More or Less: How Many Furries Are There?

Guest post by Ralphie Raccoon. 


Hi, I’m Ralphie Raccoon, and this is hopefully the first in a small series of short articles presenting some important and interesting (and perhaps some less important, but hopefully still interesting) questions about the fandom, and attempting to answer them as best as possible through the eyes of statistics and data. If you’re British and listen to Radio 4, or enjoy listening to the BBC World Service if you are from the rest of the world, you may have heard of the programme “More or Less”. Well, this is sort of like that. Except it’s a blog post, not a radio show. And it’s not on the BBC, it’s on [adjective][species]. And rather than a bunch of guest speakers, you just get me. Sorry about that. Anyway, I hope that you find these articles enjoyable, or, at the very least, slightly informative.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional (or even really an amateur) statistician. I have never taken, and probably will never take, a proper statistics course in my life. So if any professional (or amateur) statisticians notice any errors or incorrect terminology, feel free to come over to my house and beat me with a big stick (or just leave me some constructive feedback, whatever you prefer).

For this first article I’m going to try to answer what is perhaps the biggest question of all: Just how many of us are there? It certainly is an important question to answer. After all, a fandom’s popularity is defined by its size, and while we may still pale in comparison to other big fandoms like science fiction, anime and fantasy, in recent years our numbers have swelled as awareness grows, and some of the stigma begins to wither away.

Total attendances at furry conventions have grown by over 500% since 2003 (Wikifur), and it would be fair to assume that the fandom has probably grown by a similar amount, if not more. But while we instinctively know that the fandom has grown in recent years, it is hard to work out how big it has actually gotten. What are the chances, for example, if you got 100 random people into a room from around the globe, that one of them would be a furry?

It’s not an easy question to answer. The fandom is not a club, we do not have any way of knowing how many “members” there are, people are free to join and leave without notifying anyone. Censuses such as the Furry Survey are entirely optional, and while they do produce valuable data, it is not possible to extract an estimate of the total number of furries on earth purely from the number of responses. However, combined with the aggregate attendance data of conventions from Wikifur, there is another way…

The Convention Method

One way to calculate the population of something is by using a known quantity of a subset of that population, and knowing what percentage that subset was of the total population. To put it in laymen’s terms, if you had an unknown quantity of marbles, but you knew that 10 of them were green and 10% of the marbles were green, you would instantly know that you had 100 marbles. We can do a similar thing here, by using the aggregate attendance data of conventions as mentioned previously (the known quantity), along with data about what conventions furries attended in 2011 from the Furry Survey.

Now, we can’t just say that X% of the fandom attended a convention in 2011, as we know that many furries would have attended multiple conventions, but we do have data on which exact conventions (from a list of the most popular conventions) each responder to the furry survey attended in 2011. If we add up all the convention attendances, and divide them by the total number of responses

Total convention attendances (Furry Survey 2011) 0.4 conventions attended per response.
Number of responses (Furry Survey 2011)

So we now know that according to the Furry Survey, each furry on average attended 0.4 conventions in 2011. Now, if we take the sum of all the attendance numbers from conventions only from the list on the Furry Survey, in 2011, from Wikifur, and divide that by 0.4, we now have an estimate of the total number of furries in the world:

Sum of attendance at conventions listed in the Furry Survey in 2011 (Wikifur) = Sum of attendance at conventions listed in The Furry Survey in 2011 (Wikifur) × Number of responses (Furry Survey 2011)
0.4 Total convention attendances (Furry Survey 2011)

≈ 60,300

So there you have it, there were approximately 60,300 furries in the world in 2011. But is that really an accurate answer? As mentioned previously, the list of conventions that the Furry Survey collected data on attendance for was only limited to the most popular conventions, so many attendances at smaller conventions (particularly those from countries with small furry populations) would have been missed, meaning that the average convention attendance number is lower than it should be, and therefore there are less furries in the world than the statistic suggests.

However, my “gut instinct”, so to speak, actually points in the opposite direction, that 60,300 is actually too low a number, rather than too high. There really needs to be another estimate collected using different data, in order to give the number more (or less) credibility. You could use this methodology on something like, FA accounts, for example, as long as you could persuade Dragoneer to give you the numbers (If he’s kept any!). The more estimates like this that can be collected, the more certain we will become of an accurate number of people in the fandom.

There is also the issue of language. We perhaps assume that since the most popular furry websites are in English, and that most conventions are held in English speaking countries, that the vast majority of furries are at least proficient enough to be able to complete an internet survey. Is this a good assumption to make? Perhaps, but that is probably a whole other topic in itself*.

And finally, what about the question at the beginning, about the chances of there being a furry in a room of 100 people? Well, if we divide 60,300 by 7 billion, we can work out that approximately 0.0008% of the world’s population were furries in 2011. So to answer that question, if you got 100 random people into a room from around the globe in 2011, the chances of one of them being a furry would be approximately 1 in 125,000. Better odds than winning the lottery, I guess.

* This article was revised on 31 August to include this paragraph, which was mistakenly cut from the final version of the article. Bad editor-horse!

Coming soon: What is the “furriest” country in the world?


Ralphie Raccoon (not his real name, and he is not planning to ever change it to that) has a BSc in Special Effects Development at the University of Bolton and an MRes in robotics from the University of Plymouth, neither of which really had anything to do with statistics. He currently lives in a little house on a windswept hill just outside of the great northern English city of Manchester, known for its lively arts and music scene, trams the size of lorries, and rather excessive amounts of rain. At work he plays with big robots and deadly deadly lasers (no, really, that’s what he does. Trust me, it’s not as exciting as it sounds). Apart from hiding in trash cans and hissing at the neighbours cat, he also likes to watch TV, play computer games, burn himself on soldering irons in his workshop, and generally reflect on life and the universe in general.

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30 thoughts on “More or Less: How Many Furries Are There?

  1. Hi Ralphie, great stuff and congratulations on your first article for [a][s]. I was surprised by your number—like you, it’s an awful lot smaller than I expected—but it’s difficult to see any shortcomings in your method.

    Having had the time it’s taken to get this published to think about it (and as you know, it was a while), I have one idea: perhaps the furries who are more likely to answer surveys online are more likely to attend conventions? It makes logical sense, but whether that would make a material difference to your result, I don’t know.

    I’ll ask our very own furry scientist (and brand new recipient of a PhD), Nuka, to take a look and see what he thinks based on is learnings from the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. In conversation, he has said to me that there is reason to believe the Furry Survey dataset is a reflection of the whole of the furry community, which would add credence to your result. Anyway I’ll ask, hopefully he’ll pop in here and give his thoughts.

    1. Hey folks! Sorry I’m so late to the party! Spent the last week wrestling with the administrative nightmare that is graduating, preparing to teach at a new school, and preparing for a part-time post-doc >.<'

      Ralphie – I definitely laud your efforts at taking what seems like, at its core, an intractable problem and put it into concrete numbers. I think that your approach is a perfectly rational one, and I would agree that it is a worthwhile piece of data to consider.

      However, given the problem's complexity, I think it's worthwhile to go back to the very beginning and deal with the (admittedly less interesting) issues of definition and scope to figure out what, specifically, the question we're trying to answer is.

      The question you're starting out with, while simple, is extremely vague: "How many furries are there?" There's a reason social scientists don't ask questions this intuitive: because they leave WAY too much wiggle room and ambiguity. For example, reading this question, the first thoughts I have are:

      – How are you defining "furry"?
      – Where is "there"? In North America? The world? Are you interested in a "per 100,000" estimate or a census-type number?

      People are likely sick of hearing the "just what is a furry?" question, but it's critical to operationalize this before doing anything else. Because I fear that failure to do so can lead to gross under- or over-estimation of the fandom's size.

      For example: If you choose to operationalize "furry" as "anyone who self-identifies as a furry", you're going to have a far smaller estimate than if you operationalized it as "anyone who's got an interest in furry, whether they self-identify as a furry or not" or "anyone with furry-related interests, even if they're in denial about it". Moreover, if you operationalize it as "people who are actively involved in the furry community through convention attendance, forum participation, and local meet-ups", you're going to have a smaller estimate than if you defined it simply as "people with an interest in anthropomorphism."

      Now, this isn't necessarily a problem – There's nothing wrong with defining furries as "convention-going furries" or "furries who frequent furry websites". But it's something you need to make explicit and keep firmly in mind when making these sorts of estimates. Because if you're not clear about what question you're setting out to answer, you're going to run the risk of some considerable disagreement with others who may use different means and definitions for their estimation.

      Location is also key: You mentioned, in the end of your article, dividing by the world's population of 7 billion. But is this really accurate, given the methodology you've employed? You've collected information about convention attendance on an English-speaking website, and are attempting to generalize to the world population. Given that 36.5% of the world's population live in China and India alone, two countries that, I imagine, have populations that don't frequent English-speaking furry websites, you're already grossly overgeneralizing from the data from the existing data.

      So, how best to tackle this question? I propose the solution should be converging evidence through differing methodologies. It's obvious, given the number of ways to tackle the question and to define "furry" that there's no one "correct" answer here. Instead, I think we should be focused on getting as many different estimates from as many different sources of data as possible. Given the inherent flaws in any one methodology, converging methodology allows us to compensate for the limitations in any one method through the strengths of others.

      What might such alternate methodologies look like?

      – Traffic on the largest furry websites (Alexa ratings, unique visitors)
      – Web-based furry surveys on the most popular furry websites (Furaffniity, etc…)
      – Convention-based surveys (such as the IARP Anthrocon or Furry Fiesta surveys)
      – Snowball sampling procedures: Have furries send out survey invitations to all of the furries they know to try and catch those elusive furries who don't go to cons or frequent furry websites)
      – (Depending on your definition of "furry") Attendance of furry-themed events (e.g., box office numbers for furry-themed movies relative to comparable non-fury-themed movies)
      – Furry surveys / related fandom surveys in other countries (e.g., the Japanese Kemono community)
      – Comparisons of regional furry group membership relative to overall region population (e.g,. Divide the number of people in a state fur group by that state's population, do this for all 50 states, take an average).

      The list of possible methods goes on. I guess the point is to recognize that there won't be a definitive estimate because we're going to differ in how we're defining furries and differ in our methodologies, and that's okay. So long as we keep that in mind and work together to try and find converging evidence through these different methodologies, I think we have a chance at narrowing the range of estimates :)

      In the spirit of providing such metrics, I did a little bit of research and found the number of members of four different regional furry groups in Canada: The Alberta Furries, BC Furs, Ontario Furries/Furs, and the SaskFurs.

      For each of these four samples, I gathered the number of forum users for each group and divided the population of their respected provinces (numbers from census data) by these numbers to get estimates of frequency (e.g., 1 fur in 2,725 in Alberta, 1 fur in 3.011 in BC, etc…). From there, I created a weighted average of the four estimates based on the relative sizes of the provinces, and came out with a final estimate, based on these four provinces, of about 1 in 6,750. This is based on numbers representing about 62% of the population of Canada.

      And, in the spirit of variable operationalization and recognizing the limits of this technique, I will say that this is operationalizing "furry" as "people who registered for a regional furry forum". This technique has a number of limitations in that it assumes that furries sign up and participate in regional furry forums and that furries don't create more than 1 account on such forums – so furries have a chance of being counted twice (if they create two accounts) or not at all (if they don't participate in such forums).

      Nevertheless, the technique has a number of merits – it doesn't disproportionately select for older furries or furries with the resources to attend a convention (like con-based estimates), and it has the benefit of being compared to regional population estimates (there's not a lot of reason to suspect that furries in Saskatchewan will be rushing in droves to sign up for the BC furries board). Moreover, such data allows us to compare regional differences in prevalence and there is little reason to suspect, a priori, that Canada and the US should differ significantly in the relative proportion of furries.

      At any rate, it's food for thought, and if anyone would be interested in doing something comparable in the States, I'd be interested to see what the numbers look like. I know, from trying a few years ago to survey as many different groups as possible, that there are regional furry groups for most US states (be they forums, Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, etc…), so it's possible!

      Apologies for my long-windedness in this post =P

      1. Nuka – that’s a terrific response and it’s great to see another methodology to add to Ralphie and Klisoura’s variation in the comment below. If they are bounding the number of furries (whatever that is) in the range 50k – 150k, I think that your result gives something similar.

        If 1 in 6750 Canadians are furries, then there are around 5000 of them. And if there are 10 times as many Americans, and the incidence of furry is the same, that’s around 50k American furries, the home of a big (majority?) slice of the world’s furry population.

        Of course this is just a Fermi Estimate and subject to all sorts of errors, but it suggests that we’re in the right ballpark. And as you say, there is value in converging evidence… even if it is super-flimsy.

        1. You’d be surprised how even “flimsy” estimates, when converged, can lead to surprisingly accurate findings! The Wisdom of Crowds, as it’s been called, suggests that the average guess of a number of people with their own, independent guesses, turns out to be remarkably accurate (relative to any individual guess). As such, even if each attempt to gain traction on this problem generates estimates with huge variance, over time, so long as we’re all looking at relatively similar problems, we should wind up with a reasonably good estimate :)

      2. Thankyou Nuka… I think that response was longer than my article!

        I think you make a good point about the need for a variety of studies to get a better estimate (as you said yourself, your Canadian study has its own issues), hopefully the std. dev. wont be so high to make it too shaky to be valid.

        Just as an aside, an interesting thing I found when doing the research: The median age of all furries (~20), and the median age of only furries with fursuits, was about 2 years higher (~22). So it looks like furries don’t wait too long to get a fursuit.

        1. Glad to respond Ralphie! Your post was interesting, and a neat take on a problem the IARP has also been grappling with.

          The important thing to note about any specific estimate is that there’s bound to be a ton of messiness in the data. That’s why we resort to converging methodologies =) As far as I’m concerned, as long as there’s even a reasonable rationale for an estimate, it’s worth throwing into the mix, even if it is noisy as hell. The more estimates we have, the more information we have, and the better our overall estimation.

          Regarding your finding regarding fursuiters’ age, you need to be careful about the assumptions that you’re making. All you know, thus far, is that fursuiters, as a group, are 2 years older than non-fursuiters. This could mean any of a number of things: people who purchase fursuits may be folks who’ve been in the fandom for awhile, or they may be people who simply get into the fandom at an older age. I guess the point is that it’s hard to draw a conclusion about how long furries go before getting a fursuit without looking at responses to that particular question. It’d be worth asking a group of fursuiters! Of course, the IARP typically doesn’t ask fursuit-specific questions because only about 12-25% of furries actually owns a fursuit (depending on whether you’re talking about a full or partial), so the payoff for such questions isn’t that great when we’re asking a broad group of furries. But targeted surveys are something we’ve been looking into recently, and may address that question directly!

          It’s also worth noting that even if it is, say, 2 years before a furry gets a fursuit, when you consider the “lifespan” of furries in the fandom, it may not be all that long. Considering many furries say they get into the fandom in their mid-to-late teens, and there’s a significant dropoff in the number of furries at the age of about 24-25, it may be that furries only stick around for a bit less than a decade. As such, it may not be all that shocking that they jump into purchasing fursuits quickly (not to mention that, for many furries, their first couple of years in the fandom are often characterized by exuberance and a desire to completely immerse themselves in the fandom).

          It’s an interesting observation, to be sure! =)

          1. Oops…should have known better to keep my mouth shut!

            I’ve been thinking about doing a follow up article with other contributors “weighing in” on the question in their own way. Let me know if you are interested.

  2. Hi Ralphie! Thanks so much for sharing this!

    For what it’s worth, I’ve used what I think is a similar convention-based method to calculate fandom size in the past, based on a more granular use of the data in my Survey. For example, knowing that 78 survey respondents attended Anthrocon in 2011, we can take the 4400 AC2011 attendees and extrapolate a total fandom population of 191,000. As it happens AC2011 just seems to have been a bad year for survey respondents ;) that’s the strongest outlier in the data.

    If you pull the attendance figures for AC, FC, FWA, Midwest Furfest, Rainfurrest, Califur, FA: United, Furry Connection North, and Rocky Mountain Fur Con for 2011 and 2012 (the last years for which I have survey data), you get an average estimate of 110,154:

    AC2011: 78 (4400) — 191005
    AC2012: 149 (5179) — 117691
    FC2011: 75 (2801) — 126455
    FC2012: 85 (3021) — 120342
    FWA2011: 39 (1621) — 120342
    FWA2012: 56 (1902) — 115003
    MFF2011: 79 (2600) — 111437
    MFF2012: 102 (3216) — 106758
    RF2011: 53 (1420) — 90719
    RF2012: 65 (1705) — 88817
    CAF2011: 26 (919) — 119682
    CAF2012: 48 (949) — 66944
    FAU2011: 21 (531) — 85617
    FAU2012: 40 (629) — 53244
    FCN2011: 26 (1021) — 132965
    FCN2012: 42 (1179) — 95049
    RMFC2011: 29 (643) — 75075
    RMFC2012: 58 (863) — 50381

    There’s a lot of variability there!

    I find that in general people think that even a hundred thousand is too small, but for what it’s worth I agree with you — to the extent that 60,000 is too low, it’s probably too low by a factor of three or four at the most, not by an order of magnitude. Note that of course, as convention data nuanced with survey data these estimates mostly capture the English-speaking world of American conventions (I’ve deliberately left off EF, Confuzzled and RBW from the list of calculations above to minimise that).

    I’ve thought in the past you could also do an estimate by site traffic… if you knew FA or SoFurry’s Alexa rank, you could perform the same exercise against the population of the world’s Internet users…

    What else could you do? What would be a good way of estimating the number of active users for a furry website?

    1. Estimating active users would depend very much on the metric you use to measure activity, and the threshold you define within that metric. You could say that “active” users for FA request the site while logged in at least once a day, or once a week, or once a month. Or you could eliminate lurkers by measuring an activity (or multiple activities), such as submitting an item, posting a journal, commenting, faving, or watching.

      I guess convention attendance is a lot easier to measure, either you attend or you don’t.

      1. Each of those decisions is an opportunity to more exactly specify the population you are studying. That’s a good thing.

  3. Thanks for writing this Ralphie!
    It’s an interesting number and methodology you’ve come up with here, but I think there are some issues.
    All of the data you’re presenting is from English speaking sources. Anyone who doesn’t speak English would not be submitting data to these surveys. I think you’re potentially missing out a large number of furries from other countries.
    Do you have any data to suggest, for example, how many people attend conventions in non-Anglo countries?
    Could you refine the final number to include other sources?

    1. The convention attendance data was all from the sum (non-unique) column from Wikifur’s convention page, which includes many conventions from non-english speaking countries, including large ones like Eurofurence.

      I would love to explore more about language in the fandom, particualrly the relationship between “mother tongue” and the primary language furries use within the fandom, but after talking with JM there doesn’t seem to be any data at present that I could use.

      1. It was your reliance on the Furry Survey that worried me mostly I think, and you use that derived figure of 0.4 from that data to engage with the Wikifur data.

        1. Well, in that case I just had to make the assumption that the number derived from the Furry Survey was representative of the fandom as a whole.

          (An argument you could make is that average attendance at conventions by non-English speaking furries who implicitly didn’t complete the survey are significantly lower than those that did, and therefore the number is artificially low – which makes sense as in some parts of the non-english speaking world there are almost no conventions, especially in the less developed countries.)

          Unfortunately I am not aware of any significant data about non-english speaking furries, so I can only use the data that I have.

          Perhaps if you feel that this is a significant issue, you could promote the idea of translating the 2014 Furry Poll? It would be a far simpler solution than trying to make more surveys in different languages.

    2. With apologies to Ralphie, he did mention this issue in his article, but it was mistakenly lost during editing and publication. The fault is entirely mine. I’ve updated the article to include the lost sentences.

  4. “if any professional statisticians notice any errors or incorrect terminology… leave me some constructive feedback”

    Alrighty then.

    Other commenters have already picked up on the main concerns with this, and the primary one is that it doesn’t seem like a particularly reasonable assumption that survey respondents are representative of the general furry population in terms of convention attendence. For example, it strikes me as pretty plausible that survey resopndents are more likely to attend conventions as you’re selecting for ‘active’ community members, but there are obviously likely to be shedloads of other confounders.

    There’s also very little evidence (as far as I’m aware) that the survey could be considered at all globally representative; as Bastett points out language alone presents a huge barrier. I think with these data at best one could focus on a US/North American population estimate rather than a global one.

    1. Thanks for the feedback, I meant more in terms of technical errors and such, but I appreciate it anyway.

      I had to make the assumptions unfortunately, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to come up with an estimate at all. I am not doing my own research with this, I don’t have the time nor the resources, I can only use existing sources. I know this is a flawed estimate, but I can’t see a way of improving it other than averaging it with other methods such as Klisouras.

      If you can recommend me a better method using existing data that is publicly available, I would greatly appreciate it. I would happy to be able to improve my estimate.

      1. Sure, assumptions are an essential part of any statistical model, but that also means it’s pretty important to state which assumptions one is making as clearly as possible in any sort of analysis (and whether they are at all reasonable). Hence my advice for improving this (and any other future analyses you might carry out) is to make sure you think carefully about what assumptions you’ve made and, where appropriate, acknowledge them when writing things up. In particular thinking about how violations of those assumptions might affect one’s results is a pretty important habit to get into (here, for instance, my intuition would be that the ratio is likely higher than the truth because of self-selction, which would lead to a population under-estimate). You may think “oh, it’s obvious that I’ve assumed x or y” but in my experience one can never overestimate the tendency for people to just see a headline figure and treat it as gospel :)

        I can think of other ways to tackle this sort of problem, but I wouldn’t want to volunteer them without spending some time looking into what data are available and how they were collected. If you have other analyses planned and would be interested in some specialist advice/feedback feel free to get in contact (if you have Twitter the easiest way may be to contact me there @azzycoon; I’m not too keen on publicizing my email address here).

        1. OK, I see your point.

          I did have a paragraph on language in the final draft but it seems to have been cut for some reason.

          Regarding the other point about the survey, yes that was an oversight on my part, I was more concerned about getting my maths correct.

          I think however, that you can say that self selection is a bias that can be found in almost any voluntary survey. Perhaps using data from FA and such could avoid this.

          1. Ralphie, please accept my apologies. That paragraph was lost during the editing and publishing process – it wasn’t deliberate and the fault is all mine. I’ve added it back in.

        2. Hi Azzy, thanks for the comment and as Ralphie noted, a key paragraph on language was mistakenly lost during the editing and publication process. The fault is completely mine: I’ve added it back in.

          On the statistics front, I think your comments are generally spot on. As you imply (and Ralphie acknowledges), this article is more of a thoughtful conversation piece than a serious attempt at statistical analysis. It is, however, the best attempt I have seen at using our wealth of data to approximate the overall number of furries. (If you can think of an alternate method then let us know.)

          If you’re curious about our use of statistics here on [a][s] in general, Nuka of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project can written a nifty summary of the differences between our methodologies and the professional methods used by him and his team:

          http://www.adjectivespecies.com/2014/04/22/trade-offs-in-furry-research-adjectivespecies-vs-the-iarp/

          Nuka has a PhD in social psychology, and has already contributed a couple of articles for [a][s]. I’m happy to say that he has more on the way, on a diverse and interesting range of topics. Watch this space.

          1. Yes, I’m familiar with Nuka (we’ve corresponded regarding the IARP; I have a PhD in statistics and years of experience in data analysis). I only really commented because, somewhat unusually, the author explicitly requested feedback from qualified individuals so I thought I’d try and help.

            As you can probably imagine, I am somewhat invested in the presentation of statistics in general (but obviously have a specific interest in things relating to the fandom). As such, I find that the distinction between a ‘thoughtful conversation piece’ and ‘serious’ analysis is a fairly important one, lest people mistake the former for the latter.

            As I mentioned in a comment above, I have various ideas for ways to use [a][s] data (both for this and other possible questions). I contacted [a][s] several months ago regarding doing stats with your data but, as I’m still waiting on that front, can only assume I picked a bad time to get in touch.

  5. I can’t really judge your work but I can help with one of your questions.
    “You could use this methodology on something like, FA accounts, for example, as long as you could persuade Dragoneer to give you the numbers (If he’s kept any!)”
    You mention doing it with FA accounts or something like that. I wrote a piece in 2011 that has all that information. You can also use it to see how sites have grown.
    https://www.flayrah.com/3657/analysis-fur-affinitys-staff-revamped-dev-team-still-lacking

    As of that time FA had about 516 000 users, with the data supplied by Dragoneer himself. But many of those could be accounts of banned users or yiff/clean only accounts or the many other reasons people make multiple accounts. I don’t think they make that information easily available.

    Inkbunny and SoFurry do make that available. Inkbunny has 244 623 members (79 247 active in last month) and SoFurry has 359 347 members as of today. So all of those sites have user bases that far, far bigger than your estimate but there are probably many duplicate/fake accounts. I’d take those numbers as a more reliable estimate of the furry population though.

    1. Those are some neat stats!

      With these stats, other data, and some assumptions, I’m coming up with another estimate of global furry population.

      Assumptions:
      A1. A furry is as likely to be active on Fur Affinity as a human is to be on Facebook.
      A2. Fur Affinity has the same active/total member ratio as Inkbunny.
      A3. The stats in Rakuen’s post above are accurate.
      A4. Wikipedia’s article on Facebook is accurate when it says Facebook has 1.28 billion active members as of March 2014.
      A5. The world’s population is 7.2 billion.

      Calculations:
      C1. From A4 and A5, 1.28 b / 7.2 b = 17.8% of people in the world actively use Facebook.
      C2. From A3, 79247/244623 = 32.4% of Inkbunny users are active.
      C3. From C2 and A2, 0.324 * 516 k = 167 k FA users are active.
      C4. From A1, C1, and C3, there are thus 167 k / 0.178 = 938 k furries in the world, just short of a million.

      Obvious things I can think of that would invalidate the statistics:
      * If furries are more/less split in their use of furry community sites than people in general are in their use of social networking sites, then there are more/less furries than indicated.
      * Rakuen’s source is 3 years old. If the furry community is growing at least as fast (by %) as world population, then there are that many more furries today.
      * If furries are more technologically inclined than average people, then A1 goes out the window and my calculation is an overestimate. If furries are twice as likely to join FA than people in general are to join FB, then there are probably more like half a million furries in the world.
      * On the other hand, it’s possible that social desirability bias and perceived disapproval cause furries to be discreet, making furries less likely to sign up for FA.

      Even with a million furries (or a few million, if social desirability bias and perceived general dislike of the furry demographic is the main factor in number of accounts on furry sites), it would still, on average, take meeting thousands of people before randomly meeting a furry.

  6. Well, according to the IARP study which was posted on the AFA homepage only about 63% of all furries use FA. Am I correct if I say that a million furries should also only make up about 63% of all furries worldwide? Or do I mix up something there? Any suggestions? (Sorry for bad english, European furry here ;) )

  7. The mathematics in this doesn’t make sense. It assumes that every furry answered the furry survey, which is logically impossible. We don’t know what proportion of furries would do the survey – it could be about 10%, or it could be about 50%. We just don’t know.

    What we’d have to do would be to take a random sample of people and ask them if they’re furries, then assume a similar proportion of people are furries in the whole population that we sampled from.

    1. Hi Speedy. I didn’t write this article, but I did help with the editing, and I think you have misread the mathematics.

      If we assume that every furry answered the furry survey, then the “answer” would simply be equal to the number of survey respondents. Instead, Ralphie looks at the number of convention attendees that responded to the survey, and compares that with the total number of convention attendees reported by Wikifur. That gives us an estimate of the proportion of furries who filled in the survey – as it turns out, much closer to 10% than 50%.

      (See also Klisoura’s alternate method, presented in the comments to this article.)

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