The Furry Survey, developed by Alex Osaki, is an ongoing, yearly furry surveying effort. According to its author, it is the largest general-purpose furry survey in the world . The current version has been put together for 2013; the 2008 version closed with just over 7000 respondents..
Although inconsistently described as a "poll," it is in fact structured more along the lines of a census. Intended to compile information about people in the furry fandom, it takes the form of a 32-question battery asking about sexual orientation and other common demographic issues. As of February 5th, 2009, the survey sampled roughly 3350 persons.
An initial version of the survey was compiled in late 2003 and posted to various Usenet groups and furry message boards. The project was then shelved until 2007, when it was rewritten into its current form as a large-scale collector of basic demographic information. At that point, the survey was also reconceived as a yearly exercise; a summary document covering responses submitted during 2008, entitled "State of the Fandom 2008," was released on June 27 of that year.
The 2009 version of the survey launched in mid-January and had gained several thousand responses by the end of that month.
Please note that the survey is ongoing and continues to update. Unless otherwise noted, results quoted in this article come from the 2008 version of the survey, which has since been superceded by a newer edition.
In general, the results of the survey mesh with existing data, including that of the University of California, Davis campus. The survey reports that 78% of respondents were male, 80.9% self-identified as "Caucasian, non-Hispanic", and 68.3% reported their location as the United States (7.9% reported their location as Canada).
The survey indicates a comparatively young fandom, with a third (33.2%) of respondents reporting their age as between 15 and 19; the average age of 23.28 years is very slightly younger than the UC-Davis indicated figure of 24.6 years. Correspondingly, around 60% of respondents said they had considered themselves a furry for between 0 and 5 years; 9.5% said they had done so for less than 1.
The education level tends to be fairly high. The percentage of American respondents aged 25 or higher reporting a college degree, at 52.9%, is substantially higher than the 28.4% reported by the US Census Bureau.
Furries tended to report that they shied away from mainstream religions; about a quarter reported adhering to a Christian belief system; there were only 68 Jews, 12 Muslims, and 140 Buddhists out of 6525 people providing an answer about their religion. 7.6% reported their religion as "pagan". The most popular answers were agnosticism (22.7%) and atheism (21.2%); an "other" option (17.2%) includes a number of self-professed and otherwise blended religions.
78.1% of respondents identified "strongly" or "extremely strongly" as human. 6.2%, asked to respond to the statement "I am predominantly human", said that they did not consider themselves human at all.
Among respondents listing an orientation, 32.3% described themselves as heterosexual, 22.1% as homosexual, and 35.2% as bisexual. These numbers largely concur with those reported by the University of California (32.7% heterosexual, 25.5% homosexual, 37.3% bisexual), both of which differ substantially from David Rust's 1999 survey of the fandom.
Perhaps one of the more intriguing aspects comes from a series of questions asking respondents to describe how important they considered sex to be for their furry lives, as well as for the furry lives of others. A third question asked respondents to comment on the perception of the importance of sex by the public at large.
While the vast majority (86.7%) answered that the public assumed sex played a "large" or "extremely large" role in the furry fandom, only 13.9% of respondents answered similarly for themselves. The distribution is strongly skewed towards a minimising of the importance of sex; 41.3% said it played a "small" or "extremely small" role with the balance (25.5%) saying it played a "medium role".
However, they were more agnostic about their fellow furries. While around half (47.1%) said they thought it played a "medium" role in the lives of other furries, about a third (34.3%) said it played a "large" or "extremely large" role. More drasically, only 15.5% thought sex was played a small or extremely small role in the lives of other furries. No explanation is provided for this difference.
18.4% of respondents self-identified as zoophiles, an amount which may or may not be different in a statistical sense from the general population (Alvarez and Freinhar's control groups reported a 10% and 15% prevalence respectively). No questions were asked as to the degree of activity, if any.
Respondents were agnostic leaning negative towards zoophiles. Of users reporting an opinion, a plurality (36.8%) described themselves as ambivalent, with 18% reporting positive feelings and around 45% reporting negative ones. If the answer is limited to non-zoophiles, the number reporting "negative" or "extremely negative" feelings increases to 54.3%, with only 7% of non-zoophiles having a positive or extremely positive opinion.
Activities within the fandom
A portion of the survey is dedicated to exploring what people consider to be important within the fandom. Respondents consistently reported creative activity; 50.4% described themselves as artists and 40.4% as authors. Correspondingly, 90% described graphic art as "important" or "extremely important"; 60% said the same about writing.
Besting both of these, 93.5% of respondents said that online communities were "important" or "extremely important", with 70.9% choosing the latter option--perhaps unsurprisingly given that the survey was administered online. Music was much less popular; only 23.6% of respondents described it as "important" or "extremely important"; 36.1% described it as "unimportant" or "extremely unimportant".
Around a third of furries (36.5%) described themselves as convention attendees; 63.3% of respondents considered conventions important or extremely important to the furry fandom; only 6.8% described them as unimportant.
When asked if they belonged to any furry websites, 78.9% of respondents answered in the affirmative. Of these, Fur Affinity was the clear winner, with almost three quarters of all persons listing websites saying they belonged in some fashion to FA. Websites spotlighting local groups were also popular, particular those tied to the United Kingdom and Australia. Furry writing website Yiffstar took the #2 spot, joined by artistic sites like VCL (#3), DeviantArt (#6) and Artspots (#8) in the top 10. Rounding out this list was Pounced (#4), Furtopia (#5), FurNation (#7), WikiFur (#9), and Furcadia (#10).
3785 persons identified a particular species that they said they identified with. Among these, canines were a 44.2% plurality, with wolves making up 17.9% of respondents and red foxes 12.9%. Domestic cats were the third most popular option, with 8.6%, followed by dragons (6.5%), tigers (4.2%), unspecified domestic dogs (3.6%), lions (2.6%), rabbits (2.3%), huskies and raccoons (2.1% each).
The data from the survey matches closely with that from the University of California in suggesting that ~80% of furries are not themselves fursuiters. On the whole, furries display a strong commonality of interests; 68% described themselves as being fans of science-fiction; 71.9% said they were fans of science and technology or computers. 53.6% described themselves as fans of anime; 59.2% as fans of role-playing games.