rose show within 2014 ‘We never said we were not capitalists.’

  3. I love filling out the census every year. I list one of the 47 different genders as determined by Facebook. The BMorg is so concerned with participants sexuality that I’m convinced they masturbate while reading the submissions. So I always give them something to fantasize about.

    Does anyone actually complete the census with truthful answers?

  4. Interesting stats, thanks for the post. Wondering if Disney collects similar numbers? If I don’t forget (half-heimers), I’ll ask next month. Taking the family there for week – no RV, staying at one of the many hotels although the RV camping areas is very nice. Curious if the demographics are similar for race and religion, pretty sure Disney would not quiry sexual preferences, and there is a “private” club there for the .1%-ers, so the income requirements and costs are now comparable. Both trademarked brands with slick R-rated videos 😉 but BM still has a long way to go on revenues streams… just say’n.

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