Bronies are fans of the animated television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The brony fandom is, in many ways, comparable to the furry fandom for its interest in anthropomorphized animal characters (not unlike the furry fandom’s association with series such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Disney movies such as The Lion King or Robin Hood, etc.). In fact, based on its content, some have argued that the brony fandom is a subset of the furry fandom. Conversely, others argue that since some bronies’ interest in anthropomorphism is specific only to My Little Pony, the fandom should be considered related to, but distinct from, the furry fandom.
There has been a tremendous demand, from both bronies and from the broader furry fandom, for research on bronies (so much so, in fact, that another research team has conducted extensive research on the subject from a non-furry perspective: http://www.bronystudy.com/). The reasons for this demand differ greatly: but often involve the perceived similarities and differences between furries and bronies. Regardless, the IARP has sought to address this interest in information about bronies, beginning by assessing the prevalence of bronies in the furry fandom.
With the popularity of My Little Pony in recent years, many furries have observed that there seems to be an influx of bronies into the furry fandom. Studies have suggested that in recent years, between 16% and 25% of furries self-identify as bronies.1 While it is possible that the majority of these furries are “new furries,” it would represent a fairly significant influx of furries into the fandom (a growth of nearly 25% in just the two or three years since the most recent version of the show began airing). And, in fact, the data seem to challenge this hypothesis: the average brony in the furry fandom has, in fact, been a furry for significantly longer than the average non-brony furry (9.4 years vs. 8.3 years) and became a furry at a younger age than non-brony furries (16.4 years vs. 17.4). Taken together, the data suggest that the prevalence of bronies in the furry fandom are not due to bronies “invading” the furry fandom from the outside, but rather the popularity of the show seems to have resonated with a significant portion of the furry population.