September is Census Month: Prepare to Be Counted!

BRC Census volunteers are a busy bunch at this time of year! 2017 results have been published and our attention has turned to recruiting and training volunteers for Burning Man 2018. We’ll be out in the dust collecting data from some randomly-selected Burners, but the majority of our data collection actually takes place after everyone packs up to go back home.

This year, the Man burns on September 1, and that means September is Census Month! As Burners return home and take as many showers as it takes to finally feel a little less dusty, we hope they’ll turn their attention to our online Census survey. You’ll note there’s no link here yet; that’s because the survey won’t open until after the Man burns. (If you want to write yourself a reminder now, plan to head to the Census web page anytime in September).

(Photo by Sarah “Picky” Williamson)

BRC Census data is a critical resource for many people, and we can’t report it without the participation of Burners like you. Burning Man Project uses Census data for event planning, advocating for Burners, and negotiating with local and federal governments during the permitting process. Academic researchers also use Census data for a variety of research projects and publications. You’ll also find BRC Census data cited in the news, and used by curious Burners who want to learn more about the people who make up Black Rock City.

BRC Census collects data in two phases: a random sample on-playa as folks enter Black Rock City, followed by the online survey. (That’s the tl;dr version. If you want to learn more about our methodology you can go back in time and review our first-ever Journal post.) Anyone who was in BRC this year can participate in the online survey, whether or not they were selected for random sampling.

You can find us on-playa at Census Lab (in Center Camp, across from Playa Info and next to Media Mecca), or you may encounter our sampling crews at Gate, Airport, or on a Burner Express Bus. Regardless of where you see our lab coat-wearing crew, we hope you’ll feel inspired to participate by adding your data to the largest research project on the playa!


Top photo by Dana “DV8” DeVaul

About the author: Census Team

Census Team

The Census Lab is a volunteer team of information geeks, academic researchers, students, and general data nerds who have surveyed Black Rock City (BRC) residents since 2002.

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