Lies, damned lies, and statistics
I found a new statistical resource recently--and longtime readers know I've always been easily distracted by shiny statistical toys. This new thingy not only purports to measure the number of visitors to a website, but also tries to tell you who those visitors are. (Plus it's public, allowing readers to snoop around and see most of the stats without passwords or permissions or anything).
It's called Quantcast and it gives you demographic information for many popular websites. Last I looked, it said, for example that: nfl.com skews male (surprise!) and that npr.org skews well-educated (what a shock!). But it also says that bargain-hunting sites like Nextag.com and Overstock.com attract an affluent readership (really)? And according to their numbers, HuffingtonPost.com gets more men visiting than women, while Netflix gets more women than men. (If I were to guess, I might have reversed those two).
Note: I have no idea how Quantcast gets this information. Nor do I know how accurate it is. Be especially careful when look at a site that hasn't been directly measured or "Quantified," because their guesses on readership can be way off.
Of course I don't really care much about all those other sites--the most interesting statistics to me are all about Cranky Fitness readers! And while you're mostly who I thought you were... there were some surprises.
So, Who The Heck Are You People?
According to the Cranky Fitness quantcast profile, last time I checked you folks reading this were mostly:
Over 35 years old;
and Incredibly, Ridiculously Well-Educated.
Seriously, the education stats were off the scale compared to the average website. (And no, I have no idea whether the folks who end up here googling "big bouncy breasts" or "big fat ass" are included. If so, then these statistics are even more impressive).
You Are People, Not Numbers
A quick glance at the comments section of our posts or the profiles of our friendly "followers" reveals that there are plenty of you that don't fit this description at all. We get men, and parents, and people just starting off in college, and folks of many colors. Incomes range from Almost Nothing to Very Well Off. So these are just averages. The numbers are also based in large part on lurkers and googlers and folks you never get to meet down in the comments section.
But Two Statistics Surprised Me
The first surprise: I thought a lot more of you had kids! Are moms just more sociable and more likely to comment on posts? Because last I looked at the Quantcast numbers, only about a quarter of you were parents. I would have thought it was way higher.
The other thing that struck me as odd: the income numbers. Given that Cranky Fitness readers are older (than average websites), childless, and extremely well educated... one might predict higher income. Instead, readers are slightly underrepresented among the higher income ranges, not overrepresented.
Generally, it's my impression that over-35, well-educated childless folks often have slightly higher incomes than less educated, younger, child-full folks.
So what's the deal?
Well... the education/affluence link is a generalization from average populations. You folks aren't "average"--you're mostly women! And I can't help but wonder if there's a connection.
Why the Income/Education Disparity?Maybe it's not a sexist conspiracy that on average, you're making less money than similarly well-educated readers of Macho Meaty-Man Fitness.Com. There could be plenty of innocent explanations for this that have nothing to do with gender discrimination.
Among the possibilities:
1. Quantcast has its pointy head up it's ass and the statistics are just plain wrong;
2. My assumptions about more education leading to higher income are fundamentally screwed up; or
3. People willing to read posts by an author named "Crabby McSlacker" may be less career-oriented than the general web surfing population.
Gender Wage Gap, or Healthy Balanced Lifestyle?
Unfortunately, there is still a stubborn wage gap between men and women. And women, when they do have kids, are more likely to cut back on working hours and stay home with them, whereas men tend to keep on earning.
But I'm kinda hoping it's something else.
I read the comments here, and I read many of your blogs, and I have at least an illusion that I have a sense of who some of you are. Here's my optimistic hypothesis:
It seems to me that many of you strive for a balanced approach between work and life; between time and material possessions; between human values and financial ones. I sense a tendency to choose careers that involve helping people or creating things versus more lucrative pursuits. You folks also seem more likely to take time off to take care of a family member, or work for the Peace Corps, or go back to school to pursue a whole new endeavor.
Sure, with all those advanced degrees some of you could be pulling in bigger paychecks if you were working 80 hour weeks at law firms, or short-selling stock or performing liposuction on movie stars. And perhaps some of you are doing just that. But for most of you who are apparently not raking in big paychecks: I'm hoping you are choosing to use your education in ways that are more important to you than earning larger salaries.
But I'm just an over-educated under-earner named Crabby McSlacker, what the hell do I know?
Do These Statistics Mean Anything at All?
There's a good chance that these statistics were based on such a small sample that they don't mean bupkus. Maybe next week they'll be totally different. But it did make me realize that the question of who comes here is very intriguing! And I'm always curious about the whole "equal rights for women" issue that we were supposed to have solved decades ago--how is actually playing out in real life?
So if any of you feel liking checking in:
Do you fall within any of these "typical Cranky Fitness" demographics yourself?
Are you a highly-educated person who is not earning the Big Bucks, and if so, was that a choice?
If you're a gal, do you think your options or choices or paycheck would have been different had you been male? Or vice versa if you're a guy?
Do you care at all/believe in demographic statistics?