Youtopia Census 2023 Spring
During the spring 2023 San Diego regional burn Youtopia, 206 people completed a paper census form. After the event their responses are entered into the computer, which took volunteers roughly 40 hours!
Entering the data is always a bit of a challenge, because people sometimes don't fill out the form in the ways we expect.
One example is the question "Is there free will?". The form provided a single bubble to check, to indicate "Yes". About a third of participants where seemingly unsatisfied with that option, and so wrote in their own bubbles, added comments, or drew pictures. My favorite are the several participants who drew in a "No" option and then still checked "Yes". Other notable answers include:
"Yes, actually no, there is a price"
"Yes, but not for everyone or all the time"
The Median Youtopian
Our statisticians and data scientists spent months debating the best way to summarize the data, ultimately deciding to take the median of every column. You might think this technique is simple minded or even hopelessly naive, but in fact it allows us to uncover the characteristics of the quintessential burner, forming an idealized model of our most perfect attendee.
The archetype Spring 2023 Youtopia participant:
Was born in 1985
Lives in 92014
Has attended Burning Man before, but had not previously been to Youtopia
Did not camp with a theme camp
Owns 12 pairs of pants
Can spin around in a circle 5 times before getting comfortably dizzy (though didn't actually spin and just guessed)
Spent 5 hours contributing to the event
If this describes you, please reach out. Our scientists would very much like to study you further!
The N Principles
Youtopia is a 10 principles event. We asked folks to rate Youtopia on each principle. Except we did a sneaky thing, and actually listed 12, adding both "gratitude" and "consent", which other burns have adopted as an "11th principle".
Funny thing - those two extras got the highest rating, well above all ten official principles.
On the other hand, Civic Responsibility and Gifting were rated the worst.
We also asked people to pick an 11th principle. The answers really captured the vibe of the event. I recommend reading them all by expanding the section below.
11th Principle Responses
No cell phones
radical boundary management
More solar more better
a good one :)
- mocktail mondays -
no one is perfect, nothing is forever & nothing is free
NO FUCKING PHOTOGRAPHY
Look for/ seek out targets
Do all the things, experience all the things
Burning man is odd enough.
does this include the consent one? if not, consent
Even numbers are good enough
Integrate & alchemize - bring what you've learned back home and apply it outside of festival space
need to thin...
self acceptance & inclusion
commitment to uplifting marginalized communities.
This is more homework
Must butt fight if its your first year
Principle 11: Tie-breakers are settled by dance-off
Either snark insistence/ acceptance or enforcement of your favorite principals
Counting how many slugbug cars you can spot at any given event.
principle of safety third
life long friendships
If you litter you're a piss of shit...write that down
Patience and kindness
Principal of "Oddness" and challenge for tie-breakers
LoL odd numbers are ok :)
Challenge yourself. Get out of your comfort zone. Talk to someone you don't understand. Do something you're bad at. Brain yoga.
canadians are also welcome
Air conditioning required at all camps
Radical Conversion/ Discussion
Stop being offended take accountability
radical self reflection
Be Excellent to Each Other
It bothers me when people do stuff for social media clout, so it would be "clout-free space" and ban smart phones during the event except in special zones.
radical self love
FREE THE NIPPLE
make at least as much music as you consume :) ♪♪
Consent makes 11. But if you need it i'd say authenticity even being authentic about your dreams
Be a bad ass and if you can't be a good ass.
to be chill out in the world too!
Humm - I'm stuck, that's a good thing
no plug n plays or sparkle ponies
introspection and self awareness as means to enlightenment and self improvement
Momento Mori (Love thy fate)
Kindness Fucking' YAY!
one about spirituality
Three Legged Race
Radical love (for self + out community)
Invoke the best in the people!
it is odd. 11th is consent!
Love for others
Radical sensible bedtimes
Catalyst for growth
Stop persecuting shirt cocker!! It's a form of self expression.
Not that one
Porta potty sanctity
shower more, hippies
perfectionism kills creativity. Not everything has to be open.
Register vote booths
to always have youtopia at a nudist resort
There is value within the community that must be shared
To learn to let yourself go.
radical non assholeness
diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging
Alarms aren't that bad
Each one teach one.
Consent should be an official 11th principle (upside down smiley face)
Consent still seems like the best choice
Declassification deconstruction + construction = constructive
Intent- Balance whimsy and intentionality
We are all in this earth experience together, no one gets out alive, so live well. <3
Fuck you, it's magic (pentagram or star)
Silly uber alles
To develop new skills
Live fast, Eat Ass
turn it up to 11 :)
bring burn into default
Radical self reflection
radical rebellion in the name of the greater good
Helping people get back on track
Radical self love. Take care of yourself including going to the doctor and loving yourself in an act of rebellion vs. capitalism and consumerism.
Encourage Embrace Discomfort
Only 1% of Youtopians usually reside internationally.
Racial demographics were essentially unchanged from 2017
86% of people reported arriving in a car by themselves or with one other person. Though we have also found people tend to misreport on this question, forgetting to count themselves. So we need to do better - both at carpooling and counting.
Of the roughly half of folks who have been to Burning Man before, the average number of times is 6.3!
One Star Reviews
We asked people to write a one-star review of Youtopia. Most folks wrote something sarcastic ("hippies keep handing me pickles", "not enough food vendors"), or just drew a star (see image). Others complained about things beyond our control ("too hot" and "too cold" were both common!). A few wrote scathingly accurate reviews ("It's just a bunch of weirdos pretending like they are doing something that matters", "Not at La Jolla and not 2016").
But there were some real complaints that the community could address:
Sound curfew was redonk
Refund from fall event was bad because it was partial, limited in time, and only for credit toward future events.
Not enough big art
"Utopia" is spelled wrong
What led you to be involved in the Burning Man community?
What is your favorite thing you have seen or done at YOUTOPIA?
What gender Identity do you currently most strongly identify with?
There were 131 distinct answers to this question. The largest word, "Male" was chosen by 29% of census takers.
We asked folks "How will you die?" Some answers were oddly specific:
shot dead at 87 by a jealous spouse
Hurled into a volcano
Choking on a glow stick
But most were old age / cancer / car accident / happy / alone / magnificent.
Roughly one in twenty suggested suicide, and about the same said they would live forever. Maybe it's a good time to check in on your friends?