People who go to Burning Man are a fairly unique breed. This crowd isn't a cross section of the general population. You won't find Jane the uptight manic suburban mom, or Mike the corporate climbing banker, or Joe the plumber (at least in his most recent form).
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To make it in Black Rock City for a week, you have to posses two personality traits - deep, open curiosity about the world around you and a survivor's tolerance for heat, dirt, sleep deprivation and other harsh living conditions. Without both, you'll be packing up your tent and heading for a hotel in Reno within the first two days.
My overall impression was that Burners are smart, fit, friendly, grounded and beautiful in every imaginable way.
Here are some of the results from a survey of Burners at the 2007 event. (The 2008 report hasn't been finished, according to the Burning Man site.)
- 60 percent live in an urban area
- 76 percent are artists
- 69 percent have a college degree
- Nearly have have post-graduate degrees
- Nearly two-thirds don't participate in organized religion
- 72 percent say spirituality is important to them
- 19 percent are students
- 74 percent vote regularly
- 20 percent have children
- 45 percent are married
- Most Burners earn between $10,000 and $80,000 a year
- 39 percent own their own home
The top reasons for attending Burning Man, in order, are the art scene, social life and self-expression.78 percent of Burners said they plan to come again.