Blag Hag 2011 Census Results Pt. 1

A big thanks to everyone who participated in the Blag Hag 2011 Census – a whopping 2167 readers filled out the survey! That’s almost 5 times as much as last year, and means the data will be even more robust. But remember – this data doesn’t necessarily represent atheists as a whole, but rather people who like reading this particular blog and taking surveys.

Like last year, here’s how I indicated statistical significance on graphs:
* P-value less than 0.05
** P-value less than 0.01
*** P-value less than 0.001
**** P-value less than 0.0001

Part 1 will focus on demographics. As always, click the image for a bigger version:The following is the break down of how people identified:

  • 1309 Male
  • 822 Female
  • 9 Transgender
  • 8 Transgender Male
  • 10 Transgender Female
  • 2 Transgender Male & Female
  • 7 Female & Male

I was planning on having an “Other” option, but totally forgot to click the box allowing that – my apologies to everyone who felt pigeonholed into any of these options.

While my readership is still significantly male biased, there has been a huge improvement since last year (72% Male and 27% Female).

Last year I pondered why a blog by a woman that frequently talks about feminism would still be male biased. Did male atheists really outnumber women? Were the ladies just not into blogs? Had they not found mine yet since it was so new? Was I still doing better than other atheist blogs? I’m not sure if I can narrow it down yet, but I did see some interesting gender differences in my other questions, so maybe those will help guide us to an answer.The overall age distribution is very similar to last year, with the most common age group being the one I fall into (I’m 23). Though a new interesting trend emerged this year – there is a 1:1 ratio of men to women in all the age groups under 30. In the other age groups, men significantly outnumber women.

What does this mean? There are a couple potential explanations:

  • Older women don’t like my blog, for whatever reason
  • Older men really like my blog (I should check if they’re the same ones who asked for more photos in the comment section…)
  • Younger atheists and skeptics are doing a much better job at being inclusive toward women

I personally hope the last one is true. It’s certainly supported by my personal experience. Student groups seem to be much more diverse than older organizations. Maybe this is more evidence for a trend in the right direction?Again, sexual orientation is almost identical to last year, and not surprising. Women tend to have more bisexual tendencies, which holds for the general public. I’m disappointed, though. My readership hasn’t become any gayer than last year! I’m failing at spreading Teh Gay as per the Evil Homosexual Agenda. Sigh.

Well, maybe. When you break age down by sexual orientation, you get this nifty graph:
It’s busy, but the take away point is that the younger you are, the more likely you are to use gayer labels. This is obviously because of Goal 1 of the Gay Agenda: Corrupt the youth. Not because of cultural differences in the acceptance of various terminology. I mean, just look at the under 15 age bracket. They’re certainly not trying to figure out their sexualities still – no, they just haven’t been completely brainwashed yet. Onward, gay minions!

But honestly, the number one thing these responses confirmed? It’s really hard to squeeze sexuality into neat little categories, even if it makes the stats easier. Many people listed themselves as pansexuals, biromantics, and questioning individuals.

Favorite open responses:

  • “try” sexual
  • Probably hetero, but as I’m extra virgin olive oil I don’t think I can make a definitive statement
  • Pansexual, leaning more towards hetero for companionship and homo for OOHBOOBIES


Last bit of demographic information: Education level.Wow, my readers are really well educated compared to the general public. I know not all of my readers are from the US, but just for a general comparison:

Education: General Public , Blag Hag Readers
High school grad: 86.68% , 98.06%
Some college: 55.60% , 93.17%
Assoc’s and/or Bachelor’s: 38.54% , 66.82%
Some grad school: ??? , 14.26%
Master’s degree: 7.62% , 10.80%
Doctorate or prof degree: 2.94% , 5.81%

Now I know why I’m constantly corrected for my typos and poor survey making procedures, haha.

Stay tuned for Part 2, which will actually look at blog related questions. Feel free to discuss these interesting trends in the comments!


  1. BunyipAndler says

    Did you mix up the words homosexual and heterosexual in the sexual orientation graph broken down by age? That graph makes no sense when compared to the other one without age thrown in.Unless I’m totally missing something.

  2. says

    Why do older men read the blog as against older women? Being not old but not young (in my low 40’s), most women my age work full time and do a disproportionate amount of the child care and house work. Men simply have more time on their hands. Of course, that’s just a guess and possibly not a good one since the sex ratios are still fairly skewed in the mid 50’s and beyond.

  3. Lymie says

    Try some stacked bar graphs, like for that sex orientation vs age one, it makes things visually clearer.

  4. Icaarus says

    Jen, I’m trying to remember, did you ask for country in your survey. If not it would be interesting to see next year. (From the great white north)

  5. says

    That is so interesting! It looks like you’re doing better all around then.I also gotta commend you on doing relatively serious surveys on sexuality. Every time I see a survey it says “male or female”, and then they never publish any sort of crude error rates.

  6. Adam says

    Whoops! This is what I get for not paying attention enough. I sadly did not get to participate. However, I sure hope that those who participated are trying to be inclusive of women, even if those same women do not come and take your survey. Frankly I read your blog because of the intelligence and wittiness of it all.

  7. G Wiz says

    You might also add Vocational Degree – I couldn’t fill out the education part correctly – could only mark High School grad when in reality I have a bit higher than that.

  8. says

    I came across this article about education level and sexual orientation, particularly among women (…, about an hour after reading this post, and thought that a) you’d find it interesting, and b) you might want to see what your own data reflects regarding this.At the very least, I’d be interested in seeing the relationship between the two, and we could see whether the same holds true for men as for women, because now I’m really curious.

  9. Vanessa says

    On the sexual orientation by age graph, what do the numbers mean? Do they correspond to the Kinsey scale?

  10. says

    “Being not old but not young (in my low 40’s), most women my age work full time and do a disproportionate amount of the child care and house work.”THIS! I’m married to a pretty feminist man, but unfortunately we do still find ourselves falling into this pattern, especially when it comes to the house work. Sad but true.

  11. BrianSchaan says

    Wait, people actually correct you on things like typos? In that case, I hope you’ll forgive me for your use of “much” when it should have been “many” (“readers” is a countable noun — just as in the “less” vs. “fewer” issue). Having two English teachers as parents kind of beats the whole grammar Nazi thing into you…

  12. says

    As an older (46-50), white male, I can say that I read the blog *because* you’re a feminist and I’m and Old White Dude. I’m one of the “privileged” group in the USA, and now that I’m aware of how blinded I can be regarding issues that are important to women, I need to expose myself (no chuckles, please) to these issues so that I don’t remain an ignorant fool all my life! Frankly, I think I’m becoming a better husband as a result!For the record, I’ve never asked for more pictures of you. Feel free to post more, though. Especially if they include kittens! … or just picture of kittens. You’re cute and all, but who can compete with KITTENS?

  13. Pete says

    As an older (46-50), white male, and I constantly ask for pictures. I read your blog because you’re intelligent and funny. I usually only read technical blogs but the few personal ones I read are for the same reason.

  14. Ian says

    For the age vs. sex distribution, there may be some data that show older men are more likely internet users than older women, but I’m only speculating. If that’s true then it’s only statistics that give you the demographics you have.

  15. says

    …not sure I do.I do think that although things have evolved quite a bit, the ‘internet community’ is biased male, though. There are simply more males doing the ‘geeky’ stuff online. I also think that as the older generations start dying off, this will balance out.

  16. says

    Ouch. I was guessing it’d be because men first became more tech oriented and older men are the ones who got into internet sooner. This is even more sad explanation.

  17. mr dan says

    Long-time lurker, first time commenter. Even though I’m an outspoken atheist vlogger, I’ve never commented for a few reasons. ~ It’s not often that I disagree with you, and nobody wants to sift through a bunch of lame comments that say “I complee agreetly! 100%!”~ People come here to read your opinions and insight, not mine.~ You’ve already said anything I’d like to say.Still, since you asked…I think you’re totally rad and brilliant. reading Blag Hag is the only thing I do religiously.

  18. Suz says

    When I did the survey I was hoping you’d ask about college major or career in addition to education. I bet you attract a lot more scientists than other blogs.When I started my career as a chemist, there were only 2 female chemists at my company. 10 years later there were still more men but among chemists under 40, it was evenly split between men and women. That may partially explain the gender differences in the older respondents.

  19. JM says

    Interestingly enough, in the oldest age ranges, it is women who “took to” the internet. My parents and in-laws are typical (85+). Our mothers liked it for the social aspects. My father-in-law hasn’t any use for it. My father used their computer for word processing, but that’s all. In their generation, women were responsible for the family’s social life, for the most part.I think that another part of it is that our fathers retired before computers were commonly used in offices. That put them on common ground with their wives. And it was “technology”. So if they couldn’t pick it up fast enough to excel at it, they just ignored it. Also, they “didn’t type.”

  20. Jed says

    I can give one reason that godless young males read your blog (at least one big reason I read it) is that there seem to be relatively few young women who are both eloquent and vocal about being godless feminists. If a young male heathen wants to get that perspective this is a good place to go. It certainly does not hurt that you are getting an advanced degree in an empirical science and that your graphs are properly labeled. :D

  21. Georgia Sam says

    For 30+ years my job has been mostly survey research, & I say ignore the curmudgeons who give you crap how you do your surveys. Your survey is way better than most I’ve seen by people whose main occupation isn’t survey research, & better than some I’ve seen by people who do surveys all the time.

  22. NixNoctua says

    I’m thinking you should probably include “transgender males” in with “males” and “transgender females” in with “females” when you to the percentages. Although, it’s possible that someone who had put down “transgender m/f” might’ve meant “genderqueer m/f” and I’m not entirely sure how genderqueers like to get grouped. It may vary…this can get pretty complicated. *anime sweat drop* Don’t sweat over it, though. Just something to think about for next time.

  23. says

    What Gary said.I must admit though, this line did give me a chuckle”Older men really like my blog (I should check if they’re the same ones who asked for more photos in the comment section…)”

  24. NixNoctua says

    oh, ok, my bad. The gender one looked a little off. I should probably do my math better next time, heh.

  25. the_Siliconopolitan says

    Oh. I think I forgot to put down virgin this year. I don’t like having to fill in stuff, myself (even if it’s awesome that you give the option).I did use it for the referral, though, even if I was in principle directed here by PeeZed.

  26. says

    I guess I qualify as one of the “older” women readers, which really makes me sad. But leaving aside my personal issues for a moment, I think your blog is written from a younger person, in college, point of view. Maybe that isn’t as attractive to typical women “my age”. I wouldn’t know, I can’t speak for all 35 year olds. There have been maybe 2 times I clicked over here about to leave a negative comment about something you wrote. I decided not to, because it’s not my style, but also because I thought “oh, she’s young”. I realize that sounds patronizing, and that’s not my intention. (I’m good at saying things in person, but online, without the smile light tone…this is why I don’t say negative things).My point: your age is somewhat apparent in your writing. I don’t actually see why this should be a deterrent to readership, and I’m not saying it is. Just my personal observation.

  27. says

    It’s okay, I understand. I’m pretty sure once I’m 35 (or 45, or 55…) I’m going to look back on my writing and facepalm at some of the things I said :P

  28. Craig says

    As far as I’m aware, the data doesn’t support that idea (ie: “men have more time on their hands because they’ve only got one job, while women effectively have two”). See…Summary version: women, on average, spend more hours doing unpaid work. However, men, on average, spend more hours doing paid work, and when you add the two categories together, in most countries the total work hours per week comes out to be almost identical. The fact that the work done by women is less likely to be paid work is an obvious structural sexism problem, but the “women work twice as much as men” meme appears to be a myth (although, of course, it may be true in the case of any one particular couple).If anyone has any contradictory evidence (or a convincing critique of Burda et al.’s methodology) on this, I’d be happy to see it.

  29. Craig says

    Slight addendum to self: replace “most countries” with “most non-Mediterranean industrialised countries”. Burda et al. didn’t look at the developing world, and the Med countries in their sample (Spain, Italy, France) were notable outliers in which total female work hours significantly outstripped male work hours. I doubt that Jen has enough of an Italian following for this to be a major factor here, though.To quote: “Not only is total work time nearly equal by gender in each sample in the non-Mediterranean countries; the differences over this large part of the economically developed world are truly tiny. In the four Mediterranean samples, however, women work significantly more in total than men”(there were four Mediterranean samples because they had measures from two different time periods for Italy)

  30. quantheory says

    I think I was the only male Kinsey 4 (Yay uniqueness?). Although I do have to say, I identify as bi leaning gay, not “homosexual, more than incidentally heterosexual”. Maybe it would be better to just explain the scale, or label 0, 3 , and 6, rather than using all those labels (which I admit are standard, but sort of contribute to bi erasure)? I have to say this because, even though I lean towards gay, I was definitely tempted to just hit the “bisexual” button as a protest, even though I knew it was actually asking for Kinsey number.On a tangentially related note, I’ve always wondered if the paucity of male bisexuals is a real, biologically based sort of thing (plausible, since women’s sexuality, in a broad bell-curve-y sense, seems more fluid and less attached to specific physical appearances), or has more to do with some kind of greater cultural pressure to pick a label. I’ve definitely been in some subcultures where I’ve met a lot of bi guys, but I don’t know if that was by chance, or because those subcultures somehow attracted bisexuals, or because those subcultures were more permissive about labels, or what.

  31. quantheory says

    To clarify, I also suspect that this is why women have a discontinuous peak around the Kinsey 3 marker; I suspect that the label “bisexual” is pulling a lot of 2s and 4s in. It’s tempting to reply according to one’s one label rather than try to divine where one falls on the underlying scale.


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