Anime and Religion Survey: Introduction

In mid-December, I conducted an Internet survey regarding anime and religion.  The results are in, analysis done, and conclusions drawn!  Over the next week, I’ll reveal the results and discuss some of the most interesting items from the surveys.  I hope you’ll join in the discussion and offer your own opinions, analysis, and critiques.

The first thing I want to note, and maybe the most important thing I learned in this process, is that the anime blogosphere is full of wonderful people.  I was overwhelmed with the response to the survey and the many encouraging words about it.  Connected through blogs, twitter, podcasts, forums, emails and other methods, anibloggers have formed a digital family, and it showed through your response to this beginner’s crude survey.

Thank you.

And a special, super-duper thanks to Lauren of Okatu Journalist, who along with her boyfriend, took much of their precious time to create the awesome infographics you’ll see in these posts.  I’m beyond grateful to you two!

Another thing I should note is that there were many who were unhappy with the survey – some were vocal in their dislike, while I’m sure others held back their displeasure.  I’d written up a large commentary about problems with the survey, but I think it’s better just wrapped up with a couple of words:

I’m sorry.

For any people who were angered by my wording, lack of wording, disorganization, leading questions, and so forth, I’m sorry.  Whether I intended these things to happen or not, and whether I have experience with surveys or not, I should’ve considered these issues before sending out the survey en masse.  My apologies.

Now, onto the results!  Each day this week, I’ll discuss a different aspect on the survey and give you some analysis.  Again, I encourage you to comment with your own takes.  Today, I just want to discuss demographics information from the surveys.  If you want to hear about all or most of the results, please read the Number, Numbers, Numbers section.  If you want the short of it, just skip ahead to The Skinny.  And please be sure to read my conclusion section, What It All Means, and comment on whether I missed the point entirely, if you think I need to make some additions, or otherwise how you would break down this information.

Number, Numbers, Numbers
I received 124 responses to the survey and I sent out approximately 150-200 invitations.  That said, some invitations were sent more than once to the same person, and some invitations were sent to inboxes accessed by multiple people.  Still, the response was better than I expected.  I had hoped I would received 100 completed surveys, but thought 50-75 would be more realistic.

Of those who responded to the age questions, a vast majority are 18 or older (93%).  They are almost split equally between groupings of 19-22 (31%), 23-28 (33%), and 29 and older (25%).  45% of anibloggers completed their education with a bachelors degree, while 13% hold post-graduate degrees.  Most (91%) are either attending college or have completed post-secondary schooling.  The numbers are less impressive when including those that didn’t answer – considering this, 52% hold bachelors or post-grad degrees.

Male anibloggers (55%) outnumber females (29%) almost two to one (others did not answer).

Regarding race, 59% of respondents are white.  The second largest category is Asians, who make up 29%.  Three respondents identified themselves in the “other” category as either Hispanic or Latino.  Five anibloggers identified themselves as black, and four as Native-American.  Also note that individuals in this category could select multiple choices to represent multiethnic backgrounds.  However, only four individuals selected more than one choice.  On a personal note, had I taken the survey, I would’ve selected two choices (white and Asian).

51% of respondents were born in the United States and 6% in the United Kingdom.  The remaining 22% who answered were born in a wide range of places, from Hong Kong to France to Bangladesh.  However, all answers were countries in North America, Europe or east Asia.  No one entered an African, Oceanic, South American, Carribean, or central/south Asian nation.  However, 21% did chose not to respond to this question.  Responses were similar to the question of which country one currently lived in.

Finally, the “languages spoken on a basic conversational level” answers were very interesting.  84% of those surveyed speak English well.  Next was Japanese – nearly 20% of respondents speak that language well.  And in a virtual tie for third were French, German, Mandarin and Spanish.  The other languages mentioned were Cantonese, Tagalog, Russian, Hebrew, Czech, Portuguese, Hakka, Malay, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, and Norwegian.

The Skinny
Out of the 124 respondents, 93% are 18 or over, with almost the same amount current attending college or already graduated from an institution of higher education.  Males outnumber females about 2 to 1.  Over half identify themselves as white, and more than 1/4 are Asian.  At least half of anibloggers were born in the U.S.; others were born in one of a number of different nations.  84% speak English well and about 1 out of 5 speaks Japanese well.

What It All Means
If anything, this survey shows the wide range of those blogging about anime.  That a “typical” blogger may be a white, 20-something male attending college and living in the U.S. will come as no surprise.  I am surprised by the ages of the bloggers.  Fully one-fourth of the respondents have hit the age of 30 or will in the next year.  At least 60% are older than the age we normally associate with college students.  College is a relatively free time for many, so I expected the number of college bloggers to be much higher than 28%.  I believe this supports the idea that aniblogging is more than a whim for the respondents; it is a serious hobby.  After college, work and family comes to the forefront of many individuals’ lives.  Yet, these postgrads dedicate time to blogging about anime, when there is already a preponderance of aniblogs out there.  It’s worth it, to them, to continue with this hobby despite time constraints.

Then again, perhaps responsibility catches up with us all.  Perhaps the time of life has as much to do with the trend of many blogs closing after two years as disenchantment.  Maybe anibloggers are reaching an age of marriage and children (I failed to ask about this!), and that has as much to do with many dropping out recently as does the disappointing 2010 year of anime.

Interesting to see the breakdowns, isn’t it?  Any conclusions you want to draw?  Any numbers especially stick out to you?

Tomorrow, we’ll jump into the purpose of the survey and discuss the religion of the responding anibloggers.

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About TWWK

TWWK, known to outlaws and lawmen alike as Charles, lives deep in the heart of Texas, where he drives cattle and boot scoots (not really - though he does sport a pair of rattlesnake boots). Somehow in this frontier, he also finds time for his wife, children, and church. Oh, and anime, too.

Posted on 02.21.2011, in Religion, Religion Survey and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Will of the Wisps

    First of all, thank you for releasing the results. They will certainly be interesting to read.

    However, I would like to point out that demographic data are often used in studies to prove that the sample studied is like the population, not to infer about the population, at least from my experience. Therefore, it could be that your participants are older in age rather than a statement that all anime bloggers are on average older in age than expected.

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    • Thanks for the information. I’ve little experience with studies, surveys, and statistics, so I’m sure I’ll be learning as much or more than those visiting my site in the next few days.

      Of course, this survey is anything but scientific. I’ll make inferences that I think the statistics will support – but they’ll be highly debatable.

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  2. 1. The Internet is a terrible place full of terrible people who unleash their terribleness onto other people because they do not have to pretend to be nice to anyone because they choose to disregard God. People call the Internet a big leveller, but I think of it as the great revelation of the human spirit. It’s all black inside, metaphorically speaking.

    2. #drmisforeveralone

    3. If you had sent out more emails to places like animesuki or hongfire, you might have gotten a different set of data.

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    • 1. Haha, pessimistic point for sure, but I agree with you at least somewhat. I’m amazed at how people can be so full of venom online – and you’re right, a lot of it is because they don’t have to put up a front. The Internet is a “safe place” in this respect for one to say whatever is on his or her mind, no matter how rotten.

      2. :(

      3. These surveys were just for the aniblogging community. Surveying anime fans in general is a much bigger proposition, and one I don’t know if I’ll undertake in the future (though I’m interested in doing so).

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  3. I guess I wouldn’t go quite as far as Drmchsr0. I would say the internet is only 99.999% black inside. :)

    That being said, no doubt a different set of people surveyed would give different results. I get this all the time with teacher evaluations. One year my survey results in a particular class put me in the bottom 10% of teachers at my institution. The next year, in the same class (different students obviously), I was in the TOP 10%. Sure, I made some changes in between, but you cannot convince me that the error bars on these things are anything short of laughably huge. The surveys tell me much more about my students than about myself.

    Not that I mean to disparage the results of this survey. It’s just that they need to be taken with a grain (cup? bucket?) of salt, like all survey results. :)

    >College is a relatively free time for many, so I
    >expected the number of college bloggers to be
    >much higher than 28%.

    One would think so, but again my experience being among college students every day is the opposite. They are anything but free. They are pulled in more different directions than ever before, certainly more so than I was as a college student centuries ago, it seems to me. How this affects what they do in their free time, and whether or not it involves watching anime, is another subject of course. :)

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    • Maybe it’s how we define free time. I think of “free time” as time where you can choose to do what you want, as opposed to HAVING to work, HAVING to rear children, HAVING to meet obligations – while all these HAVING’s may actually be things we also WANT to do, I think the typical college student doesn’t have as many HAVE’s, hehe. They’re pulled in all sorts of directions, for sure, but they can choose to go in these directions because they want to, rather than because responsibility dictates they must.

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  4. Wow, some of that data IS surprising indeed. I expected more Asians, and less middle-aged for that matter ^^;; I wonder how the email list was picked atm x) Method of sampling is everything in a poll after all~

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    • I actually expected fewer Asians…perhaps because I’m new to the aniblogging community and my expectations may have been off. :P

      Over a span of several months, I added as many current (or at least recently) active blogs to my Google Reader as possible. I then contacted every one possible through any contact information available on the blogs. Of course, that leaves out hundreds of active blogs (I’ve added dozens to my reader since I sent this survey out), but I think I least got to most that I guess would be considered part of the aniblogging “community.”

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  5. I was wondering when you’d get around to posting the survey results =) I thought maybe you did already and I missed it.

    I half match the average results here and half don’t – I live in America, speak English primarily, am an anime blogger, and am around college age. But I’m different in that I’m female and am not currently in college. Also, it’s interesting that you say college is a relatively free time to start up something like blogging – during my two years at university, I had to put my blog on hiatus because I was too busy with my studies to keep it up (I did try to blog as much as I could on holidays though). I would say it’s easier to find time to blog if you’re working part-time rather than being a full-time student. Of course, it depends on the person.

    Looking forward to the nitty gritty results coming up~

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    • Haha, yeahh…things kept coming up. I’m putting these up about 3 weeks later than I’d planned. I was ready to go last week, but I wanted to avoid what I thought might be a plethora or Valentine’s Day-themed posts by other bloggers.

      Hmmm…I guess you have a point about “free time.” I think I’m comparing full-time employment to full-time college student, but as you say, it’s different for everyone.

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      • I definitely have more time to blog, and to do other things, now that I’m working full time than I had when I was a university student. Also blogging takes a little thought (without making any grand claims for it) and sometimes I didn’t want to do any thinking after spending a hard day thinking at the university library. My job doesn’t require as much thought.

        But yes, different for everyone.

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        • Maybe I’m completely off here. Or maybe my college experience was much easier than others’. Or…and I think this might be it…I don’t remember much of what it was like being a full-timer before having children. I’m often arrogantly dismissive these days when people without kids tell me they’re busy (“Really…you think YOU’RE busy?).

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          • That’s a good point, not only do children cause busyness, I suppose they’re important enough that it’s an unavoidable busyness. I have hobbies and projects which use up the time I would use looking after children if I had them, but I can drop any hobby pretty much instantly.

            There might also be a difference in university culture at play. My uni expected students to wrap up their undergraduate degrees in three years, with no excuses for delay accepted short of serious illness. American friends I’ve spoken to have given me the impression that they’re allowed to control the speed of their studies a bit more.

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            • Three years…yes, that definitely makes a difference. In the U.S., the norm is four years. Add to that many who take longer than four, and some majors that require fewer classes than others, and you get major differences in “free time.” Also, many students work or have other unique obligations, and that certainly affects free time.

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  6. Very interesting! I’m definitely surprised at how many older people are apparently involved.

    I can’t for the life of me remember if I took this survey. I know I took A survey at some point since joining the blogging community, but can’t remember where.

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  7. “Older people,” hehe. -_-‘

    You may have, but I don’t think you did…I don’t think I starting visiting your blog until just after these surveys were due. Buuuut…I’m pretty sure you’ve made a comment about your faith here on my blog somewhere…

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