Summer 2020 Survey

Number of Participants: 559

Demographics:

Nationality:

The data from the present study is the product of participants from 41 different countries. And while half of our sample is from North America (where we do much of our research), a significant chunk of participants were also from Europe and Southeast Asia.

  • USA: 34.9%
  • Canada: 16.5%
  • China: 11.1%
  • UK: 9.1%
  • Germany: 8.2%
  • Finland: 4.5%
  • Australia: 1.3%
  • France: 1.3%
  • The Netherlands: 1.3%
  • Portugal: 1.1%
Race/Ethnicity:

As we’ve observed in many of our other studies (which largely take place in North America,) participants in our sample were predominantly white. Notably, given the significant sample of participants from China and Southeast Asia, we had a sizable proportion of participants who identified as East Asian as well.

  • 78.6% White
  • 1.6% Black
  • 1.6% Indigenous/Native
  • 15.3% East Asian
  • 3.2% Hispanic
  • 0.7% Middle East
  • 0.7% Central Asia/India
Age:

Average = 28.30 years (SD: 8.65) – As we’ve found in prior studies, furries tend to be fairly young as a group (with the usual caveat that we are unable to study participants under the age of 18). The bulk of participants were in their late teens or early 20s.

— 59.2% of furries say their first interaction with the furry fandom was under the age of 18 (with 35.1% saying it was before the age of 16 and 11.3% saying it was before the age of 13.)
— The average furry has been a furry for approximately 9.78 years

Sex/Gender (check any that apply):
  • Male: 73.2%
  • Female: 10.1%
  • Trans: 12.5%
  • Non-Binary: 12.5%
  • Genderqueer: 4.2%
  • Genderfluid: 5.6%
  • Agender: 2.9%
  • Other: 1.8%
Sexual orientation:
  • Lesbian, gay, homosexual: 28.8%
  • Straight or heterosexual: 10.1%
  • Bisexual: 23.4%
  • Pansexual: 16.5%
  • Asexual: 10.5%
  • I don’t know: 5.8%
  • Something else: 4.9%
Relationship Status (Check all that apply):
  • Not dating: 45.5%
  • Dating: 25.4%
  • Polyamorous: 8.5%
  • Engaged: 5.3%
  • Married / Common Law: 10.7%
  • Widowed / Divorced: 0.6%
  • Other: 4.2%
Relative Socioeconomic Status:

3.8% of furries have kids.

Subgroup Prevalence

It’s worth noting from this subgroup data that about one in three furries owns a fursui—a number that is considerably higher than what we found in our early research on the fandom more than a decade ago, suggesting that fursuiting may be increasing in prevalence. This is also the first time we’ve noted YouTube creators in our studies, given the growing prominence that YouTube has been playing in the furry fandom.

  • Therians: 7.5%
  • Otherkin: 5.5%
  • Lycanthropes: 1.8%
  • Bronies: 9.1%
  • Military Furs: 3.3%
  • Popufurs: 2.2%
  • Artists: 34.7%
  • Gamers: 64.1%
  • Musicians: 16.9%
  • Writers: 21.7%
  • Greymuzzles: 14.1%
  • Cub/Babyfurs: 7.1%
  • Anime Fans: 31.8%
  • Sci-Fi Fans: 42.5%
  • YouTube Creators: 7.3%
  • Fursuiters: 35.2%
  • Fursuit Builders: 10.2%
  • Roleplayers: 28.3%
Fursona Species Prevalence:

In line with prior findings, wolves are, internationally, still the most prevalent single fursona species. That said, the present study represents the first time that foxes have been outnumbered by a species other than wolf—namely dragons, who took the second slot for more prevalent single fursona species. It’s also notable that, despite providing around 40 different categories to capture the most popular fursona species, nearly one-quarter of all furries indicated having an “other” fursona species.

    • Other: 23.9%
    • Wolf: 20.7%
    • Dragon: 16.0%
    • Fox: 15.8%
    • Hybrid: 14.0%
    • Dog: 10.6%
    • Housecat: 8.2%
    • Other Big Cat: 6.9%
    • Mythic/Mystic: 6.7%
    • Tiger: 5%
    • Lion: 3.4%
    • Shapeshifter: 3.4%
    • Deer: 3.2%
    • Hyena: 2.8%
    • Rabbit: 2.6%
    • Raccoon: 2.2%
    • Bear: 2.2%
    • Otter: 2.2%
    • Snow Leopard: 2.2%
    • Reptile: 1.7%
    • Pokemon: 1.5%
    • Were-: 1.3%
    • Skunk: 1.3%
    • Bull: 1.1%
    • Horse: 1.1%
    • Phoenix: 0.9%
    • Sergal: 0.9%
    • Other Bird: 0.7%
    • Goat: 0.7%
    • Cow: 0.6%
    • Mouse/Rat: 0.6%
    • Unicorn: 0.6%
    • Shark: 0.6%
    • Crow: 0.6%
    • Kangaroo: 0.6%
    • Gryphon: 0.6%
    • Snake: 0.6%
    • Primate: 0.6%
    • Raven: 0.4%
    • Squirrel: 0.4%
    • Dinosaur: 0.4%
    Relationships:

    With respect to furries who are currently in a relationship:
    — 21.3% are furries with partners who are not furries
    — 76.7% are furries with a partner who is a furry
    … 75.5 were already furries when they met
    …14.6% got their partner into the fandom
    … 7.6% were, along with their partner, not furries when they first met

    — Furries are far more likely to say that being a furry has been beneficial to their relationship than detrimental to their relationship
    — Furries are far more likely to argue with their partner over non-furry things than about furry-related things
    — Furries overwhelmingly report that their involvement in furry-related activities rarely leads to conflict with their partners (with a greater tendency for conflict for furries whose partners are not furry)
    — The gathered data allowed us to test (and find evidence for) an unusual model showing the relationship between furry content consumption and relationship satisfaction. Specifically, for participants whose partner is not a furry, greater furry content consumption is associated with the perception that furry is helping their relationship, leading to greater relationship satisfaction. This same pattern is not found for furries whose partners are also furries. One possible explanation is the fact that furries who are able to consume furry content despite having a non-furry partner may be appreciative of this (as opposed to being with a partner who is opposed to their openly consuming furry content), which may lead to the perception that being able to be furry is helping their relationship and, ultimately that they have amore satisfying relationship. More research is needed to further investigate this possibility.

  • Qualitative analyses asking participants in an open-ended fashion to explain benefits that the furry fandom provided for their research revealed ten primary benefits, in order of frequency:
    • Furry was the way I met my partner (online, at conventions, through mutual friends)
    • Furry provides us with shared activities to engage in (e.g., cons, fursuiting, doing art)
    • Furry is a shared interest we both have, which brings us closer together
    • Furry allows my partner and I to express a part of ourselves (emotions, identities)
    • The furry fandom provides a space that is accepting of sexual / gender identity or which allows a safe place to express facets of ourselves (e.g., kinks, identity exploration)
    • The fandom provides social networks for my partner and I to connect with others
    • The fandom has allowed my partner and I to improve as people (e.g., confidence)
    • The fandom allows my partner and I to explore facets of ourselves (e.g., through roleplay)
    • The fandom provides social support or a means of maintaining our relationship
    • The fandom is an important part of our income / business / job (e.g., artist, vendor)

    Qualitative analyses asking participants in an open-ended fashion to explain ways that the furry fandom has hurt their relationships revealed nine primary drawbacks. They are presented here, in order of frequency, though it should be noted that positives and negatives were listed at a ratio of about 5:1, and that negatives were more common among participants whose partners were not furries.

    • The fandom contributes to jealousy (e.g., toward others in the fandom, or for taking up my time)
    • Stigmatizing beliefs from my partner or concern about being discovered to be a furry by someone else, who would react negatively
    • Specific problem people in local groups or the small, insular nature of local groups (e.g., individuals who are sexually aggressive or poorly-behaved at local meet-ups)
    • The fandom is too open toward polyamory, sexuality, kinks, etc.
    • Lack of partner’s interest in furry or general dislike of the fandom
    • Money problems created by interest in furry (e.g., unable to afford conventions)
    • “Drama” or conflict in the fandom
    • Disagreements or concerns about fandom-specific content (e.g., cringe, particular artists)
    • Conflict about fandom-related activities (e.g., certain cons, the role of fursuits in sex)
    Spending Habits

    When asked on a 3-item scale about the frequency with which participants made furry-related purchases that they regrated, shouldn’t have made, or which led to financial problems:

    — About 85% of furries say they always or usually commission furry content for themselves; about 5% say they always or usually commission furry content for another person

    — The most popular place to go to request a furry commission is FurAffinity (51.1%), followed by Twitter (47.8%), in-person at a furry convention (36.6%), and an artist’s personal website (30.0%). 26.5% of furries other means besides these, Patreon (9.7%), or DeviantArt (9.3%).

    — 38.3% of furries say they never or rarely consult with others for suggestions when looking to commission an artist; in contrast, only 13.9% of furries say they always or frequently consult with others when looking to commission an artist

    Participants were asked, for 16 different categories, to estimate how much money they had spent over the course of their lifetime on furry-related content. They were also asked to indicate the most money they had spent on a single purchase from that category. For each category we calculated the median, the mean, and then the mean score of people who had spent more than $0 in that category. We also calculated the percentage of participants who indicated they had spent money on that category. Given the international nature of the sample, participants were asked to answer with respect to their local currency and to indicate what that currency was. All values were converted to $USD before the analysis was conducted.

    Item Lifetime Median Lifetime Mean Lifetime Mean (No 0s) Largest Purchase Median Largest Purchase Mean Largest Mean (no 0s) % Who Spent Anything
    Digital Art Commission $250.00 $881.74 $1001.22 $80.00 $134.59 $149.63 66.0
    Traditional Art Commission $30.00 $294.00 $457.57 $24.20 $68.52 $111.99 36.1
    Badge Commission $50.00 $159.49 $235.86 $30.00 $34.33 $49.92 42.2
    Fursuit $245.00 $1410.39 $2707.30 $254.00 $1012.24 $1867.82 31.1
    Written Work (e.g., Story) $0.00 $57.03 $339.80 $0.00 $6.76 $37.41 8.6
    Non-Commissioned Physical Art $0.00 $127.59 $345.32 $0.00 $42.30 $110.72 19.5
    Physical Print $30.00 $146.24 $247.31 $18.00 $32.23 $53.11 34.2
    Tail, Paws, Wings, Accessory $20.00 $107.51 $194.00 $16.35 $44.46 $79.43 32.0
    Furry-Related Clothing $80.00 $158.90 $201.12 $25.80 $34.15 $42.88 51.2
    Button or Sticker $20.00 $43.38 $63.16 $5.00 $9.13 $12.96 40.4
    Collar $0.00 $37.54 $78.32 $0.00 $21.76 $45.26 27.0
    Sex Toy $37.44 $284.95 $540.60 $20.00 $79.39 $150.29 31.3
    Harness / Leash / Mask $0.00 $73.26 $281.63 $0.00 $46.56 $180.15 13.8
    Furry Convention $600.00 $2823.24 $3624.42 $200.00 $501.05 $629.53 53.0
    Furry Event (not Convention) $41.85 $434.14 $786.07 $17.55 $51.52 $91.99 30.2
    Other: $100.00 $799.68 $1053.54 $42.50 $268.70 $340.35 11.3
Engagement

— 13.9% of furries see themselves becoming less involved in the furry fandom in the next 5 years; 28.1% expect their involvement to stay about the same, and 58.0% expect their involvement to increase in the next 5 years; one model suggests that being more involved in the fandom now is a strong predictor of expecting to become more involved in the future, while being in the fandom for longer is associated with expecting to become less involved with the fandom over time.
— A psychological construct known as “passion” has, in past research, been separated into “healthy” and “obsessive” dimensions. Healthy passion is positively associated with purchasing more commissions and with less regret about furry-related purchases; in contrast, obsessive passion is associated with buying more commissions, but also with more regret about furry-related purchases

Animals

— 48.8% of furries currently owns a pet, the most popular of which are cats (28.7%), dogs (24.3%), birds (3.8%), rodents (2.7%), fish (2.7%), and snakes (2.4%).
— When asked, in an open-ended fashion, about the specific piece of media that got furries interested in anthropomorphism, the most popular source was cartoons / films /movies, of which Disney was the single-most mentioned category (with The Lion King being the most popular, followed closely by Robin Hood and Zootopia). Among non-Disney shows, Pokemon, Digimon, and My Little Pony were the most commonly-cited.
o The next-most popular medium was video / computer games, with Sonic the Hedgehog being the most-cited, followed by Star Fox, Spyro, Furcadia, Changed, and Neopets
o The third-most popular medium was books, with Warrior Cats and Redwall being the most cited, along with Animorphs and Warriors.
o Websites were the fourth-most popular medium cited, overwhelmingly dominated by YouTube; it should also be noted that “art” in general was also listed by many furries, though they were not specific about whether the art was digital or not (although several mentioned specific artists and their Furaffinity pages)
o Comics and Webcomics were the fifth-most popular medium, though no single comic or webcomic emerged as the most popular
— When asked why furries were interested in media featuring anthropomorphized animals, the five most commonly given answers were, in order: 1) The characters are appealing, 2) The creativity involved, 3) Loving animals in general, 4) The cuteness of the characters, and 5) the aesthetic appeal / beauty of the characters. Some of the least popular reasons cited were a spiritual connection to the animals, nostalgia, and associated with other, related fan interests.
— We tested and found evidence for a model suggesting a possible chain of events leading to an interest in the furry fandom. Specifically, the model posits that furries with a history of being bullied are more likely to anthropomorphize the world around them – including animals. This tendency, in tern, is associated with a stronger interest in wishing to be more like a non-human animal, a greater tendency to see non-human animals as part of their ingroup, and, ultimately, a greater tendency to be furries. This model is in line with prior research showing that people who feel ostracized or distant from humans tend to anthropomorphize the world around them.

When asked about the extent to which sexual attraction played a role in their interest in sexual attraction, furries were incredibly divided on the issue:

COVID-19

— The five domains of their lives that furries feel Covid-19 has been the most disruptive to are, in order: 1) their social life, 2) their involvement in non-furry activities, 3) their psychological well-being, 4) their long-term plans, and 5) their daily routine.
— The five sources of support furries have turned to the most during the Covid-19 pandemic are, in order: 1) Close relationships, 2) Furry friends, 3) Family, 4) Non-furry friends, and 5) Others in the furry fandom. Notably, furries are turning to their furry friends before their other, non-furry friends, and even before their family.
— Data on furries and Covid allowed us to test – and find support – for a model showing that the detrimental effects of the Covid pandemic on experienced problems in the past 30 days are tied to stress people experience over Covid-specific concerns (e.g., housing, health, relationships)

Generational Gaps

When asked about potential generational gaps and factors which may or may not contribute to feelings of disconnect with the fandom, feelings that the fandom has changed, or negative feelings toward others in the fandom based on their age…
— Furries are far more likely to feel more connected to the fandom than less connected to the fandom over time; older furries were more likely than younger furries to agree that they felt less connected to the fandom over time
— Furries are a bit more likely than not to say that the fandom is different today than it was when they first joined; among those who say that it has changed, they’re significantly more likely to say that it’s changed for the better than for the worse; older furries are more likely to say that it has changed than younger furries, but are no more likely to say it has changed for the better or worse
— As they spend more time in the fandom, furries are more inclined to say that they feel they have more in common with other furries than they are to feel they have less in common; this tendency is lower is older furries than for younger furries
— Furries are slightly more able to keep up with trends in the fandom than to say they can’t; older furries say they struggle more to do so
— Most furries currently in the fandom have not left the fandom before, nor are they seriously considering leaving the fandom; older furries are no more likely than younger furries to agree with this

Qualitative analyses asked furries to explain whether they had ever felt out-of-touch or disconnected with a particular age group in the fandom and why. Significantly more comments (by a factor of about 6:1) were directed toward younger furries in the fandom than toward older furries in the fandom.

Among comments directed toward younger furries, the most commonly-cited issues contributing to felt gaps/divides were (in order):
— Technology differences (e.g., use/proficiency with Tik Tok, Furry Amino, Twitter)
— Perception of young furries as hyper-critical, political, overly concerned with political correctness, and concerns about cancel culture
— Memes, trends, jargon, and slang that’s difficult to keep up with
— Being too immature or short-sighted
— Being difficult to interact with due to differences in knowledge / understanding
— Different perceptions of what the fandom is or should be
— Being overly permissive or engaging too much with respect to issues of sex/kink or LGBTQ+ issues
— Behaviours perceived as negative (e.g., partying, drugs, being annoying)
— Lack of respect, rudeness, self-assuredness, entitlement, or lacking in empathy
— Being hostile or bigoted toward certain subgroups/kinks or older people
— Generational differences in life events (e.g., college, having kids)
— Too involved in “drama” or conflict
— Overly-focused on fursuitng, or a shallow/superficial interest in fursuiting

Among comments directed toward older furries, the most commonly-cited issues contributing to felt gaps / divides were (in order):
— Being intimidating or condescending toward younger/newer furries
— Being too cliquish, insular, or ostracizing toward others
— Being too openly sexual or too accepting of certain groups in the fandom
— Being bigoted toward minorities (e.g., kinks, LGBTQ+, racial groups)
— Technology gaps (e.g., MUCKs and other, older, technology)
— Immaturity or negative behaviour for a person of that age
— Conservatism/reluctance to change
— Being “creepy”
— Being too immersed in the fandom/having no life/being too concerned about popularity in the fandom
— Different norms or ideas about what the fandom’s norms ought to be