Profiling a Janeite – Are You a Typical Jane Austen Fan?

Anatomy of a Janeite
Do You Fit the Bill?

In 2008, JASNA put together a survey of the “typical” Janeite. I was wondering how many items match with my viewers/readers.

Part 1: Participant Demographics. The first half of the survey focused on the survey participant. What portrait emerges from these responses?

• Gender: 96% Female; 4 % Male
• Age: 33% age 1-29; 35% age 30-49; 32% age 50+ (with a median age of 40) There were 335 teenagers and 215 respondents aged 70 or over.
• Nationality: 90% from English-speaking countries
• 67% U.S.; 6% Canada; 16% U.K, Australia, New Zealand & Ireland (combined)
• Occupation: 75% of Janeites are typically working women/men. The top ten career fields are education, business administration (manager/HR/secretary, etc.), business services/worker/retail, library/archivist, finance, science/engineering, writing/publishing, medical, arts, law and IT. (More than one-third are been teachers or librarians.)
• Education: 81% over the age of 20 have a 4-year (or higher) college degree; almost half have achieved a master’s (33%) or a doctorate (12%). Surprisingly, 71% did not major in English/Literature.
• Religious: 41% said they were religious; 38% not religious.
• Politics: Janeites are more likely to view themselves as liberal (55%) than conservative (25%), and on the topic of feminism, to have a favorable (67%) rather than unfavorable (11%) opinion.
• Hobbies: More than 50% involved in reading (98%); watching movies (80%); listening to music (72%); attending theater/concerts (61%); walking/yoga/other exercise (60%); visiting museums (60%); and traveling (56% to other countries; 54% within own country).
• Traveling: 47% of all respondents have visited Austen sites in England, including 40% of U.S. respondents and 53% of Canadians. More than half the respondents have visited Western Europe (69%), England/Wales/Scotland (68%) or traveled extensively in the U.S. (65%) and Canada (52%). Many have also been to Mexico and the Caribbean. The least-visited area from the survey list was India (4%), followed by Russia (7%), and China (8%).
• Favorite Afternoon Drink: 63% tea; 46 % coffee
• Pets: tabbies rule – 58% of respondents have pets, with cats at 36% and dogs at 30%
• Reading: 86% read at least 2 books per month; 33% read five or more per month
• Preferred Genre (non-Austen, of course): 29% mystery; 15% historical fiction
• Favorite Authors (not Jane Austen): Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Mrs. Gaskell, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, William Shakespeare, Anthony Trollope, Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie.
• Tech Savvy: 57% described themselves as tech smart; 1% as clueless

Part 2: Janeite Land. The second half of the survey looked into the participant’s relationship to Jane Austen and her work.

• Age When You Discovered Jane Austen: over 50% before age 17; 13% younger than age 12
• How Often Do You Read Austen Novels? 33% read 3+ per year; 11% read all six every year
• Favorite Austen Book: 53% Pride and Prejudice; 28 % Persuasion; 7% Emma; 5% Sense and Sensibility; 4% Mansfield Park; 4% Northanger Abbey.
• Favorite Heroine: 58% Elizabeth Bennet; 24% Anne Elliot; 7% Elinor Dashwood; 5% Emma Woodhouse; 3% Fanny Price; 2% Catherine Moreland; 1% Marianne Dashwood
• Favorite Hero: 51% Fitzwilliam Darcy; 17% Frederick Wentworth; 14% Mr. Knightley; 10% Henry Tilney; 5% Colonel Brandon; 1% Edward Ferrars; 1% Edmund Bertram [Interestingly, males are a good bit less likely to choose Darcy as their favorite hero. The least-liked hero by some measure is Edmund Bertram (40%).]
• Favorite Bad Boy: 33% Wickham; 28% Willoughby; 16% Henry Crawford; 10% Frank Churchill; 7% William Elliot; 6% General Tilney
• Worst Parents: 54% Sir Walter Elliot; 16% Mr. & Mrs. Price; 15% Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram
• Four Comic Characters Who Delight Us: 74% Mrs. Bennet; 70% Mr. Collins; 56% Admiral Croft; 50% Mrs. Bates  

For the complete results and analysis, please go to JASNA Persuasion On-Line sources. http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/on-line/vol29no1/kiefer.html

About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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