Jameco’s ‘Great American Electronics Hobbyist’ Survey

Jameco released the results of a fascinating survey they conducted of their customers called The Great American Electronics Hobbyist Census.  The results, available in a PDF document and summarized in the YouTube video above, show an interesting profile of the electronics hobbyist:

They’ve thrown away their pocket protectors but wear an identity as nerds with pride. A highly educated group, most have at least achieved a bachelor’s degree and have twice as much education as the average American. Electronics hobbyists’ affections for their hobby are so strong that they think about it in some way every day. They are convinced that the American economy is at least in part fueled by this hobby and believe emphasis of electronics in education is immensely valuable.

This is not a new passion, in fact most began by taking things apart at a young age and have spent 35 years or more pursuing their avocation. While they haven’t always had a lot of time to pursue electronics as a hobby, they expect that it will become a larger part of their lives in the near future.

The results were gathered from 1,700 responses to a survey of 10,000 of Jameco’s most serious hobbyist customers.  Although the results don’t represent all hobbyist communities like Adafruit, there are some fascinating statistics gathered like:

  • Of those who responded the average age is 56 years old, and 98% of them are males.
  • Over 80% learned to solder before they were 18 years old, and over 50% started in electronics by taking things apart.
  • More than 50% plan to do more electronics projects in the future.
  • 43% have burned themselves in the last 12 months.  Ouch!  Be careful with the soldering iron!
  • 79% think about electronics in some way every day.

In particular getting young people interested in electronics is crucial to keeping them involved with it for many years to come.  It’s also interesting that hobbyists don’t slow down and are always building more projects, even in their late 50’s and beyond.  The results captured this passion eloquently with:

Hobbyists believe that this is first and foremost a hobby about creativity that transforms from an idea into something tangible. New technology and renewed devotions have given electronics hobbyists the ability to create almost anything they can dream up and yet at the end of the day there is a childish affection that succumbs to goofing around and playing with fun, blinking lights.

Jameco’s Great American Electronics Hobbyist Census and its results (PDF document).

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