A few weeks ago, I shared a fun short survey with regards to people’s favourite fictional characters to see if there were demographic trends. It was for me to learn the capabilities of Google Forms, with a survey that would have some meaning to hopefully generate interest for doing something on a larger scale in the future. Most of those who answered would have been associated with Halifax (Nova Scotia) based Facebook groups of geek/nerd interest like Hal-Con (our local “comic-con”), Anime-at-Large and Jules Verne Phantastical Society (JVPS, steampunk), but they were definitely not the only ones. Thanks to all those who did it, and shared it, including Michael McCluskey (aka Fat Apollo).
At the time of this writing and analysis, I almost have 100 answers, which is NOT any decent sample size to draw statistically reliable conclusions from the data. However, I’ll analyze it and pose questions as to whether certain things this data set tells me might be true of the population. I hope some might be tempting to get a bigger sample for more statistically reliable answers in the future, or just open up some debate.
Who took this survey?
Gender and age were the only identifiers of participants, and reasonably fair representation were obtained in both categories.
- Gender balance was nice at 53% Female, 43% Male and 4% self-identifying as Other.
- There were in age groups from 11-20 (15%) to 51-60 (8%). Biggest groups were 21-30 (33%) and 31 to 40 (26%), with 41-50 year olds rounding out at 18%. Would this be close to Con going demographics aside from kids 10 or younger that people bring, and the occasional person over 60?
- Breaking down age and gender, females who answered were definitely younger than males. 57% of females were 30 or younger, compared to 33% males. Biggest share of females were in the 21-30 age group at 39%, whereas biggest group of males were in the 41-50 age group at 30%. Males were better spread out among age groups, though, with 25%, 28% and 30% from 21-30 to 41-50 age groups. There were just 16% females 41 and above. Is this age group trend due to fluke sampling that younger males didn’t participate as much in this survey, or is this a maturity thing that males get into the game a little later? Indicative of Con goer demographics?
Genre of Favourite Characters
This analyzes the favourite character genres to which they belonged, as the participants associated them.
- Even though just under 100 surveys were filled, there was a remarkable diversity of characters. Only a handful of characters were identified more than once: Yoda (2), Spock (2) and Dr Who (6). The Whovians were strong here!
- Franchises to which favourite characters belonged were almost as diverse. There were several groupings of characters into franchises, like Star Trek and Star Wars. However, most characters listed were from unique franchises which had no other representation.
- Genres into which franchises fell was where some trends started to show. Genres were identified by participants as the one with which they identified their favourite characters, for characters that appeared in more than one genre. There’s no argument here. It was the participants’ call on which I based analyses, as it should be.
|GENRE / FRANCHISE||PERCENT|
|Anime / Manga||22%|
|Cartoons or animated movies||4%|
|Fantasy (i.e. Dungeons & Dragons)||2%|
|Game (Video, board, online, etc)||6%|
|Literature (books, classics)||15%|
|Movies (not of categories above)||10%|
- Sci-fi led the way with 29% representation. Anime/manga was next biggest at 22%, possibly due to the specific anime group I advertised to, who are generally rather active online. Do sci-fi and anime really have the biggest fan bases? What about economics of the industries? Anime can definitely make a case with their own cons pretty much focused on anime, and there are plenty of titles and other anime/manga products. I also see specific anime stores. I can’t say the same for sci-fi to the same scale from what I know. However, I know it is huge when you think of all the mega series like Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, among others, that I’m not sure anime/manga has equivalents.
- I was surprised by two results among genres of favourite characters. Comics had a measly 8% representation. Given all the comic movies of the past few years, I wonder if their fans just didn’t vote much here, or if those fans liked other characters more. I can tell you at Cons, there are no shortage of comic character cosplays, though that doesn’t mean those characters are the cosplayers’ favourites. Meanwhile, literature (books, classics) had a healthy 15% presentation here. Good to see book characters are still going strong despite all the other media existing today.
- Movies not of genres previously identified were also strong. I thought Games would be stronger given all the gamers, as well as steampunk by a little more than 1%, though I think that’s still a growing movement yet to capitalize on much of its potential. “Cost of entry” seems to be a little higher than other genres, to put it like an economists. Also requires more background knowledge to assemble an “appropriate” outfit, or know where to find supplies, compared to other genres, in my opinion.
Gender of Favourite Characters
- While females made up 53% of respondents, female favourite characters only represented 25% of those chosen!
- Males, meanwhile, had 74%, and possibly 75% if Kosh Naranek from Babylon 5 were identified as such the way lots of sites do. The person who answered, though, identified with Kosh as N/A for gender.
- 65% or almost 2 of every 3 females answering had a male favourite character! Call it 2/3 if you include Kosh.
- 90% of males answering picked a male favourite character! That’s really overwhelming!
- Is this a case of women generally preferring favourite characters they can fall in love with, whereas males preferring favourite characters they want to be like? Do you really think these results are indicative of reality or just fluke?
- Among women, it was those 31-40 who provide the skew for male favourite characters. It’s pretty even for those 11-20 years in age (4F, 5M) and 21-30 years (9F, 10M), and 41-50 years (2F, 2M, 1N/A). But among 31-40, it was 1F and 12M. What happened here??? Some of it is fluke of sample, I’d be willing to accept. But all fluke? Still, the even split among other age categories was vastly different to the 90% male favourite characters for males.
- The handful of males picking female favourite characters were spread out among different age groups, outnumbered in every case by male favourite characters picked by other males.
- Those self-identifying as Other gender had an even split of 2 male and 2 female favourite characters.
Next time, I’ll deal with age and moral bent of these favourite characters, along with some other interesting correlations!