Burning Man Demographics

Following every Burning Man, the organization conducts a census. Here are some highlights from the 2014 numbers:

  • the male/female ratio is 58/41 (plus 0.9% “fluid”)
  • 69 percent of Burners identify as “heterosexual”
  • 47 percent of Burners are from California and roughly 13 percent come from outside of the US/Canada
  • Democrats outnumber Republicans in a 43:6 ratio with “76% of unaffiliated BRC citizens [saying] they last voted Democratic”.
  • median income is about $55,000 per year
  • median age is 34

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The media has been excited lately about the racial composition of attendees at Burning Man. Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man, was asked a question about the overall whiteness of Burners at a press conference during the event. He responded “We are not a Utopian society. I will believe in Utopia when I meet my first perfect person. Unlike our liberal critics, half of my family is black. We’re not going to set racial quotas or judge people by wealth. I’m unwilling to impose change from outside. We have to generate change from the inside.”

[My own explanation? A plurality of Burners come from Silicon Valley or the East Bay, plus some techies who live in San Francisco proper. Mother Jones says that the Silicon Valley workforce is approximately 1.8 percent black. It should not be a surprise that Burning Man reflects the mixture of people you’d find in Silicon Valley. If Silicon Valley employers ever decide to offer wages high enough to recruit and retain qualified black employees then presumably Burning Man will become less white/Asian.]

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6 Comments

  1. FL

    September 17, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

    1

    “If Silicon Valley employers ever decide to offer wages high enough to recruit and retain qualified black employees then presumably Burning Man will become less white/Asian”

    What? Blacks with technical chops are making more elsewhere? Really…where?

  2. Alex S.

    September 17, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

    2

    I see what you did there. Heh.

  3. Izzie L.

    September 17, 2015 @ 6:23 pm

    3

    SV could offer millions and still they could not conjure non-existent black STEM talent. Each year in the US, the total number of black high school seniors scoring over 700 on the math section of the SAT is around 1,000, or 1% of the total. The only reason that there are more than a handful of blacks at MIT or any rigorous STEM program is that they apply massive double standards (“affirmative action”). Without affirmative action, MIT , Stanford, etc. would resemble CalTech (around 1% black), which doesn’t.

    http://www.jbhe.com/features/49_college_admissions-test.html

  4. G C

    September 17, 2015 @ 9:59 pm

    4

    Phil, these photos were just outstanding. Best Burning Man photos I’ve ever seen, anywhere. Looks like a heck of a good time. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. jack crossfire

    September 17, 2015 @ 11:42 pm

    5

    Sounds like Burning Man is comprised mainly of the 1 generation that was in college 15 years ago & the same generation has gone to every one since. Currently, the bay area population during the largest technology boom in history seems to be 90% male, so there must be quite a few from elsewhere to have that many women.

  6. philg

    September 18, 2015 @ 12:33 am

    6

    Jack: For our camp we brought women in from Nunavut. It was the simplest way.

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