For Burners and Burning Man, the State of Nevada is both home, pathway and supplier. We work diligently to leave no trace but the importance and impact of the event on the home state of Nevada is interesting to understand.
In earlier posts, we mentioned where Burners come from, and it is from this information we see that California residents dominate the event. When looking at attendance in absolute terms, California Burners make up the largest group of participants, 28,416 people or 42% of Black Rock City, with Nevada in a distant second place at 3,676 or 5% of Black Rock City.
However, when we put those numbers in context of the origin state population, Nevada is the state with the highest percentage of their population attending: 13 out of 10,000 Nevada residents attend Burning Man (0.132%) (also known as “Burner Density”). This is actually a 75% greater “Burner Density” than California or Oregon which are closer to 7 out of 10,000 at 0.074% and 0.072% respectively. The darker states on the map below show the other states where the proportion of participants/residents is the highest.
With this knowledge, consider how many people travel to Burning Man from inside and outside of Nevada, and the limited routes they can choose. Many burners (28.4%) visit attractions in the surrounding areas, as shown in the pie chart below:
Whether by plane, train or automobile, hailing from the West Coast or driving cross-country, chances are you’ve patronized one of the following while in Nevada on the way to or from Black Rock City:
- Bus Stations
- Car Rentals
- Gas Stations
- Grocery Stores
- Recreation Areas
- Refuse Services
Consider your own spending on these goods and services as you review the results of the following survey question:
More than 1/3 of burners spent $250 or less in Nevada; however, there was considerable spending above that amount. 27.6% of the population reported spending between $250-$500, while almost 20% spent between $500-$1,000 before and after Burning Man. It may not seem like much but the volume over all participants is a lot.
Now if you add in the impact of nearly 19% spending thousands of dollars, the numbers get pretty big. Consider that the higher levels of spending may have included art installations, mutant vehicles, costume supplies, bicycles, shipping services, and other “splurges” that would show an increase in spending in local communities compared to the rest of the year.
When you aggregate all of this spending, the projected economic impact of 69,000 people flowing into and out of northern Nevada is approximately $55 million give or take a few million dollars, leaving no trace in the Black Rock Desert, but leaving a huge impact on the culture and economy of the surrounding communities.
Tabitha Palmer aka Tabicat
David Nelson-Gal aka Scribble