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…
Continue reading More or Less: How Many Furries Are There?