2016 TTAG Reader Demographics Survey Results

ga-numbers

Every so often we like to take a survey of our readers. Not only does it let us know if we’re doing a good job (and identify areas we can improve upon), but it also gives us a glimpse into who exactly our readers are. We’ve been poring over the numbers for the last few weeks, and now I’d love to give y’all a peek at the results . . .

gender

Historically the TTAG audience has been dominated by males as opposed to females. This year is no exception.

Roughly 98% of readers responded that they are males. The last reader survey (which was taken in 2014) indicated that 97.7% of readers were male and 1.9% of readers were female. Based on the confidence interval for both surveys this indicates that the population has remained roughly the same in terms of composition in the two years between the surveys.

age

While most consumers of digital media tend to be younger, the population of TTAG readers seems to be remarkably evenly distributed among the various age categories. The biggest portion of TTAG readers are between the age of 18 and 40 years with a roughly even split between the two age groups. 45% of the TTAG readers are over the age of 40.

The last TTAG reader survey in 2014 indicated that roughly 29.4% of readers were between the ages of 18 and 30. This percentage has declined over the intervening years, dropping to 27.3%. This may indicate that our appeal to the younger audience has diminished with the newer mix of articles.

On average (according to the U.S. Census Bureau 2014 statistics), 34% of Americans have at least a bachelor’s degree from a four year university. According to the 2016 TTAG survey 50.8% of TTAG readers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. In fact, TTAG’s readers have over three times the national average of doctorate degrees (5.6% compared to 1.77% for the national average).  This indicates that TTAG attracts more than the average number of highly educated individuals.

employment

Just like with education, TTAG’s readership seems to beat the national average when it comes to employment.

According to the latest figures just 38% of Americans are employed on a full-time basis. By comparison, 72.2% of TTAG readers have a full-time job. An additional 9.2% of TTAG readers consider themselves “self-employed,” which could be added to the “full time” statistic for a much more realistic picture of the proportion of readers with a steady income.

As for unemployment, the national rate for the month in question was 4.9%. TTAG’s traders reported a significantly lower unemployment rate of 3.1%.

Based on these graphs it appears that TTAG’s readership is better educated than the general public, and has a significantly better employment status.

TTAG-1

The point of generating quality content is to develop a strong following of readers. With over two million readers per month TTAG is the largest single firearms related publication in the world, but the question is whether that audience will stick around in the long run.

The vast majority of survey responses (80.7%) indicate that they have been faithfully reading TTAG for over one year, with the bulk of that readership having been around over two years (52.4%).  In fact, there’s only a very small percentage of readers who have just recently started following TTAG (7% less than six months).

TTAG-5

When looking at the age groups who have been reading TTAG there seems to be a significant spike in the proportion of younger readers who have been reading for only a short period of time. This may indicate that either the content has shifted somewhat recently to appeal to these individuals more, or that they have a shorter attention span for the content and move on to something else quickly.

TTAG-2

The majority of TTAG readers come read the site once per day, on average. The TTAG model of content generation has generally been geared towards producing fresh content on an hourly basis, but 73.2% of loyal readers claim that they only read the site once per day or less. This indicates that while there’s definitely a benefit from producing such prodigious amounts of content, the loyal readers might feel overwhelmed at the volume being produced and are unable to digest all of it.

TTAG-6

While our target audience (for maximum advertising, at least) is the older generation with disposable income, the reality is that our posting schedule appeals more towards the younger audience. There is a significant trend in the results indicating that younger readers are more likely to be constantly checking the site for updates, but as the readers age they increasingly prefer to read the site only once per day.

The general consensus is that the best way to get someone hooked on the shooting sports is to teach them early in life and based on our reader’s responses it seems like that’s a well-founded statement.

gunage

Of the readers surveyed, the largest single chunk (42.5%) reported that they first fired a gun when they were six to ten years old. While only 9.5% of readers said they fired a gun earlier than five years old, the majority (79.9%) stated that they learned to shoot before their twentieth birthday. Only a mere 10.6% of readers learned to shoot after they were able to legally buy a pint of beer.

GunsbyAge

Examining this data a little more closely, one interesting thing to note is that people appear to be introduced to firearms at a much earlier age these days. There’s a rather significant spike among readers under the age of 18 who have learned to shoot in that “six to ten years old” time frame, and the percentage of responses from people who learned to shoot before they were five years old shows a steady increase with decreasing respondent age.

comfortByFirstFired

When asked how comfortable readers are around guns, the vast majority (85.7%) stated that they are extremely comfortable (less comfortable on the left, more comfortable on the right). Less than 1.6% of readers answered that they were only moderately comfortable or less, indicating that our readership is primarily composed of people who like guns and are extremely comfortable being around them.

Something significant is that there seems to be a strong correlation between how comfortable people feel around guns and when they were first introduced to firearms. There’s a clear pattern indicating that those who were introduced to firearms at an earlier age reported being more comfortable around guns than those who started later in life. For example 94.16% of people who reported shooting a gun for the first time at age five or younger felt “extremely comfortable” (5) around guns, compared to 65.97% of those who reported shooting a gun for the first time after age thirty.

politicalbyage

While the general platform of the Democratic Party includes gun control as a main focus, the reality is that not every Democrat believes as strongly in that cause as the party leaders. The same goes for the Republicans, in that not every Republican is as rabidly pro-gun as the party leaders claim. Our readership, on the other hand, seems to be rather single-minded in their pro-gun focus.

NOTE: The above chart depicts “Conservative” on the left side and “Liberal” on the right.

In the general population of the United States there’s a general correlation between political affiliation (Democrat or Republican) and one’s views on gun rights. The results of the reader survey mirror that rough correlation, but there’s also a significant trend in the results indicating that the younger readers tend to consider themselves to be less rabidly conservative than their elders. Readers over 60 years of age overwhelmingly answered “Very Conservative” (1) whereas only 23% of those under 18 agreed.

The fact that there’s a smooth gradient from one end of the age range to the other indicates that this is most likely a reflection of the changing political views of the different generations, as outlined by the Pew Research Center.

CC

Carrying a firearm in public is a hotly contested topic these days, with the gun control activists constantly promoting the idea of “concealed carry killers” and that people carrying a gun will suddenly “snap” and start murdering people. While the proclamations of “blood in the streets” have not come to pass following the implementation of concealed carry nationwide and the spread of open carry, opinions on these ideas is still vary from one population to another.

Just about everyone agrees that concealed carry should be legal and supported nationwide. The number of people reporting as being against concealed carry is so small (especially given the margin of error) that it can be safely ignored.

OpenCarryOpinion

When it comes to the idea of open carry the readers overwhelmingly support it (98.6%), but a significant majority of the readership thinks that it should not be encouraged when concealed carry is available (59.1%). Additionally, only 5.1% of readers surveyed reported that they have attended an open carry rally — and that figure does not vary by age or political leanings.

OC-Leanings

Unsurprisingly, the biggest support for encouraging open carry comes from the readers who consider themselves to be furthest on the conservative side of the scale (1). But while the liberal end of the readership might not approve of encouraging open carry, the vast and overwhelming majority still thinks that it should be a legal option (66.23% of those who answered “Liberal” for political leanings). Only a small minority (<10% of any political category, 1.4% overall) believes that open carry should be illegal.

CC-1

While the majority of readers might support concealed carry a significant number of readers (20.8%) do not have a concealed carry license or choose not to carry a handgun, 15.9% responding that they do not have such a license even though their state permits it and they would not (theoretically) be disqualified.  75.1% of readers responded that they have a concealed handgun license, and 3% live in “constitutional carry” states.

CC-2

There’s a significant positive correlation between the percentage of people responding that they have a concealed carry license and their age group, with more people indicating that they have such a license as their age increases.

MagCap

The idea of magazine capacity restrictions is pretty much a non-starter with the TTAG readership – 99.4% do not support any sort of magazine capacity restrictions for firearms, and the number of people responding that they support such restrictions is too small to do any meaningful analysis.

AWB

Similarly, the number of people who support an “assault weapons ban” is small enough to be statistically insignificant. Note that two fewer people reported as being in favor of an “assault weapons ban” than magazine capacity restrictions, indicating that even among gun control advocates there’s degrees of disagreement on which proposals to support.

UBC

The only gun control proposal that gained any support with the TTAG readership was the idea of “universal background checks.” 22.1% of readers reported that they would consider supporting a “universal background check” proposal. While this represents a minority of the surveyed readership, this highlights an area of opportunity for gun control advocates to exploit in order to gain a majority of voters in a plebiscite.

f-number

The phrase “once you pop you just can’t stop” seems to apply as equally to firearms as it does to Pringles. Only 4.3% of readers report owning a single firearm, with the majority owning between two and twenty. That bell curve narrows back down at the 20+ mark, with 17.1% of readers reporting that they own in excess of twenty guns.

While the largest percentage of respondents indicated that they own between two and five firearms, the difference between the “2- 5” category and the “6 – 10” category is well within the margin of error.

GunsbyAge

When broken down by age, it seems that there is a distinct correlation between the age of the reader and how many guns they own. There’s a large spike for younger readers reporting that they own only a few firearms, and a smooth gradient for the remainder of the age ranges indicating that fewer and fewer people reported owning between one and five guns as the age of the reader increased. The same trend is evident on the other side of the scale as well, with very few people under 30 years old reporting owning over 20 guns and a slow gradient over the age ranges to the 60+ group who reported the highest percentage of responses in that category.

MR-own-why

There are some significant differences in the rationale for ownership among the different age groups. For the younger crowd the aesthetic argument is significantly more popular, with hunting coming in a close second. Self-defense and home defense is not a consideration for the “under 18” crowd.

On the other end of the spectrum there’s a significant spike in the percentage of people over the age of 60 who reported owning an AR-15 for target shooting purposes. This may indicate a higher likelihood for older shooters to be interested in precision barrels and accessories for their rifle as opposed to the more “tacticool” accessories and kit that a younger person may be interested in purchasing.

 

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    If you’re a conservative when you’re 18 you have no heart. If you’re a liberal when you’re 40 you have no brain. Or something to that effect. Overall I consider myself slightly left of center. Gays have the same civil rights as the rest of us. Same with women and minorities. But I can’t vote democrat cause nothing trumps my gun rights.

    I’m partly retired in that I draw a monthly check from my retirement plan but I still work part time so as to keep busy and stay out of trouble. jwm with too much time on his hands can get in trouble. I’ve seen him do it.

    I like the fact that we’re winning over a lot of the young ones. I’ve tried to introduce as many as possible to guns and have even given guns away. I consider it an investment, just like a retirement fund.

    Even tho I’ve never played one myself I believe video games contribute to our growing fan base amongst the young and I encourage this trend.

    1. avatar Joe says:

      I’m 33, grew up in a gun-free suburban home in Ohio. Every year my grandfather would pay us a visit on his annual trip from FL to PA to deer hunt and take my brother and I into the woods to introduce us to shooting.

      Besides these quick outings, I had no experience with guns save for video games and movies. Instead of being frightened (probably due to my early exposure), I was envious because shooting cool military style guns looked like a blast. I remember specifically playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare and using a rifle with an Eotech sight. I wanted a rifle with an Eotech sight.

      Fast forward 5-10 years…as I became self-sufficient with a steady job and out on my own, I decided to take the plunge and buy my first gun. The buying hasn’t stopped and it’s become a real passion. However, my first rifle was an AR with an Eotech sight.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        This is a very good illustration of my point. I’ve been shooting for more than 50 years. I’ve never owned an AR style rifle(issued an m16 in the military) and have never used an Eotech. But the games peak interests and this is nothing but good for us.

        1. avatar ShaunL. says:

          jwm, I wasn’t a fan of the AR platform either and never bothered owning one because there were too many options available that suited my taste better. That changed as soon as the AR platform became the go to “evil assault weapon” for the anti’s agenda.

          I’m still not a fan of the platform but I’ll ALWAYS have one in the “arsenal” if for no other reason than THEY think we shouldn’t.

        2. avatar Joe says:

          It also works both ways. My interest rubbed off on my father. Before, guns were something he feared…having no experience with them. I taught him how they function and how to handle them safely. Once he understood their operation, the mists cleared and he saw they were not instruments of death that were going to magically start killing people. Now that former gun free home has a brand new VP9.

      2. avatar pod says:

        I’ve never played a CoD style video game. The last shooter I played was Quake III.

        My first AR was a Colt LE6920 with MOE furniture. The quality was there and the price was right. Did it look “tacticool”? Sure it did. I picked it because it was well-reviewed and proven in the field by law enforcement. Same for the EOTech. I figured if it could take a beating in the field (thermal drift issues aside) it was good enough for me. That rifle is still in my safe, albeit with some modifications.

    2. avatar wright says:

      I’ll take a few guns as long as your giving.

    3. avatar wright says:

      I’m 18 and pretty conservative. I guess I need a heart transplant.

      1. avatar tmm says:

        You’ve got a heart. You just listened to your brain early.

  2. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Universal background checks? Really? I could get along with that so long as it is accompanied by universal constitutional carry and an absolute, “you will go to jail” prohibition of any manner of registry. That seems like a fair trade, since the only purpose of UBC is to finally gain a registry, and without a registry UBC is completely unenforceable. IOW, UBC would still be meaningless, but universal constitutional carry would not be. Hey, once everybody has had a background check, of course we should let them all carry everywhere! Those checks are really all that important, right?

    1. avatar Swilson says:

      Man I like that idea- pass a UBC, no need to go thru the process for a CCW permit. That is the big gripe I have here in NC: in order to get a CCW permit, you have to pay to take an accredited course, then pay for the CCW application. I want one, if nothing else, just to be able to buy a handgun whenever I want and not have to get a Pistol Purchase Permit from the sheriff. I should be able to Constitutional carry in NC- local sheriff has approved my purchase of each of the 7 handguns I own.

    2. avatar Matt says:

      The problem above I see is Nick worded the question 2 different ways. “Do you support universal background checks?” “Would you consider universal backgrounds checks?” Those are two very different questions.

      For me the answers are no and yes. No, I don’t support UBCs because they won’t do anything but encumber honest people in an unenforceable way. I also think they will create a slightly black but partly gray market that allows people to freely trade guns that are unaccounted for before that UBC go live date and thus is self defeating. Yes in that I’d consider UBCs if the gain on our side as significant enough to be worth it. I’d also need nationwide carry and guaranteed no registry (I don’t know how that’s possible with required background checks). Past that my price is higher, Hughes goes away, free interstate transport of NFA, silencers, sbrs, and sbs off NFA (and mgs too if we could get them but I doubt it). I’d also consider any legislation that makes any new firearms restrictions of any type illegal and lays the groundwork to get rid of current restrictions instead.

      1. avatar tmm says:

        I would have to say no on both. The temptation would be too great to take away any gain received by consenting to UBC. And things change…the guy who made the promise originally won’t be the next guy. Don’t dance with the devil you know because later there will be a devil you don’t know.

  3. avatar Kap says:

    Very interesting! being an over the hill has been want ta be, find all categories relevant, maybe an interesting side note! how many of my Generation `>60 watched Roy Rodgers, Hop A long Cassidy, Gene Autry! Gun smoke, have gun will Travel, the Rifle man and or others I can’t remember! just curious and did that have any bearing on the gun ownership issue and being comfortable around guns!
    I grew up in the country and we always had a loaded rifle in accessible places in the house, Sauna or barn (usually a .22) a 30-30 and slug gun ready to go in the house! used numerous times on invading Skunks, rabid Fox, Coy Dogs, Bears and once for backup persuading an escaped prisoner to be on his way!

  4. avatar AnarchoCatholic says:

    How about:
    In which state do you reside?
    If you carry, what caliber?

  5. avatar Dr Brainwash says:

    “According to the latest figures just 38% of Americans are employed on a full-time basis.”

    Jesus really? It’s that bad? Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was bad, but that’s really bad.

    1. avatar Shire-man says:

      Factor out all of those full time government jobs which are essentially welfare (I work one) and there are about five (hyperbole) actual producers in this country. All over 80 and all set to die soon.

      We’re very close to not creating/making enough to support the leech population.
      Good times are coming.

    2. avatar 16V says:

      They’ve been misdirecting the media for so long, they actually believe that 1st time UC actually means something taken out of context. Here’s a little better idea of what is really happening

      http://www.gallup.com/opinion/chairman/181469/big-lie-unemployment.aspx

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        And *that* right there is why Trump will do far better than the Left is willing to admit.

        Trump is going to *relentlessly* hammer her on unemployment…

      2. avatar neiowa says:

        Anyone that leaves their basement (or the Beltway) instinctively knows ALL Obumer stats are BS. There has been no “recovery.”

        The long term measure of unemployment was the “U6” rate. Made Obumer look bad so in the ditch with it.
        http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp

    3. avatar Swilson says:

      That statistic shocked me too.

  6. avatar wright says:

    Sounds like there’s some Fudds among us.

    1. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

      Ummm…I’m thinking trolls and not fudds. I spend far too much time here. And almost left a few times(due to an increasingly maddening glitchy site).

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Hey, it looks like they fixed the log-in issue, and the edit timer is back…

  7. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Thanks for the data summary from the survey. Hoping y’all would digest it and show it to us.

    It would be nice if you guys surveyed state and caliber carried. Hopefully folks would be honest.

    I carry 9mm, 38 spl, 357, and 380. I MAY have one of the larger calibers but I will definitely have the 380.

    Having use many survey instruments over the years, I realize the task of compiling the data.

    Tough to do but it feels good when you’re done.

  8. avatar Jason says:

    With regards to your analysis of CHL by age group, please consider that many states do not allow CHLs for anyone under 21.

    Additionally, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase a handgun from a dealer. So, that would also affect the “number of guns owned” questions.

    It may be worthwhile to split the “18-30” group into “18-20” and “21-30” in future surveys to get a more detailed picture.

    If your data shows that there is a large percentage of 18-20 year olds who would like to legally carry concealed, that provides another avenue to expanding gun rights to a younger generation (a la reducing the voting age to 18).

    1. avatar Cole says:

      Yeah as an 18 year old I agree the categories should be changed to an 18-20 age group because of all the laws discriminating against us (democrats are starting a war on young people). If we could get the carry and purchasing laws changed to 18 year old like they should be that would be awesome.

  9. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    good number crunching Nick. This is interesting stuff.

  10. avatar ThomasR says:

    20% want UBC’s? Geez!! Even among dedicated gun owners? How pathetic! Would a UBC have stopped any of the mass shooters here in the states? No, almost all bought their guns legally with a back ground check. Stop criminals? Really? Stop anyone really intent on committing harm?

    This proves my point that most people really don’t want to be free. Most people want to control, and/or be controlled by others. There is no other reason for so many that need to have Big Brother looking over their shoulder giving them permission to practice a privilege, because it would definitely not be a right.

    This explains the norm of tyranny and dictatorship for most of recorded history. A slave, in the end, could not be a slave without thier agreement, at least willing aquiesence, at some level.

  11. Ok, who’s the troll? Supporting AW bans and mag cap restrictions? Gotta be 2Asux.

    1. avatar Timmy! says:

      Who also voted as “Willy Lunchmeat” and “More Dead Soldiers” among other troll names probably.

      1. avatar wright says:

        is 2A even around anymore?

  12. avatar jamesdc95 says:

    I’d be interested to see other divisions of TTAG’s readers, like race, orientation, etc

  13. avatar H says:

    Nice work!!

  14. avatar The grey man says:

    So one of the questions was, “do you have a concealed carry license” and one of the answers was, “No, but I still carry cuz F*** the police!”

    Curious to see how many chose that answer….

    1. avatar radar says:

      It is somewhat shown in the first bars on the graph, though it is not as detailed.

  15. avatar S.CROCK says:

    I wanna know where these people under 18 and owning 60+ guns are! Yea Im jealous. I also wanna know who the mag cap and anti carry people are.

  16. avatar Jeremy S. says:

    I’d like to think that the high percentage of Under 18 visitors who are new to TTAG are coming here because they’re approaching their 18th birthday and are thinking about buying a firearm. They didn’t come here before since they were too young to buy a gun of their own. Now they’re getting close and they’re visiting us to learn everything they can. At least, it makes some sense to me as to why there’s so much correlation between “I’m new to TTAG” and “I’m under 18.”

  17. avatar Jeremiah S. says:

    My favorite reason for visiting this website is not only because of the fantastic reviews that staff does, but because it is one of the few gun websites that isn’t blocked by my work computer.

  18. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “Similarly, the number of people who support an “assault weapons ban” is small enough to be statistically insignificant.”

    Er, any chance you could *accidentally* post the IP addy of those traitors?

    Please? 🙂

  19. avatar neiowa says:

    “how many guns do you own?”.. I think the only answer would be “not enough”

    Next time add –
    “are you a vet?”
    “were firearms part of your military job?” Integral, occasional, or no.

  20. avatar Twisted Swifter says:

    I bet that was a lot of hard work. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  21. avatar radar says:

    (quote) When it comes to the idea of open carry the readers overwhelmingly support it (98.6%), but a significant majority of the readership thinks that it should not be encouraged when concealed carry is available (59.1%).

    I would ONLY consider ” conceal carry available” to mean or equal “Constitutional Carry” WITHOUT PERMIT or License.

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