Black Rock City Census data collected during the 2017 Burn is now available online for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps you were one of thousands of Burners to fill out our random sampling form on playa (we randomly sample vehicles, buses, and planes entering the event to improve the accuracy of the data we collect). Perhaps you were one of 9,168 phenomenal people who participated after the Burn by completing the online survey. Perhaps you visited us at Census Lab in Center Camp. Regardless, we hope you already know what we do and why we do it (this article will give you some background) and are as excited as we are to see our 2017 Census data.
Here are the links:
- 2013-2017 Population Analysis, including visualizations for every question we included in the 2017 online survey
- 2013-2017 Summary Report, primarily focused on demographic data and Burning Man-related questions
My experience of Burning Man 2017 lasted four months and changed my life. How many other attendees are forever changed by this event we all help to create? We have researchers who ask questions about just that.
In June 2017, I attended a volunteer weekend to help build the structure in the middle of the event, the Man Base. I spent the weekend working with an incredibly impressive team of builders, learned new skills (carpentry), and went home with sore muscles and a new outlook on life. During the six hour drive back to Oregon, I thought about my IT desk job and realized I’d rather be building. I quit my job and was gainfully “funemployed” by July. My first day of funemployment I drove back to Reno and officially started volunteering for DPW (Burning Man’s Department of Public Works) for the season, and learning to be a builder. Building is now my full-time job, and I’m back with DPW for the 2018 season.
Did you know that more than half of Burners in 2017 (56.2%) were inspired to learn or practice creating art after attending? See Figure 1, below. Figure 2 shows that the majority of people who were inspired to learn find those skills useful in their everyday lives.
For me, participation is a big part of what Burning Man is about. It is, after all, one of the Ten Principles written by Larry Harvey, founder of Burning Man. These principles outline the ethos of all Burning Man-related events (including Regional Events).
Gretchen, a 2017 virgin Burner and BRC Census volunteer says:
“Gifting my time to the community enriched my experience. It wouldn’t have been the same had I not volunteered. It’s immediate, easy, and fun! Without Rangers, Man Crew, and all the other volunteers, the event wouldn’t run. It’s the core of Burning Man. Being a part of the event in this way makes it even more profound. I now want to do more volunteering the rest of the year, and definitely plan to volunteer at the Burn this year.”
BRC Census has teams of statisticians and researchers who aim to look at experiences like mine and Gretchen’s (and all of yours!) on a broader scale. Current questions we aim to answer are:
- “What types of transformative experiences do people have at Burning Man?”
- “How do adults play?”
- “Why isn’t there more diversity at Burning Man?”
If we fast-forward to September, online survey respondents will find new and exciting research topics in addition to these. We’ve been joined by researchers asking new questions, such as:
- “How do participants at the event care about the environment?”
- “What is the carbon footprint of the event? How much gas do we use? How many of us carpool?”
We hope you enjoy the 2017 data. If you find this stuff interesting, consider volunteering with us, either on playa or even during the rest of the year. We love hearing new ideas and interested minds.
Written by “Chipper” McKay
Edited by Dana “DV8” DeVaul, Sarah “Picky” Williamson, and Abigail “Tinker” Doyle
Top image: Man Base during construction, one week before the event opens, 2017 (Photo by Dustin DeRyke)