Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ethnicity and camping

Half Sigma has observed that black folks don't enjoy nature. The General Social Survey asked Americans if they've gone camping in the past 12 months. Here are the percentages who answered yes by ethnic group:

Percent who camped in past year

Norwegian 66.7*
Dutch 52.9
Irish 52.4
Mexican 50.0
German 50.4
English/Welsh 46.7
Polish 46.2
Scottish 46.0
Italian 45.8
Russian 44.0
Jewish 40.6
Swedish 37.5
American Indian 13.3**
Blacks 10.7**

*significantly above average
**significantly below average

Blacks are at the bottom of the list. American Indians are next which is pretty ironic. Perhaps sleeping in a teepee isn't camping, it's home. 

Half Sigma also claims that working-class whites love nature. I think he's right. (My blue-collar parents practically live in the wild.) We'll look at the data next.


  1. Anonymous3:40 PM

    I'm surprised how seperate Swedes and Norwegians are.
    Also, one of the comments on Sigma's post mentioned how Jews are pretty urban, and if I remember correctly, a few people disagreed, but as we can see, they rank fairly low. Growing up in a heavily Jewish area myself, I can tell you they don't come across as an outdoorsy people. Neither do blacks for that matter. Blacks are squeamish and fussy about certain things (getting wet, chilly mornings, prolonged silences,and many other things that you experience camping).

  2. I question the validity of results that claim persons who identify as "of Swedish ancestry" go camping less than those who identify as Jews.

    I also find it hard to believe that 10% of Blacks go camping every year. Does that count "unvoluntary camping", e.g. being homeless for a spell?

  3. Surprising Jews are that high...

    What about East and South Asians?

  4. Asian Indian 16.7% (n = 6), Chinese+Japanese 25.0% (n = 8).

  5. Anonymous4:57 PM

    I also find it hard to believe that 10% of Blacks go camping every year.

    I find it hard to believe 50% of Mexicans go camping every year, and for that matter 46% of Polish (to take a pretty average White ethnic group).

    Is camping really that much of a big thing in the States? I would not think even 10% of people would have done that in the last year in an average North-Central European country (or the United Kingdom).

  6. Anonymous5:04 PM

    (or the United Kingdom).

    To expand, in the UK, only 1.2 million are regular campers out of the 60 million approx. population - That's about 2%.

  7. I suspect "camping" may be defined as a prolonged (over 24 hrs) absence from an urban habitat. Hell, I went to Lake Arrowhead and stayed in a B&B for a weekend...does that make me a Mexican camper :)

  8. Anonymous1:00 PM

    The idea that working class whites love nature needs some qualification. They may be "outdoors" a lot, but that doesn't mean they dig the "nature" aspect of it. They're the ones who don't hike and want to be able to tear an ATV through the woods. I bet if you were more specific, as in "Spent time in a wilderness area in the last 12 months" or some other means of defining an appreciation for nature, you would get different results.

    Half Sigma is half baked on so many things. Once he's out of his urban East Coast comfort zone, he's pretty much clueless.

  9. Anonymous11:22 AM

    What groups live in the Midwest, specifically the rural area?

  10. Anonymous4:11 PM

    That Jewish figure does seem high, and the only blacks I've ever known or heard about who went camping were the ones who did so because of White friends they associated with.

    As far as exclusively black groups going camping I bet that's almost nil. Running from the cops and hiding in the woods doesn't count.

  11. Anonymous5:00 PM

    "I find it hard to believe 50% of Mexicans go camping every year,"

    Getting lost in the desert doesn't count. Maybe it's a joke — by Mexican and Jewish respondents.

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