Demographics and Socio-Economics of Respondents
Summer 2015 Survey
In order to gain an understanding of the demographic, social, and economic position of survey respondents, a series of questions were asked regarding these areas. In summary, the general demographics and socio-economics of the survey group were skewed towards, 1) females with a bachelor’s degree or above, 2) people who live in counties with a metropolitan area, and 3) people who work or seek to work in a professional career. While there was certainly variation within these trends, as will be discussed below, the general characteristics of the survey population are as given above.
In regards to gender, 239 (76.1%) of the respondents identified as female, while 73 (23.2%) identified as male, and 2 people preferred not to answer. The 2010 US census shows a more equal balance among the larger West Virginia population, with 50.7% female and 49.3% male. For age, the distribution reflects the focus on young professionals, with the majority between the ages of 24-29 (41.7%) and 30-35 (32.8%). For geographic location, respondents were from 35 of the 55 counties in the state. The bulk of the respondents, 190 or 60.4%, were from five counties that have major urban areas. Another 21 respondents (6.7%) were from Fayette County, which has unique characteristics due to tourism that sets it apart from counties that have more traditionally rural characteristics. When Fayette County is combined with the five urban counties, these six counties consist of a total of 67.1% of survey respondents.
For the economic conditions of the survey population, the majority self-identified as mid-level employees (53.8%). In regards to salary range, the central distribution was around the $30-$39,000 range (20.7%), which is somewhat lower than the median income for WV in 2014 at $41,043, and substantially lower than the national median of $53,046. Respondents show a wide distribution of ratios for housing cost and incomes, with the majority (52.3%) being between 10-24% of income spent on rent, with another 14% spending over 30% of their income on housing. For job satisfaction, the majority were either somewhat satisfied or extremely satisfied, with 62.7% falling within these two categories. Finally, for educational achievement, the overwhelming majority of respondents had received a bachelor’s degree (44.3%) or above (42.7%). For comparison, only 18.3% of the larger West Virginia population holds bachelor’s degrees or above, and for the US as a whole 28.8% of the population have achieved bachelor’s degrees or above.
Winter 2016 Survey
The only demographic data collected on the political engagement survey was age. The distribution reflects the focus on young professionals, with the majority between the ages of 24-29 (31.1%) and 30-35 (43.9%). 9.2% of respondents were between the ages of 18-23, 12.1% of respondents were between the ages of 36-40, and 3.7% of the respondents were between the ages of 41-45.
Dissemination and Sample Size
Both surveys were administered through Facebook, Twitter, and the Generation West Virginia email list and the use of these platforms for dissemination means that the participant population is skewed towards those with internet and online presences and those young West Virginians who are already engaged with the work of Generation West Virginia. Data was analyzed using exploratory methods, and this along with the informal administration of the survey means that the data should be seen as an initial starting point for understanding young professionals’ preferences. There were 314 individual responders to the Summer 2015 survey and 507 respondents to the Winter 2016 survey, providing a large enough sample size on which to base exploratory data analysis. However, the survey administration and sample size do not allow for more statistically significant results. Therefore, these results should be seen as initial insight to be built upon by further research.