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Talking Points Memo: Occupy Wall Street Demographic Survey Results Will Surprise You


-by Carl Franzen

October 19, 2011- We now know what they want, what social networks and online tools they use and who doesn’t like them. But just who are the Occupy Wall Street protesters?

Over a month since the demonstrations began in New York’s Zuccotti Park, two demographic surveys of the movement and its supporters are now available online, both of them containing surprising, perhaps even counter-intuitive findings about the makeup of the movement and its supporters.

Survey One: Visitors to Occupy Wall Street Website

The first survey, the results of which appear in an academic paper written by Héctor Codero-Guzmán, PhD, a sociology professor at the City University of New York (CUNY), used visitors to the Occupy Wall Street movement’s website (www.occupywallst.org) on October 5th as its sample size. The paper was published online on the Occupy Wall Street website on Wednesday.

Politically independent
Among other striking findings, Codero-Guzmán discovered that 70 percent of the survey’s 1,619 respondents identified as politically independent, far-and-away the vast majority, compared to 27.3% Democrats and 2.4% self-identified Republicans.

“That finding surprised me based on what I had heard in previous conversations about the movement” said Codero-Guzmán in a telephone interview with TPM on Wednesday. “I wasn’t expecting many Republicans, but I was expecting more self-identified Democrats. In recent years, there’s been an increased interest in who political independents are and what political views are and what are their levels of interest in particular issues, which will only continue as the election cycle progresses.”

Other findings in the paper include:

Participation level: Relatively weak
Less than a quarter of the sample (24.2%) had participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests as of October 5, 2011. (But as Codero-Guzmán pointed out to TPM, the movement was still in its relative infancy at that stage.)

Age varies widely
64.2% of respondents were younger than 34 years of age, but one in three respondents was over 35 and one in five was 45 or older.

Wealth varies widely
A full 15.4% of the sample reported earning annual household income between $50,000 and $74,999. Another 13% of the sample reported over $75,000 , and 2% said they made over $150,000 annually, putting them in the top 10 percent of all American earners, according to the Wall Street Journal’s calculator. That said, 47.5% of the sample said they earend less than $24,999 dollars a year and another quarter (24%) reported earning between $25,000 and $49,999 per year. A whopping 71.5% of the sample earns less than $50,000 per year.

Highly educated
92.1% of the sample reported “some college, a college degree, or a graduate degree.”

They have jobs
50.4% reported full-time employment, and “an additional 20.4% were employed part-time.”

FULL STORY HERE:

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