All you other folks can’t deny, when a survey walks in with series of detailed questions and adequate sample size… I just get really excited okay?
I had just under 300 respondents, and while the data is heavily skewed to North America, I was really happy to get people answering from all over the world. It’s still kind of crazy to me that people in like, the Philippines and Australia read my blog? Ideally the sample size would have been much larger, but maybe in a few years I can do this again with more replies. It’ll be interesting to see how things change over time.
Today I’ll just be covering the basic overview of Demographic results, with the costume and convention results to follow each week after. Then later this month I’ll delve into more detailed analysis of trends and how location, income and more affects how we cosplayers approach costumes and conventions.
The Demographics of Cosplayers
As I mentioned, the audience of this blog –and by extension this survey– was heavily skewed to North American residents, with Canada and the United States making up the overwhelming majority of respondents.
It’s worth noting that two answers were in error, listing Akrotiri and Antigua & Barbuda as the country of residence but Massachusetts as their state of residence… my geography might be a little shaky when it comes to smaller countries, but pretty sure a small nation on Cyprus and islands in the Caribbean are not part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Again, this question is a symptom of survey bias, and also geographical bias. The United States has 50 states (plus colonies) while Canada only has 13 provinces and territories. By default, if we have the same amount of surveyed cosplayers that are Canadian and American, the corresponding percentages of Provinces will be larger. As a result, Ontario, the most populated of Canada’s provinces, is kind of eating the chart. Because it’s got so many segments, I’ll post a more in depth breakdown of Provincial and State percentages in a separate post.
Again this is going to be a victim of bias, with results skewing towards younger people who read a beer and tea-fuelled blog about swearing at sewing and sighing at helpful cats, but cosplayers are mostly in their younger twenties. But all hope is not lost to us entering the third decade of our lives or beyond! While cosplayers will drop the hobby or reduce their interaction with it as they age and have families or other hobbies, the hope is that a significant portion will retain their interest. (Un?)fortunately Cosplay is still in it’s early ‘boom’ years and we won’t know trends over time without more surveys in the future to compare results with.
I, for one, plan to be making and sewing until my cybernetic eyes get dull and my augmented fingers can no longer hold a needle.
I’m eager to see the relationship between age and the choices made in costumes and conventions, but that’ll have to wait until I can look at the numbers in more detail.
Unsurprisingly the survey results show women dominate the sphere of cosplay. Whether it’s the socially accepted ‘feminine’ nature to want to sew and dress up, or the creator nature of female fandom, women outnumbered the men (including Trans FtM) nearly 8 to one. I was happy to discover that there was also a substantial segment of genderfluid or other respondents, almost as many as there were men.
There’s reports out there that us youngun’ Millenial-types are the gayest generation around today with 7% identifying as LGBTA*. Cosplay is that on steroids. Our results are that 44% of cosplayers surveyed identify as LGBTA*. We’re hella gay, folks.
…it amuses me more than it should that this pie chart is full of rainbow colours. Yes I know the pie charts are all full of rainbow colours, but still.
I’ll admit that the results of this question surprised me. I really expected a greater diversity of ethnicities instead of the pac-man of caucasia at 79% of all respondents. The next two most common ethnicities were Southeast Asian ( including but not limited to Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Malaysia) at 8% and Chinese at close to 4%.
Just as an explanation of terms, in Canada University and College are two separate things. University is for Bachelor’s Degrees, Master’s and beyond with a focus on academic learning over skills. College is much more like an American trade school or practical skills based learning, taking fewer years to complete.
To anyone that says cosplayers are uneducated, this should provide evidence to the contrary. Holy crap. We are some smart, educated people! Almost 50% of respondents have a degree from a university and 13% have a College diploma. Over 80% of respondents have some sort of post-secondary learning. Keep in mind that with 9.5% of cosplayers in the survey being between 16-19 years old, some of us are still in secondary school.
Oh man. Look at us! We’re all diversely employed and stuff. Like the provincial and state results, I’ll break this down in a separate post. But the majority of us work in either retail/service or the arts.
So we might be educated, but as most Millenials know, that doesn’t mean we’re rich. (ahahahaha, man, imagine if education meant corresponding steady employment? What a riot. *quiet sobbing under desk*)
Clearly, cosplay does not make one rich.
When it comes to having a physical disability, the rate of cosplayers is only half the Canadian rate (13.7%) at 7%. The number might be lower due to the younger age of cosplayers. We’ve had less time to suffer accidents or breakdown of bodies than the aging Canadian population as a whole.
I think it’s worth an article or three in the future, examining the challenges of cosplaying and attending cons while managing a physical disability, and how to help improve their experiences.
I’ve spoken about this with friends in the past, but I’ve noticed the number of cosplayers living with mental illness is surprisingly high. The Canadian average of adults experiencing mental illness at some point in their life is 20%, while the results of this survey show a rate nearly double that. I’m curious what it is about cosplay that attracts people managing a mental illness, and definitely want to investigate this in the future.
I looked for average rate of chronic illness, but unfortunately in the limited time I had, I wasn’t able to come up with a satisfactory number to compare our rate to. However, I am curious to see how the almost 20% of respondents with a Chronic Illness relates to cosplay and convention habits. I strongly suspect I’m not alone in being less productive because of my health situation.
Next week I’ll have up the results and initial analysis of Cosplay habits: how we got started, how many we wear or make a year and what we like to make best!
Thanks for indulging my Data Nerd interests,