We’ve finally completed the analysis the 2021's census results, so here we are to report back and do some introspection! 🤓
This time around, we’ve greatly simplified some of the answers so that we could streamline the analysis, and also created a separate form for our members in China, who couldn’t access Google Forms last year. In total, 23,329 postcrossers replied the census, and here we have to make the usual caveat to point out that while this is a decent sized sample, we can’t quite extrapolate that this sample portrays all postcrossers. For instance, some people may be less likely to reply to questionnaires (maybe they struggle with English), which might skew the results. So, please take the results with a grain of salt!
The basic demographics haven’t changed much from 2020, so we’ll skip that overview this year but feel free to have a look at last year’s post for the rundown. One question we did tweak was the one about where people live, to give it more granularity beyond the rural/urban divide. Here are the replies:
Last year’s results were 75% urban and 25% rural, and this year we see these numbers subdivide into smaller categories. It would perhaps be relevant to know how most people define large vs small cities or towns though, as this definition is likely to vary from country to country. Maybe this could be something to further improve next year.
Another new question for 2021's census was proficiency in the English language:
I guess there’s not much of a surprise here: most postcrossers are either fluent or relatively comfortable using English to communicate, but 1.9% mentions not being able to communicate at all in that language… This percentage is likely to be even higher, as we imagine long surveys are a challenge for someone that struggles with the language. One advantage that postcards have over letters is that they are smaller, and thus less daunting for non-native speakers. We know many members use Postcrossing to improve and gain confidence in their foreign language skills, and we hope the project can continue to be a good tool for this purpose.
I don’t think we showed this graph last year, so here it is: where did people hear about Postcrossing?
The biggest slice on that pie is still through friends or relatives, which is really cool — it’s great to know that you guys enjoy Postcrossing so much that you brag about it to your loved ones! 💙 Many of you simply stumble on the project while searching online or browsing social media, and a smaller slice learned about it on offline media (like radio or newspapers). Good to know!
Next, what is everyone’s favorite part of the core Postcrossing activity, sending or receiving postcards?
Turns out, both — which is brilliant! The percentage of people who reply “both” has even increased since the last time we did a similar poll back in 2017.
We also asked how easy the Postcrossing website is to use, and most people (63%) replied it was super easy, 29% chose easy, 6% picked the middle of the scale option and around 1.3% picked one of the last 2 options, indicating they have some or a lot of trouble using the website. Some of these issues were pointed out in the disability question of the census, giving us good tips of things to improve.
And last but not least, let’s look at friendships! Have you become friends with other postcrossers?
As expected in a project that is mostly about sending postcards to strangers across the world, the majority of people who replied to this question have not made friends through Postcrossing. Despite this, a significant amount of you mention having made friends — mostly online friends, but 10% have also met their new friends in person. It’s really cool to think that postcards and serendipity were the starting point of these connections!
There’s a lot more to unpack in the census, especially what people like/dislike about Postcrossing… so we’re saving that for a second post. Stay tuned for more insights soon!