When we begin analyzing the results from a major survey of museum-going households, one of the last things we look at is the demographic results. Largely, we don’t want to have preconceived ideas in our head about who responded. Usually, however, we pretty much know who responded by the time we get to the demographic analysis anyway, because life stages play a big role in how people respond to the survey (and in their motivations and expectations for museum visits).
But when we share survey results and our analysis, it is often very helpful to begin with demographics. And so that is where we begin today as we start a big series of data-driven posts from our study of over 40,000 museum-going households. (And if data makes you glaze over, well, please bear with us for a few posts as we set the stage for our major findings.)
Overall Demographic Results
Overall, our sample includes adults of all ages, as seen in the graph, below.
70% of respondents are female. Additionally, 43% of respondents are parents of minor children. Another 20% are grandparents, and 37% do not have minor children in their lives.
For parents and grandparents, about 40% have infants/toddlers/preschoolers, over half have elementary schoolers, and over 40% have middle and/or high schoolers. 5% of respondents are homeschooling. (Respondents could choose more than one response to this question).
Respondents are very well educated, being three times more likely to have a college degree than the US adult population (81% vs. 27%). Additionally, the parents of the respondents were also very well educated with at least half of respondents having a parent with at least a college degree (we hypothesized that parental college attainment is important to museum-goers today – we’ll have more on this in future posts).
Respondents are also very affluent . . . . when compared to the US population. 82% earn more than the US median of about $50,000/year. Though that does not mean they feel affluent. There will be an upcoming post on that as well.
Finally, 89% of respondents identify themselves (or a member of their household) as white, while only 20% identify themselves (or a member of their household) as a minority. And, yes, you can expect more on that, too!
The overall results, however, only tell a small part of the story. Turns out, when we examine the results by museum genre, that is, by responses to art museums, science centers, history-based museum, and children’s museums (the four main categories of participating museums in this project), we find that these demographic results vary, sometimes quite widely, as respondents are in very different life stages. This shouldn’t be a surprise as some museums excel at reaching adult audiences, while others excel at reaching family audiences.
delve into the demographic results by museum genre early next week.
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