Blog Demographics 2015 Edition: If Life Were a Game, You Would Be Champions
It’s time for our annual review of the blog community demographics! Actually, I hadn’t realized it since we’re busy launching the global asset management firm but a few of you sent me messages asking where it was so I wanted to take some time out to get the latest numbers up for you.
The short version: Continuing the usual trend of winning, it will likely surprise no one that, since last year, you’ve managed to grow a bit older, mostly richer, and better educated. When people talk about the top of the socioeconomic bell curve, they are speaking about many of you. This community is extraordinary. I know I say it every year but I mean it: I wish this were a television show because with numbers like these, I could charge advertisers millions of dollars an episode. You are a marketing dream; young, smart, deeply passionate about certain things, with large amounts of disposable income.
The long version: Let’s get right into it.
Female readers were slightly, but not meaningfully, declined from 29% to 26%. The biggest story was the huge drop in younger-than-18-year-old readers, which coincided with a large gain in 35-44 year old community members, who became the largest demographic, barely beating the 25-34 age group.
The $50,000 and under income group, which dominates the United States, is vastly underrepresented. Meanwhile, compared to the benchmark, you are 4% more likely to make $50,000 to $100,000 per annum, 43% more likely to make $100,000 to $150,000 per annum, and 114% more likely to make $150,000 or more. Contrasted to last year, the overall ranking of $0 to $50,000 families fell 2% while the $150,000+ families rose 2%. I have no way to prove it but I’d like to hope it was people moving up the socioeconomic ladder, which seems a reasonable hypothesis as the type of man or woman likely to hang around reading personal finance and investing articles is the type to want to grow his or her income and net worth; not to mention the regular deluge of messages I get about how many of you have paid off all of your debts, bought your first business, saved your first $100,000, or some other victory that makes me smile every single time it shows up in the inbox (even if I haven’t responded to you – and it’s overwhelming with another 1,500+ messages not, yet, read, I do try to eventually get to them all, sometimes months or years after the fact; it’s a random probability thing, I dive in and start replying).
Alternatively, if you want to think about it another way, there is more than a 1 in 5.55 chance that a reader earns at least $12,500 per month, and a 1 in 3 chance he or she earns at least $8,333 per month despite being young. Think of the beautiful compounding ahead of you! All of that college and grad school paid off – you’re 15% more likely to have an undergraduate degree and 107% more likely to have a master’s or higher.
As the readership has aged a bit, you’re now slightly more likely than the typical person to have children with a little more than 1 out of 2 of you being a parent. (Aaron and I can’t wait to someday join you all, crossing over that particular line.)
When it comes to ethnicity, the stats almost perfectly mirror what you would expect given the income and educational attainment as cross-referenced with the Census Bureau data. Caucasians are exactly represented in proportion to their overall population level, African Americans and Hispanics are significantly under-represented, and Asians are 110% more common here than in the broader benchmark.
In fact, Asians are so overrepresented in the community compared to the general population, we’ve now reached a point where nearly 1 in 10 blog readers are Asian. I have no idea the degree to which my oddly close, multi-generational family dynamics, non-controllable addiction to Japanese RPGs, Korean dramas, affinity for business success, background in classical music, and trying new stir fry recipes with loads of red pepper paste plays into having created this situation but I’m going to envision you are all as cool, well-dressed, and funny as Do Min Joon and Cheon Song Yi, whom I still refuse to accept are not a real couple because they are perfect for each other and should live happily ever after. LET ME LIVE IN MY FANTASY! I need to rewatch that series …
Speaking of wardrobes – yes it is relevant as you’ll see in a moment – women make up around 1 out of every 4 people in the community and are largely split into two camps when viewed from an apparel shopping demographic. A slightly larger percentage of you fall into the $1,600+ fur-trimmed coat-wearing, Mercedes-driving, you-know-everyone-is-doing-a-double-take-when-you-walk-by contingent (e.g., you are 1.65x more likely than the typical Internet reader to buy your clothes from designer Diane von Furstenberg, who ranks as your number one choice of apparel), while the next largest group consists of the Birkenstock-wearing modern hippy vegetarians.
Also on the shopping front:
- You vastly prefer Starbucks coffee over cheap brands like Maxwell House and Folgers by huge margins.
- You wash your clothes with Tide and appear to have nothing but contempt for Gain.
- Your fabric softener of choice is Bounce.
- You are much less likely than the general public to drink any sort of carbonated beverage, including Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper.
- When you do indulge your sweet tooth, it’s likely to be Haagen-Dazs ice cream, Chobani greek yogurt, or some sort of Pepperidge Farm snack.
- You are 1.32x more likely than the benchmark to use Neutrogena products.
- You’re 1.31x more likely to use a Swiffer to clean.
- Gentlemen, you are 1.16x more likely to use Dove Men products (ladies, it’s 1.28x for you when it comes to St. Ives).
- You are 1.57x more likely to stay at an upscale hotel when you travel, 1.39x more likely to opt for a midscale hotel.
- You are 1.44x more likely to eat Kosher, 1.36x more likely to want to eat natural foods, 1.34x more likely to be vegetarian (in absolute numbers, though, an overwhelming number of you are still meat eaters), and more likely than average to worry about maintaining a healthy weight / maintaining an active lifestyle.
- You are still technology junkies. If it is electronic, new, and does something cool, you buy it. Apple, Android, Linux, Windows … doesn’t matter, you want it all. Phones, tablets, computers, televisions. In fact, according to another data source I use to benchmark demographics, two of the top affinity categories into which you fall are “technophiles” and “avid investors”.
- A good amount of you also have significant investment or employment involvement in the real estate field.
- Chrome is the most popular browser (33.76% of sessions) followed by Safari (28.19%).
- Windows is the most popular operating system (49.49%) followed by iOS (22.33%), Mac OS (13.95%), and Android (10.68%)
- The most popular screen resolution is 1366×768. I don’t know how you do it. I want at least 2560×1440 or, if in a bind, 1920×1080. Maybe it’s an obsession left over from getting my first pair of glasses as a child and being amazed I could see individual leaves on a tree. I don’t ever want to go back to a world of fuzzy. (On the extreme end, a little more than 1% of you are running 5K monitors. There’s also someone running a 960×36441 resolution. How does that even work?)
On the automobile front, you like foreign cars.
When you strip out the luxury models, the most popular individual cars include the Honda Odyssey, the Honda Pilot, and the Chevrolet Tahoe.
As for politics, while independents are slightly overrepresented, we largely self-identify almost perfectly in alignment with the broader public on party identity. There isn’t a lot of heavy ideology in the community, which makes me proud. Somehow, someway, we’ve built a community of rational pragmatists; where people from all over the spectrum come together to talk about everything from economics to philosophy.
This gives me comfort given that I’ve already grown weary of the upcoming Presidential election; the exhaustive click-whirr responses from people who have somehow bought into one particular candidate or party as if it were a secular religion with endless rants on whatever it is they don’t like, never talking about specific policies, instead. There are so many things that most Americans agree upon it makes no sense to me that a huge percentage of folks are busy trying to choose a team, as if this were a football game; turning it into an exercise in tribalism and identity rather than an intellectual pursuit of reasoned solutions.
I don’t say this enough: Thank you. To each and every one of you who contributes to this community, I appreciate you and what you do. You help make me clarify my thinking. It’s a joy to discuss (and in some cases, debate) complex ethical and moral issues with you. It’s a thrill to watch you go from victory to victory in your own lives; to hear about the companies you start, the new career paths you pursue, the additional dividend streams you add to your collection. I’m not sure what I did to get lucky enough to have attracted so many interesting, successful, brilliant people in disciplines other than my own but I feel like I won the Internet lottery. Maybe in a year or two when I’m traveling more for the investment company, we can arrange real-world meetups in a few cities. I really would like to put faces to all the names.