Among the irritating events plaguing me since last week is this damned Elderblogging Survey. I am sorry I started it and believe me, it won't happen again.
It began with my admission in the post announcing the survey that I can't find the notes about mistakes I made in the first survey in 2008 that I wanted to avoid in the future. This, apparently, was taken as permission by readers to second guess and Monday morning quarterback me starting about two minutes after it was published and continuing for days.
In comments, and many more via email, I was criticized for not including other, different questions and/or not providing different answer choices, particularly extremely detailed ones such as: why isn't there an answer for four children, three adopted, each from a different country, one six feet tall, one with curly red hair and one a Rhodes scholar.
Okay, that's an exaggeration but it's not far off from what several people argued that I should have included. Here's my answer: do you own damned survey.
Next, a few days into the survey, the servers of the online provider went down. There is no phone number for tech support at QuestionPro so I phoned sales and it took ten minutes making a jerk of myself to get the person to track down information about when repairs might be finished. (I AM paying for the service although at a low level.)
It was most of a day before the servers were up and running again and the service was wobbly through the next day; some respondents were thrown off the survey before they were finished.
As I began sorting results over the weekend to create charts, I discovered that for questions allowing multiple answers, the service unhelpfully provides the total number of answers chosen but not the percentage of respondents who selected each answer. You would think that would be a basic requirement for a simple survey, but guess what:
After working my way through the help section and a long menu that would supposedly reveal the percentage of respondents, THEN a message told me that to get that information, I must upgrade by $84. (Shades of yesterday's post .)
I won't do that so when I get to those questions, I'll show you the information I have. Not that it will actually help us know anything.
So I apologize for the deficiencies in the survey but there is little I could have done to change anything. The personal result is that all my enthusiasm got sucked out of the project and it has become a chore, rather than the fun I anticipated, to do the reporting.
For those of you who said I should chart 2013 answers together with those from 2008, that's more work than I will do now. If you are that interested, here is the link to the 2008 survey .
Here now are the first batch of charts. The usual caveats for this kind of survey apply:
Please note that the capital letter “R” does not show up well when it appears in a label on the horizontal axis (it's a free, online chart service , and I don't know how to fix that). Total of percentages may be slightly off due to rounding.
We start today with Personal Data.
What is your gender?
This spread is about what I expected given my general impression from email and comments.
What is your ethnicity?
My god we're a white group. Among “all others” are two Asians, three blacks, one Latino and 4 Other.
How old are you?
Although I had set this up only for people age 50 and older, a handful of under 50s snuck through the door.
What is your level of education?
If you exclude me with only a high school diploma, we're an extremely well educated group.
What is your marital status
I have had to truncate some answer labels to fit the chart. On this one, NM means never married. Sorry to those who complained that I omitted such choices a civil union and partnered. The point was to count committed people not separate gay ones and if I've been politically incorrect, so be it.
How many times have you been married?
A friend who falls into the “4 or more” category of this question had me recalling that Elizabeth Taylor, when an interviewer expressed surprise at her nine marriages, said, “But I married them all instead of just having sex with them.”
How many children do you have?
How many grandchildren do you have?
This chart shows grandchildren only. 8.8 percent, in a separate question, reported great grandchildren.
What country do you live in?
As much as we are an almost all-white constituency, we also overwhelmingly live in the United States. "Aus" means Australia, not Austria.
Among the 1.8 percent “Other” on the chart are one each in:
What size city do you live in?
What kind of housing do you live in?
If you have trouble reading them, the third and fourth bars are labeled Retirement Community and RV.
Do you own or rent your home
If you own your home, do you have a mortgage?
With whom do you live?
I should have included parent(s) in this one but I forgot. For anyone who is touchy about “spouse,” “partner” was included in the question but didn't fit on the chart.