Tuesday, 19 March 2013

State of the Herd 2013 — how many British bronies are there?

The 2013 State of the Herd Report is now available to download, and as usual the "herd census" throws up some interesting results. (AJ fans, look away now.) However, I do have to take issue with the report on one thing: what might be called the brony count. The conclusion drawn is that between 7 million and 12.4 million USians "strongly identify" as bronies, using the criteria set out in that link. That figure does seem remarkable, but I'm not American so can't really say from experience whether it feels right.

However, here's why I find that figure somewhat hard to accept. Elsewhere in the report, there's a "country of residence" section, which states that 64.3% of respondents said they lived in the US and 6.1% in the UK. In other words, there are nearly a tenth as many bronies here as there are there. Applying that to the figures I mentioned in the previous paragraph, that would suggest that the British brony count is somewhere between 664,000 and 1,174,000 bronies over here.

I don't know anyone over here who thinks that there are anything close to a million "strongly identifying" bronies in Britain. While it's true that I haven't conducted a survey of my own, one thing is certainly true: many people here have never come across another brony in public, other than at arranged meets. Ever. I know I haven't. If there really were a million of us here, I really would have expected to have met someone (for example) wearing some MLP:FiM clothing from time to time.

So, although I can't prove it for certain, I tend to feel that State of the Herd's figures regarding the total brony population are a big overestimate, at least in their implications for the British fandom. If I had to bet on it. I'd say that the relevant UK figure was in five figures rather than seven (or even high sixes). Tens of thousands I can easily believe. Hundreds of thousands, much less so, and a million certainly not. We British bronies are a dedicated and quite active group, but I just don't think we're a huge one.


  1. Agreed. I think there probably *are* tens of thousands of UK bronies - that does seem very feasible. After all, looking just now at UKoE it says there are currently just over 2500 members, which is pretty impressive.

    And there *are* more around, just that not everyone wants to be on UKoE. (Shocking as it is!) After all, I'm the only one listed for the Halesowen area, and yet *someone* has been buying up the blind bags in ASDA and Cradley, and it wasn't me. I brought a few, but at least 4 boxes worth have sold in each store, and I don't realistically see that kids would have brought all of those! So there must be bronies in Halesowen and the nearby areas, somewhere!

    There was of course the girl I saw in Brum last year, at the Gay Pride festival, who was wearing a Pinkie t-shirt. But again, that doesn't necessarily prove she's a fan of the show - she might have just liked the t-shirt. Really we need a way of doing a survey in the UK, to get a better idea of how many there are, but goodness knows how you run something like that! :)

    1. I suspect the T-shirt is a pretty good indicator, since they're virtually non-existent in UK shops and so you'd have to make a specific decision to look for one. As for the blind bags, I'm sure it was Diamond Tiara. You know what she's like with money. :P

    2. Ah, that's true enough (on both counts.) Mind you, today when I went in the Halesowen ASDA, there were two teenagers, who looked about 16 or 17, both nosing fervently through the MLP goodies. And then they wandered off in the direction of the magazines (where the MLP monthly mag with the freebies is hiding.) So that was certainly interesting! :)

    3. Now that is interesting! Mind you... if there are 30,000 British bronies, spread equally across the UK, then that's one for every 2,000 people in the country. The population of Halesowen is 55,000 -- so you'd expect 25-30 bronies in the town. They must be out there somewhere!

    4. Someone somewhere is certainly buying the merchandise, because there were 2 boxes full of the blind bags on Friday last week. And there were just 5 blind bags left in the whole of ASDA this morning, and the Walking Talking Pinkie has walked and talked out of the shop, along with a bunch of other stuff. And a lot of the MLP things that were in the Merry Hill store have also been sold. So you do have to wonder! If only those eager buyers would show up on UKoE! :)