Monday, February 22, 2016

Analysis of Roller Derby Gender and Relationship Study 2015 (Preliminary)

This post has been a LONG time coming...

If you need to catch up on the history of this study you can find it here:

Let's jump right into the results!

One of the big questions I wanted to answer was whether or not roller derby increases likelihood of divorce or infidelity? The other question is seemingly a lot more ridiculous but remains a roller derby myth up until this day; Does roller derby "turn people gay"? (I HATE that misconception). I'm a data guy so I needed numbers to back up my claims.  Thusly, the survey went out in its last iteration.

Let's answer those questions, but first let's look at our demographics.

Now if we look at divorce rates for skaters we find that based on age brackets roller derby divorce rates are almost precisely the same as the national averages for the United States of America (where approximately 50% of all respondents reside). It appears that age, more than roller derby involvement, is the factor in the divorce rate of derby skaters.

Further proof of marriage being fairly stable when it comes to derby is this chart showing that of those who come into roller derby married almost 80% are still married, you can adjust the Starting vs Current Status to see the "Flow" of where skaters go relationship wise.

Subsequently, if you want to look at the "Categories" of who people date in derby you'll see slightly lower numbers in this survey as far as people pre-derby with a non-derby affiliation compared to the married graph listed previously. This would mean that it's very likely that some of these significant others have subsequently become involved in roller derby due to their spouses' involvement. Play around with that graph and compare to the above one below!

The next big question is if derby influences sexual preference?

While there is a slight increase over time in interest in expanded sexual horizons past heteronormative relationships this can, I believe, be accounted for with the fact that there is a VERY high percentage of LGBT athletes participating in the sport. To put it in numbers, compared to estimates for United States populations just a few years ago it's 10-12x what we would find reported as a national average. I think it's this exposure to a high rate of LGBT experiences which might account for some of the results that were seen.

Unfortunately I cannot find (currently) any studies that look at the rise of LGBT self-identification over time to compare to this study. Therefore, a direct comparison for these numbers cannot be made to the general populace at large in the same way as a one-shot self LGBT identification can with national studies.

So, while I cannot point definitely to the fact that derby is not a factor in changes of sexual desires I can say with certainty that the high LGBT inclusion rate does expose people who may have otherwise not been exposed to LGBT culture.

That said the VAST majority of people who came in to roller derby tend to be people who are involved with someone external to roller derby. This holds true for both people who are and are not in the same relationship as when they started becoming involved in roller derby. The chart below is one you can play with and see exactly who ends up with who. You can see specifically who ends up with who over the course of the average derby career.

Now for the interesting results!

One of the most surprising results that came out of the data is that younger skaters exhibited a greater growth in "comfort" in sexuality. Skaters in their late teens or early 20s, particularly, showed significantly higher comfort levels across the board, with generally all skaters involved in derby showing an increase in comfort regardless of age. Given the high rate of LGBT suicide and suicide attempts this may point to roller derby as one of the most inclusive and positive contact sports LGBT sports youth can participate in. Inclusion and acceptance in the culture of derby may literally be a lifesaver for young LGBT youth. From a purely personal perspective I can tell you as a junior roller derby coach I had a skater come out to me before they came out to their parents. With the large amount of LGBT individuals involved in roller derby the sheer likelihood of getting an understanding coach or themselves an LGBT individual is astronomically higher.

Here is the chart showing the rate of change in comfort by age (orage is pre-derby, green is current):

Below you can see the chart on increases in comfort of sexuality. I removed "5" as a start because almost 50% of people started and ended with a "5" in comfort so I just wanted to see how much and what percentages the increases were as an aggregate:

I'm still working on an academic paper to submit to some journals regarding this research (if you have suggestions those of you from academia I'd love to hear them!). In the meantime I'll likely parse out posts about further results findings throughout this blog (which I'll add links to the end of this post as they come online).

The other big thing I can announce is the next iteration of the survey. I won't go into a ton of detail but I've decided to attempt to make it longitudinal based on people who requested to be contacted with results of this survey's analysis. If you chose to be contacted with results last time (approximately 41% of you), please use the same email address as a contact point this year so I can link data year to year. If you didn't elect to be contacted previously but would like to be part of the longitudinal study please leave a note in the "Final Thoughts" field saying you'd like to be included and I'll try to match country / state / birthday / league type.

I encourage you to take/share out the new survey via this link:

As always if you have any questions or concerns please email me at or message me on Twitter @wjking0. Thanks again for reading and for continuing to help us all understand the impact Roller Derby has on lives both around the block and around the world!

P.S. I titled this "Preliminary" since it's prior to publishing a paper on the topic with more in depth analysis. I also tend to publish a little more on this topic as the time goes on, including a TL;DR version that I'll link to here eventually.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Dead Drops

I've heard about Dead Drops for a while but it wasn't until someone posted a link to the site with a link to their database (which was the source-material for this viz) that I really took notice.

It's interesting that dead drops would be created (by-and-large) the way they are as they seem to be ripe for people breaking on accident as they're attached to walls or just people breaking out of maliciousness.

I didn't do anything wild with this except for show that the total number of drops currently in existence is a LOT smaller than the total number listed on their site with only 791 working out of 1750 total. Meaning that since November 2010 when this project started more have failed in the last 6 years than have continued to exist. Thanks to spurts of activity in 2013 and 2015  there is are still some positive results that overtake ones that have been marked as non-working. I considered doing some fancy date calculations to show dates for unsure or disabled ones at their "change" date... but honestly I'm just working on this so I can have something to take my mind off the relationship study which has drawn most of my focus over the last week or two.

I considered this my little visual palate cleanser! =) Enjoy!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Career Salaries Unemployment by Major Updated:1-29-2016

My friend Lauren Weaver (creator of the AMAZEBALLS Lexington Mural Map Project) sent me this little fun dataset... and having a chat with her the other day I realized I hadn't actually published anything in awhile. I really tell people that getting things out there is better than getting something PERFECT out there and I need to take some of my own advice!

Without further ado here's some interesting statistics that are from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's stats on "The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates interactive web feature".