Is EA Growing? EA Growth Metrics for 2018

Is EA growing? Rather than speculating from anecdotes, I decided to collect some data. This is a continuation of the analysis started last year. For each trend, I collected the raw data and also highlighted in green where the highest point was reached (though this may be different from the period with the largest growth depending on which derivative you are looking at). You can download the raw data behind these tables here.

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EA Survey 2018 Series: How Long Do EAs Stay in EA?

Not everyone who joins the effective altruism community stays around forever. Some people value drift, some people leave altogether, and some people continue to do EA-aligned things but choose to withdraw from the community. Better understanding how and why people leave EA is important for assessing our overall community health and impact, but getting reliable data on this can be very hard to do.

As of Giving What We Can’s 2014 Impact Analysis, they had noted that 1.7% of members leave each year and an additional 4.7% of members “go silent” each year, meaning that GWWC has not been able to hear a response from them after two years (doing roughly annual check-ins), with a total number of people ceasing donations at 5.8%. This would suggest ~74% of people involved in GWWC remain involved after a five year time period.

This number forms a good starting point, but it is fairly out of date, having been collected five years ago. It also may not be representative of the overall EA community, since being an active part of EA is a high time cost but may not require any financial costs, whereas pledging to donate 10% has a high financial cost, but may not require much time cost beyond sending in a check and returning an email once a year or so.

To try to address this question from a different perspective, we try to use data from three EA surveys run in 2018, 2017, and 2015.

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EA Survey 2018 Series: How welcoming is EA?

Summary

  • EAs rate a wide variety of different causes as requiring “significant resources”.

  • Global Poverty remains the most popular single cause in our sample as a whole.

  • There are substantial differences in cause prioritisation across groups. On the whole, more involved groups appear to prioritise Global Poverty and Climate Change less and AI and Long-Term Future causes more.

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EA Survey 2018 Series: Geographic Differences in EA

Summary

  • EAs in the survey come mainly from a set of 5 high-income western populations.

  • The USA’s share of the EA population has decreased over time.

  • The UK has relatively higher support for Global Poverty and lower support for AI Risk than the other main countries.

  • The USA and Canada have a smaller percent of veg*n EAs compared to other large national cohorts of EAs.

  • Continental European EAs countries have particularly high rates of local group membership.

In this post we explore geographic differences in EA across the globe. A plurality of respondents reported being located in the United States (36.33%), followed by the UK (16.19%). It seems worthwhile to investigate if these populations are distinctly different from EAs elsewhere. This may help to point to causes or dynamics in the movement that are being missed to due to the dominance of these two nationalities.

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EA Survey 2018 Series: Where People First Hear About EA and Influences on Involvement

In a reply to our previous post in this series titled 'How do people get involved in EA?, Ben Todd made the following request:

[An] additional analysis which would be great is if you could identify the 20% of the respondents who seem most involved and dedicated, and then repeat the analysis by source for this sub-group. This would give us some sense of the quality as well as the scale of the reach of different sources.

We are happy to oblige!

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EA Survey 2018 Series: Cause Selections

Summary

  • EAs rate a wide variety of different causes as requiring “significant resources”.

  • Global Poverty remains the most popular single cause in our sample as a whole.

  • There are substantial differences in cause prioritisation across groups. On the whole, more involved groups appear to prioritise Global Poverty and Climate Change less and AI and Long-Term Future causes more.

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EA Survey 2018 Series: Donation Data

Summary

  • Median donations were slightly higher than in 2016 and total donations much higher

  • A small number of very large donors account for the majority of the totals donated

  • A majority of EAs report donating less than they would like due to financial constraints

This post explores donation data in the 2018 EA Survey, investigating how much people are donating, where they are donating and what influences their donations.

1891 out of 2607 (73%) self-identified EAs in our sample offered data about their donations. This is a significant increase from the 2017 Survey where we had donation data from 1019 EAs out of 1853 (54.9%).

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EA Survey Series 2018: Subscribers and Identifiers

Summary

  • In this report, we will explore the difference between those who self-identify as effective altruists versus those who say they broadly subscribe to effective altruism but do not self-identify. As there is variation in levels of involvement in the effective altruism movement, we were interested in assessing people who are outside the scope of the typical analysis.

  • Past reports in the EA Survey Series have exclusively reported only on respondents who are aware of effective altruism, subscribe to effective altruism, and describe themselves as effective altruists.

To perform this analysis, we used three questions* to classify people into two segments – “subscribers” and “identifiers.”

  • Subscribers are defined as those that are aware of effective altruism and broadly subscribe to the ideals, but do not identify as effective altruists

  • Identifiers are defined as those respondents that are aware of effective altruism, broadly subscribe to the ideals, and identify as effective altruists

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EA Survey Series 2018 : How do people get involved in EA?

Summary

  • Where people first hear of effective altruism (EA) has changed over the years: 80,000 Hours is now much more influential, and Giving What We Can (GWWC) much less so.

  • Personal Contacts, books, articles and blogs (other than those by major orgs) and 80,000 Hours seem to now be where most people first hear of EA.

  • Peter Singer is sufficiently influential that he should probably be his own category

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