Factors influencing the furry experience: A Statistical Analysis

Here at [adjective][species] we are just starting to get to grips with the wealth of data collected in the 2015 Furry Survey. We collected valid responses from more than 11,000 furries last year. This collection, including responses from annual surveys dating back to 2009, represents an unprecedented insight into furry.

We recently shared our entire dataset with Nuka (aka Courtney Plante PhD, aka Dr. Cat), who is one of the scientists behind (and co-founder of) the International Anthropomorphic Research Project. He performed an analysis for us, looking at how different factors affect the furry experience, which is presented below.

This is a little bit different from the way we normally present data here on [a][s] – it’s the difference between professional and amateur analysis. As you can see, the professional statistical analysis is comprehensive but can teeter towards incomprehensibility. Happily, Dr. Cat provides some interpretation rather than merely the dry facts.

(For the stats-savvy, the data were analyzed as a series of linear regressions. It’s worth noting that in a sample of 30,000 people, even the most minuscule effects can be “statistically significant” (e.g., p<.05). For the purpose of this analysis, Dr. Cat instead used interpreted standardized beta weights for their “practical significance”.)

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

Based on this sample of 38,387 (collapsed across years of the survey), it seems that younger furries are significantly more likely to be “single” in the fandom. To put it another way, older furries are more likely to be in some kind of relationship.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

Based on this sample of 39,193 (collapsed across years of the survey), it seems that age is basically unrelated to “how furry” a furry feels. To put it another way, there are older AND younger furries who are “just barely furry”, and older and younger furries who are “ridiculously furry”.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

These results speak to the ones above; Based on this sample of 38,873 (collapsed across years of the survey), it seems that “how furry” you are also has nothing to do with how long you’ve been in the fandom. Newer furries can be just as “ridiculously furry” as furries who’ve been furry for a long time.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

Based on this sample of 27,410 (collapsed across years of the survey), it seems that age has nothing to do with how many furries you know. Older furries seem to know about as many furries, on average, as younger furries do.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

In conjunction with the above findings, based on this sample of 27,938 (collapsed across years of the survey), it also doesn’t seem to matter how long you’ve been a furry. Furries who’ve been around for just a year or two seem to know about as many furries as furries who’ve been in the fandom for a long time (suggesting either that furries make furry friends really quick OR that furries start to lose the furry friends they initially met as they spend more time in the fandom).

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

You’d think that, as you came to know more furries, you’d “come out” more as a furry, or vice-versa. And yet, based on this sample of 39,226 (collapsed across years of the survey), this doesn’t seem to be the case. How “out” you are as a furry is unrelated to how many furries you happen to know.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

Knowing more furries doesn’t seem to help furries “come out” as furry, but, based on this sample of 39,362 (collapsed across years of the survey), it does seem to be the case that older furries are “more out” than younger furries are. Whether this is because older people are more secure with who they are, fear social judgment less, or are in a position where they don’t have to fear social judgment, remains to be seen.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

Interestingly, while age was somewhat related with “coming out”, the extent to which someone is a furry is HUGELY predictive of how “out” they are, based on this sample of 39,971 (collapsed across years of the survey). Maybe it’s because furries who are REALLY furry find it hard to keep it under wraps, or maybe it’s because being “out” as a furry helps furries to feel “more furry”. Either way, the relationship is particularly strong.

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… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

Based on this sample of 33,452 (collapsed across years of the survey), the extent to which furries see the average “non-furry” as having positive attitudes towards furries predicts how “out” they, themselves are. In other words, how “out” a furry is seems to be based, in part, on how positive they think non-furries around them are. This could be because furries who perceive hostility from the world around them feel they have a reason to keep it to themselves, OR it could be because furries who have “come out” have been pleasantly surprised by the acceptance of others.Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 09.50.14

… What am I looking at, Dr. Cat?

I created a composite variable of “fandom participation” which includes a variety of activities (participating on furry forums, going to cons, going to meet-ups, etc.). I then pitted three different predictors of fandom participation against one another – age, how many years a person has been a furry, and how furry a person is – to see which most strongly predicts participation. Based on this sample of 37,806 (collapsed across years of the survey), it seems that how many years a person has been a furry has next to no effect on how actively they participate in the fandom. Age, on the other hand, does seem to predict participation, with older furs being more active participants in the fandom. Most strong of all, however, is how furry a person considers themselves to be furry (by a LONG shot).

In other words, the most active furries are also the ones who most strongly identify as furries, not necessarily the ones who’ve been around in the fandom the longest (although older furries are more active; this may owe to the fact that they have more disposable income than younger furries, and are more able to, say, make it to conventions).

About JM

JM is a horse-of-all-trades who was introduced to furry in his native Australia by the excellent group known collectively as the Perthfurs. JM now helps run [adjective][species] from London, where he is most commonly spotted holding a pint and talking nonsense.

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