Across numerous studies, we have asked furries three questions pertaining to the length of time they’ve been associated with the furry fandom: (1) how many years they’ve self-identified as a furry, (2) at what age did they first self-identify as a furry, and (3) at what age did they discover the furry community? The results of several of these studies are displayed in the table below.
Identification and Affiliation with the Furry Fandom Across Multiple Samples
|How many years “furry”||6.6||7.0||7.7||8.6||6.6—8.6|
|Age first identified as “furry”||16.0||16.8||17.1||17.2||16.0—17.2|
|Age first found furry fandom||17.1||18.7||19.2||N/A||17.1—19.2|
The first row shows that the average furry has been a furry for about 6 to 8 years. This is consistent with the second row, where furries say they began identifying as furries at the age of about 16-17, as well as with our prior findings1 that the average furries is in their early- to-mid-twenties. It’s also worth noting that the data suggest that there is a 1-3 year gap between the time when many furries discover the fandom/identify as a furry and the time when they become part of the furry community themselves. In focus groups and interviews, many furries report having felt “weird” and “alone” because of their furry interests before finally “stumbling upon” this community of like-minded individuals. We are particularly interested in the immediate and long-term benefits of this discovery on the well-being and self-esteem of those who, up to that point, may have felt stigmatized and alone in their interests, and it is likely to be a topic for future research.
When compared to members of other fandoms (see figure above), furries seem to be pretty comparable with regard to the number of years they’ve been a fan, with the exception of convention-going anime fans who, on average, have been in fans for almost 50% longer than furries. These findings can be explained in the figure below: on average, furries become furries in their mid-to-late teens, whereas people are far more likely to become anime fans in their early teenage years. This may be due, in part, to the fact that a growing amount of anime television programming is targeted toward a younger audience (e.g., Pokémon), whereas, for furries, the discovery of the fandom is often attributed to stumbling upon it on the internet. In stark contrast, fantasy sport fans, as a group, don’t seem to become interested until well into their 20s.2