Who is reading this blog? (Results)

In my last post, I offered a survey to find out who my readers are.  And I found out some interesting things about you …

1.  Over half of you identify primarily as Pagan/Neo-Pagan (35%) or Wiccan/Witch (17%).

This was not surprising, considering the makeup of the larger Pagan community.  There is also the fact that I identify as Neo-Pagan and my practice and my thought is sometimes Wiccanesque, so it’s not surprising that my readers would be reflective of this.  Eleven percent (11%) of you identify primarily as polytheist.

I know a lot of you were bothered that you couldn’t choose more than one.  Sorry about that.  I think there are advantages and disadvantages to doing it both ways.

2.  Two-thirds of you (65%) have been part of the Pagan community less than 20 years.

Most have belonged for either less than 5 years (26%) or between 11 and 20 years (26%).  It could be a statistical fluke, but I wonder what happened to the demographic in-between (6-10 years) which only had 12%.

3. About two-thirds of you (68%) have little in-person contact with the Pagan community.

Most of you answered “rarely to never” (47%) or “a few times a year” (21%).  By all accounts, this is increasingly common in our digital age.

4.  Most of you are between 30 and 50 (53%).

The results formed a nice bell curve.  This placed your median age in your late 30s, which was older than I expected, but not surprising that most of the people reading my blog would be around my age (39).

5.  Most of you have a 4-year college degree (65%).

And a plurality of you (38%) have done post-graduate work.  This was a little surprising, as it is far above the national average: 28% Bachelor’s degree and 10% advanced degree.  This could be somewhat reflective of blog readers generally though.

As far as your demographics go, it’s interesting to note that I would fall into the same mean range as my readers as far are religious identification/participation, age, and education.

6.  A plurality of you (41%) read Pagan blogs primarily for theological or philosophical discussion.

That was a bit surprising, as I expected more people to choose spiritual inspiration (15%) or practical advice (3%).

7.  Almost half of you (49%) read blogs daily and three-fourths of you (70%) follow less than 10 blogs regularly.

If you’re like me, you have found it impossible to follow more than a handful of blogs regularly, in spite of my desire to read many times more than that.  I should have broken this down more to find out who reads 5 or fewer regularly.

8.  A third of you (36%) are bloggers.

The results for this “Check all that apply” question were skewed, because a third of the respondents skipped this question (because I forgot to include a “none of the above” response).  So I had to recalculate the percentages myself.  Still, I think the fact that a third of you are bloggers reinforces Jason Mankey’s suspicion that we are something of an echo chamber.  Eleven percent (11%) of you blog at a community blog like Patheos.

9.  Twenty percent (20%) are published (either by a press or self-published).

Fourteen percent (14%) of you are academics.  Again, this is far above the national average, but could be more reflective of blog readership generally.

10.  A surprising number of you (1/4) are teachers/leaders/facilitators for other Pagans (24%).

I didn’t know how to make sense of this response in light of the fact that most of you (68%) have little contact with the Pagan community.  I assume the one fourth of who are leaders are not the same as the two thirds who are staying home.  Or maybe there is more online leadership going on than I was aware of.  Nine percent (9%) of you are clergy.

What do you want more of from The Allergic Pagan?

I also found out that most of you want more of the same from The Allergic Pagan –  theology, personal experiences, analysis of the Pagan community, book reviews, discussion of ritual and ritual scripts (in that order).

There were a couple of exceptions.  Very few of you wanted to see more discussion of Mormonism, and a negligible number of you wanted more drama and controversy.  Neither of these findings was surprising.  For all the online traffic that the blogo-controversies in the last couple of years have created, most people I have talked to lately are saying they are sick of it and are deliberately refusing to engage in it.  Contrary to some of the accusations I have heard, I have never written to draw “hits”.  The amount of money I receive from Patheos ($50/month) is negligible in comparison to my day job as an attorney.  There has only been once when I received more than the baseline minimum, and that was after Anne Rice wrote about one of my posts (about vampires) on her Facebook page.  (I admit to being gratified by that.)  And I’d rather be read by 100 people who really care than 100,000 who don’t.  While I hope we will continue to engage each other over difficult and controversial issues, I am glad to see that we are developing strategies as an online community to avoid the sensationalizing of our religion.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and especially to those who left encouraging comments in response to the last question.

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  • JasonMankey

    Fascinating! I’m not surprised by some of your results, I’ve always figured that you probably skew more towards graduate and post-graduate readers. I’m heartened to read that people are sick of blog-controversies. I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid them over the last couple of months.

    • Oididio

      Same here. The flame wars, controversies and petty squabbles really bring down the community as a whole. The combat culture that’s taken over in our society is just exhausting and unproductive.

    • Sunweaver

      So say we all.
      I’ve been an entirely unintentional participant in these and find them frustrating and fruitless. I’d much rather have readers go “My, isn’t that interesting!” and generally respond in a way that is additive to our understanding and not snipey or mean. “Ur doin’ it rong!” doesn’t add anything to Pagan theological understandings.

      For what it’s worth, it seems I fall neatly into the demographic. Late 30′s, MS degree, also blogging on Patheos.

      This blog is one of the bright spots of Patheos Pagan and thank you for doing science on it.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

        Thank you so much!

    • yewtree

      Where I have delved into the controversies over recent months, it has only been to try and say something constructive or helpful.

      I agree, some of the controversies have been quite destructive. Not because there’s anything wrong with having an argument, but because of how the argument was had.

  • Fritz Muntean

    Well done. Thanks for this. I’m particularly gratified to see such an impressive number of the university-trained amongst us. Kinda helps understand the autodidacts (aka ‘independent scholars’). They may be loud, and they may be overrepresented in certain fora, but there simply aren’t that many of them.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      Fritz, for someone who got a formal education relatively late in life, you are quite an academic snob.

      • Fritz Muntean

        True dat.

  • Oididio

    Love this study, thanks John.

  • Northern_Light_27

    Interesting study! Glad to see the note about the lack of “none of the above” for the bloggers, teachers, clergy, etc.– not everyone’s a leader of some kind, not everyone should be a leader and that’s really okay. BTW, I identified primarily as “polytheist” as the best of a bunch of options that don’t really fit, and as I recall there wasn’t an “other”, was there? Cultural identification would really trump whether I see there being many gods, but there wasn’t any kind of “cultural reconstructionist” type option. I see the most visible people who ID as “polytheist” as doing something much different than I’m seeking to do.

    I admit to being one of the few who said “more drama and controversy”, even if I clicked the button with tongue firmly in cheek. Seriously, though, while I don’t always agree with your conclusions or the method you used to get to them, I like *that* you sometimes look at a practice, a wording, or a theology and say “wait, hold up, that bothers me and here’s why”, and you’ll say it even if you know it’s going to get you flamed. I never get the sense that you’re doing it to deliberately say “ur doin it rong”, but because you honestly want to look at the thing you do and we do, turn it around from different angles and see how it ticks– and you’ll post your conclusions even if you know it’ll disquiet other people and (I get the sense) even if it disquiets *you*. By all means word it in a way that’s less likely to provoke drama if you can, but please keep doing that analyzing thing you do as you document your journey, the discussion it prompts is a net good thing, I think.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/ John H Halstead

      Thank you! I’m going to come back and read this comment the next time I start to get discouraged.


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