Sociodemographic: Education

The Playa seems to attract a largely educated population. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but it could be a matter of pride. The following is a description of how well-educated your fellow burners are.

The comparison to general population is being limited to the United States as 82% of all burners claim the United States as their home country. Most of the information on the default population is limited to adults aged 25 years or older.


43% of all burners have attained a Bachelor’s Degree, whereas only 30% of the national population can say the same.  That 30% is the highest level of Bachelor Degree attainment in the history of the United States. The only group doing better than burners as a whole is Asian Americans, who have slightly over 50% Bachelor’s Degree attainment.

When it comes to graduate degrees, the disparity is even greater. Nearly 25% of the burner population has attained a graduate degree, compared to 11% of the default world population*.

15% of the US population at large doesn’t possess a high-school diploma**. Only 1% of burners reported not attaining one. A heartening statistic indeed.


Furthermore, nearly 10% of the burner population possess a technical or vocational certificate; these might be considered the builders of our great city; gallantly donating their technical knowledge to create our beautiful temporary home year after year.

Of further interest is that 4% of us possess a healing certificate. A bonafide group of healers and givers enhancing the Playa experience for all of us.

What does all this really mean? Well, it clearly means we can consider our community a group of intelligent, educated folks who are working together toward building an alternate reality. Being ahead of the game certainly helps!




Written by:

Priti Bali-Kahn

Edited by:

Wendi Corbin Goulette


5 responses

    • Good question Lisa! We have no direct way to answer the question since we didn’t have a question about education in the random sampling that was done to correct for self-selection biases (see the previous post on the weighting procedure for more info on possible biases). However, what I can say is that the distribution of education levels was extremely similar in the uncorrected online sample (i.e., the census) and in the weighted (unbiased) results presented here. My guess would thus be that these proportions are close to what we would get if we could interview everyone who participated to BM in 2013.
      – Dominic Beaulieu-Prévost aka Hunter

  1. Thinking of how much money and effort it costs to spend a week on the playa (ticket/apply for low-income ticket, transportation, gear, costumes, opportunity cost of going, etc.) i would not be surprised if BM participants are potentially more likely to have the kind of education that generates the income needed.

    • I agree with you, income can be a deciding factor for going or not to BM, especially for those living far from BRC, and it could affect the distribution of education levels. As the income post shows, veterans seem to have a higher income on average than virgins, which suggest that a low income might indeed be associated to lower chances of coming back. However, the BRC population is quite diverse in terms of income (e.g., with approximately 20% earning less than $15,000), so income might not be the only variable explaining why the average level of education of the BRC population is higher that the US average. Thanks for the feedback Ju-fly!
      – Dominic Beaulieu-Prévost aka Hunter

  2. I think the numbers are even more disproportionate/staggering than you say: you note 43% of burners have a college degree, but truly it’s 67%: those with a graduate degree *also* have a college degree, Compared to the 30% national average we are amazingly well educated.

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