WMUK membership survey - 2013 demographics report

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In addition to the main part of the November 2013 members' survey, members were asked a series of demographic-related questions, answers to which were provided on a strictly anonymous basis. 54 members gave answers to some or all of the demographics questions. This page provides our public report on the responses. It was prepared by Michael Maggs, Chair of the board of trustees, who was allowed access on a confidential basis to the anonymised and unattributable replies.

In the tables below, the first column of figures gives the raw numbers. The second column lists the percentages as a proportion of the 54 participating members.

"Unspecified" includes respondents who made no reply, as well as those who positively indicated that they they preferred not to respond.

Because of the sensitivity of some of the questions, and the small numbers of respondents, most of the data presented here is grouped. Where raw numbers of respondents can be reported without risk to confidentiality of individual responses, that has been done. However, where the number of responses to a particular question was so low that it might be possible for individuals to be identified, a percentage range has been given, and the raw numbers replaced with an asterisk (*).

Summary and overview

Subject to the obvious caveat that the respondents formed a relatively small self-selected group, what can this survey tell us about the demographics of WMUK members?

WMUK members are, in some ways, a rather un-diverse group. They are mostly male, mostly white and mostly well-educated. Allowing for the 'unspecified' responses, we can estimate that 7-15% of our members are female, and that 6-13% of members do not identify themselves as white. Only 20% are not educated to degree level or equivalent.

The age profile of members is fairly uniform over the decades from the age of 20 onwards, perhaps suggesting that our membership is on average significantly older than the archetypal student Wikipedia contributor. However, 19% of respondents preferred not to state their year of birth, and it is likely that at least some of those will be under the age of 18.

Health problems or disabilities affecting day to day activities (either 'a little' or 'a lot') were reported by 17% of members.

The questions on sexual orientation were objected to by several respondents, but around 65% of members identified as straight and 15% as gay/bisexual. The remaining 20% preferred not to say. There were too few responses to the question on transsexuality to allow the raw numbers to be published without risk of breaching confidentiality.


No. %
Male 46 85%
Female 4 7%
Unspecified 4 7%
Age (approximate, based on year of birth)
No. %
<21 0 0
21 – 30 10 19%
31 – 40 12 22%
41 – 50 3 6%
51 – 60 8 15%
61 – 70 6 11%
>70 5 9%
Unspecified 10 19%
Educational qualifications
No. %
Up to GCSE, A-level, HNC or equivalent 5 9%
Level 5 NVQ, Certificate of higher education or equivalent 3 6%
Foundation or bachelor's degree or equivalent 24 44%
Master's or doctoral degree, or equivalent 19 35%
Other (eg professional qualification) 3 6%
Are your activities limited by health or disability?
No. %
No 43 80%
Yes 9 17%
Unspecified 2 4%
No. %
White - English / Welsh / Scottish / Northern Irish / British 40 74%
White – Irish, Gypsy or Irish Traveller 3 6%
White - Any other White background 4 7%
Other ethnic group 3 6%
Unspecified 4 7%
Sexual orientation
No. %
Straight 35 65%
Gay 4 7%
Bisexual 4 7%
Unspecified 11 20%
Are you living in the gender you were assigned at birth?
No. %
Yes * >85%
No * <5%
Unspecified * <10%


Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents reported that they spoke, read and wrote English. There were insufficient responses on other languages to provide a breakdown, but the following were mentioned at least once: Welsh, Scots, Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge), Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig), Cornish, French, German, Russian, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hakka.

Accessibility equipment

Respondents were asked if there was accessibility equipment they would find useful, in addition to WMUK's audio induction loop. One respondent replied

  • It would be nice to have a large screen and powerful projector available, so that I am always able to read the text on screen during presentations.


Respondents were asked if they had any anything to add. Comments included:

  • Great chance to meet others and develop Wikimedia further; that's something we couldn't do without a unifying body.
  • It seems to be a core group of people doing the same thing over and over again (like Editathons).
  • The core membership group doesn't appear to have grown at all, and the outreach appears to be geared towards acquiring "stuff" rather than spreading the Wikimedia movement's mission.
  • The disruptive members of the wiki make it so I don't want to edit the wiki at all. No-one stops them.
  • I'm very proud to be a member of Wikimedia UK.
  • I am keen that the reputation of Wikipedia in particular is enhanced, as it gets a lot of skepticism among my peer group.
  • Some very negative members put me off getting involved.
  • I would feel much happier if there wasn't so much negativity about everything. There are one or two members [who show] negative behaviour and at times blank hostility to everything, especially staff, which is extremely disruptive.

See also