Sondaggio Furry Italiano: Data from an Italian Furry Survey

Furry is an international phenomenon, and English is our predominant language. All our large conventions, from Anthrocon to Eurofurence to Japan Meeting of Furries to Russfurence, cater to English speakers. Attend any of these and you’ll find furries with English as their second or third or fourth language, communicating and participating in our lingua franca.

For a native English speaker, it’s easy to overlook non-English-speaking furry. But it exists, and as best we can tell, the next two biggest furry languages are Russian and Italian.

We are really pleased to be able to present here, for the first time, data from an Italian furry survey (Sondaggio Furry Italiano), that was open over 2012/13. The survey was entirely in Italian, and the results to date have only been published in Italian. Thanks to [a][s] contributor MrMandolino (who is Italian), we can present them here in English. (We’re also republishing the results, and a translation of this article, in Italian.)

It’s not easy to understand why Italian appears more common among furry than, say, French. Italy and France have a similar population (60 vs 66 million) and similar levels of English-speaking (ref).

The Furry Survey is published in English only, so we’re not able to estimate the proportion of other languages directly. However we can infer by looking at the difference between responses to the Furry Survey and activity online.

From the Furry Survey, we can see that less than 1% of the respondents live in Italy:

18This data is from the 2013 Furry Survey, which had 7159 responses. The number of Italians was 23, which is 0.3%. This result is consistent with results from all surveys from 2009 to 2015.

Not surprisingly, the survey is dominated by furries from English-speaking countries.

We can guess at the prevalence of non-English languages within furry by looking at Wikifur metrics. Wikifur, like Wikipedia, supports pretty much any language you care to name:

19The disparity between the number of Italians responding to the Furry Survey (in English) and the number of Wikifur pages (in Italian) suggests that there might be a significant Italian-speaking furry group. (We’re also looking at the other obviously large group, the Russians.)

This is just guesswork of course. The evidence is far from definitive that a significant Italian-speaking furry group exists, and while Mando is in touch with the Italian furs, the size of the community itself is extremely hard to judge.

The Sondaggio Furry Italiano is a long survey with 37 questions, and you can read them in full, in English, here. Highlights are given below.

The Sondaggio Italiano ran from late 2012 to early 2013, and received 103 responses. That’s not a lot, but it is enough to get a good feel for the demographics of the group. As with the Furry Survey, it’s impossible to poll people who don’t fill in the survey, so we can’t measure any inherent selection bias.

I’ve provided the (English) Furry Survey results from 2013 for comparison, which had 7159 responses.

Sex

20The Sondaggio Italiano asks for sex, but not gender. The results suggest that the Italian group is (even) more male-dominated than the English-speaking group.

The Sondaggio Italiano was shared on online forums, a medium not always known for being welcoming towards women. It’s possible that this informs the sex breakdown. Other demographics show strong similarities with the English Furry Survey, as we shall see.

Age

The Italian- and English-speaking groups have a very similar age distribution.

1The “jumpy” nature of the Italian distribution is due to the smaller sample size. It’s easy to see here why small sample sizes have larger uncertainty ranges: a small number of (say) 36 year-olds can create an outlier that looks (but isn’t) significant.

As a general rule we don’t publish uncertainty ranges when we present data here on [a][s]. We prefer to simply show raw data, to keep things simple (for a lay reader) and to avoid obscuring the data itself. For all these results, please keep in mind that the Italian data is subject to a lot more uncertainty than the English data.

Students

The proportion of students in furry, again, is similar between the two groups (statistically, these two results are said to be “identical”). Age is obviously a contributing factor here.

21

Sexual Orientation

Remarkably, the Italian and English furry groups show a very similar distribution of sexual orientation. This pattern—where straight, gay, and bisexual groups are in mostly equal proportion—is unusual.

15

This is a surprising result because there are significant differences in cultural attitudes towards homosexuality between the two groups. More than 80% of Italians are Catholic, and at the time of writing is the only major country in Western Europe that does not recognise either civil unions or equal marriage.

For the Italian-speaking group to show the same sexual orientation demographics as the English-speaking group suggests that there is something about furry that attracts such a group. It’s very difficult to draw any definitive conclusions about furry, because we are such a diverse and decentralized group. This result suggests that our relationship to sex and sexuality is important to understanding furry as a whole.

There are many, many more fascinating results to explore in the Sondaggio Furry Italiano results. You can read through the full set of results, which includes commentary and discussion (translated into English) here.

This article and the full Sondaggio Furry Italiano results are also available in Italian.

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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2 thoughts on “Sondaggio Furry Italiano: Data from an Italian Furry Survey

  1. Oh wow, I remember the survey! By now I thought it had been abandoned, it’s great to finally see the data.

    I have to point out that the size of the Italian furry wiki does not reflect at all the number of Italian furries though. The Italian traslation/adptation of the wiki was a pet project of a small group of Italian fans from the now-defunct FurryMania.it forum. It was actually much more adaptation than translation, and a rather questionable adaptation at that, which caused drama and controversy in the Italian community as the fans in question introduced new terms that were completely made up by them (such as the word “furrista” as an Italian translation for “furry fan”) and also put in the wiki plenty of poorly researched or distorted information. With the FurryMania forum’s demise the Italian wiki has been basically abandoned and most Italian furries are not even aware that it exists.

    So the number of Italian speaking furry fans is certainly not as large as the wiki’s size suggests. My guess based on websites and conventions would be that either Spanish or German is the third most common language among fans even though they seem to have no interest in translating the wiki.

    The Italian fandom is currently centered on Facebook and G+ groups and based on their numbers it’s a safe guess that there are between 400 and 500 Italians that identify as furries. However, for many of them the involvement in the community seems to be limited to online roleplaying. Our national convention Zampacon has had a maximum of 60 attendees so far and other furmeets typically attract 10-40 attendees.

    1. Scale – after starting this project with Mando, I think we both came to the same conclusion as you, that the Italian-speaking group isn’t that big. We weren’t able to find any further evidence of a wealth of Italian furs out there, and we had also noted the smallish size of Zampacon. I understand that Mando’s explorations of the Italian furry group led to him reaching similar numbers to you.

      Still, thanks for the extra context and thanks for reading. This was a really big job for me & Mando, with the translations and the data handling and everything else. I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to put together and publish.

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