Author Topic: BCA member demographics  (Read 5101 times)

Offline mikem

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #50 on: February 24, 2021, 12:05:25 pm »
From Rostam's recent membership report:
Quote
However reliable data, with date collected cited starts appearing in 2009 (of which it was 5609), in 2014 this was 6094 and last year stood at 7075.

Context is critical here – sustained general growth may be more a marker of clubs needing insurance, which may reflect a rapidly growing need in liability cover over the last 2 decades (the BCA’s own scheme was increased from £5 to £10 million in cover). It also may be a marker of the University sector stabilising and the baby boomer generation shifting up the pyramid. There is a significant generation of the membership between the ages of 50 and 65. This is also reflected in the fact that when you correct for the general population pyramid we are still dramatically over represented in this demographic.
Although, as I noted elsewhere, if you consider that under 18s make up 20% of the UK population & are effectively excluded from joining clubs without their parents, the average age of the remaining general population does move up from around 40 to 50 years old (in 1975 the general average was 36 (median 34) & in 2019 it was 40 (median similar), so increased by about 1 year every 10 - but you'd need to know the number of children born at those periods to find out how much of that is due to people living longer). However, ages cannot easily be compared between years in BCA data, as undoubtedly more new members are likely to supply it than those who have been here long term & they are likely to be younger than the average...

Anyway, membership has been increasing, although, as Rostam says, that doesn't necessarily mean the number of active cavers has increased. The 2018/19 reports don't include membership numbers (although those can presumably be found in other minutes).

Elsewhere I also noted - The 2018/19 report says 18% are over 65, this is surprisingly close to the 20% they make up of total population, although it isn't an accurate comparison, as U18s are under represented in caving.

& - The age demographic is also skewed slightly older in that if you want to remain a non-active member of a club you still have to join the BCA (this does not apply to BMC or BC(U) data). Have the numbers been compared for just green card holders, rather than all? [as most orange card holders are presumably over 65]

https://british-caving.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/20210221BCA-Demographics-Report.pdf
The 2018/19 data can be found on 2nd post on page 1 of this thread.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 12:35:08 pm by mikem »

Offline mikem

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #51 on: February 24, 2021, 12:21:20 pm »
From the other discussion (as it went off at a tangent) - I've combined my responses above (report is link in last post):
Rostam - you've got a lot of feedback already on your OP.  Isn't that what you asked for?

A lot of discussion about things not in the report. What would be more useful would be a critique of it: what have you taken away from it? What would be a more helpful way to present the data? Are there issues with the format etc?

The problem is is that I already know your feedback (this report is promoted by one of your conclusions), and Josh's unsurprisingly  ;D

It'd be also good to hear from people who go 'oh that's not been my experience' when they look at the data to see if there are subtle regional/community variations and where might need more support.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 12:36:07 pm by mikem »

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #52 on: February 25, 2021, 12:45:55 pm »
This is quite helpful and certainly something I'll have put into the following report - comparison with over 18 population samples (though that was the point of the cavers per population graph) with a breakdown of numbers in tables if that sounds good. I deliberately tried to avoid too many tables as I thought it made it a little harder to digest.

The under 18 data will be useful as a marker of the scouts/national caving team's success going forward so it won't be discounted. Though the next reports will focus on change I would have thought.

And as for cavers outside of BCA, I know there are many which is why you'll see estimates of 5-10,000. I think the BCA number is an easy one to go off and hopefully what we do over the next few years is bring people into the sport in general and hopefully our numbers would proportionally reflect that.

Offline pwhole

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #53 on: February 25, 2021, 01:07:16 pm »
This has been mentioned elsewhere, but the often artificial distinction between 'caving' and 'mine exploring' must surely have a significant impact on BCA membership, if it's perceived to be a 'caver-only' service by folks who more regularly frequent mines. Or may be completely unknown to them. I would imagine that the age demographic of 'mine explorers' to be older than 'cavers' in general, but then the recent incursions by, let's call them 'enthusiastic amateurs', are certainly from the younger end of the spectrum. Similarly I would guess that a majority of 'UrbExers' are younger than 'mine explorers'. I don't know whether Unis cater to 'mine exploring', but it doesn't seem so.

Personally I couldn't care less whether I go to a cave or a mine, as I find them both equally fascinating, and that's why I'm in BCA and PDMHS. As I do most of my underground work in Castleton, it's a pointless distinction really as the caves and mines are intermingled, and sometimes are both. 90% of Longcliffe is natural cave, but it's still classed as a mine as it's been modified, but then so have most caves that have been dug out. Same with Rowter Hole, Leviathan, Speedwell, etc. But I would hazard a guess that there's at least as many 'mine explorers' out there as 'cavers', possibly more, and I would also guess that most of them aren't members of BCA.

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #54 on: February 25, 2021, 01:58:08 pm »
and I would also guess that most of them aren't members of BCA.

I believe all of the bona-fide mine exploring societies / clubs offer to purchase BCA membership for that member when they renew their subs. Some make it conditional for attending trips.

People typically get their BCA membership through one society and are members of other societies without adding BCA there too!

My BCA membership is through CATMHS for example, and I am just a member of WMS.

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Offline mikem

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #55 on: February 25, 2021, 02:26:51 pm »
But yes there probably are more mine explorers who aren't in clubs than there are cavers.

Offline nearlywhite

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #56 on: February 25, 2021, 06:27:05 pm »
But yes there probably are more mine explorers who aren't in clubs than there are cavers.

Now that's an interesting idea - I don't think that is true but from experience trying to pin down how many mine explorers there are is tricky and I suppose it comes down to how broad a definition you take.

Offline mikem

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #57 on: February 25, 2021, 06:55:45 pm »
There are mines over more of the country, but I really meant. a higher percentage of mine explorers probably aren't in clubs.

Offline pwhole

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #58 on: February 25, 2021, 07:26:43 pm »
That's kind of what I meant really - a lot of it is far more 'underground', for want of a better term. I have only two 'secret' caving sites, that are still pretty obvious if you know me, and not really that secret. But I've got plenty of secret mine sites that you'll have to torture me to get details of on a public site, as they all had to be done under the radar - and/or the numpties must not find out. I know of several mine explorers (I hate that term) who wouldn't dream of joining BCA, or a club, they just do it. And also the fact that mines are far less specific in terms of geology (they don't need limestone to exist), there's way more of them everywhere. I bet there's few towns in Britain that don't have some sort of historic mining nearby.

Offline mikem

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #59 on: February 26, 2021, 11:06:48 am »
I guess the other thing you can compare is how many clubs joined the BCA each year, how many people did they bring in compared to overall increase & how long had they existed before joining? (As new clubs are likely to have been set up with the intention of signing up, whereas older clubs probably weren't)

Certainly more effort could be put into advertising the advantages of insurance to those who independently explore mines (provided the insurers are happy with that, as increased exposure is likely to increase claims)

Using the 2019 general population figures, if you ignore the 20% who are under 18 & those who are over 65, the average age is approximately 42 (the meaning of life the universe & everything). It'll be easier for Rostam to give an answer as to how that compares...
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 11:25:31 am by mikem »

Offline NewStuff

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Re: BCA member demographics
« Reply #60 on: February 27, 2021, 08:34:33 am »
I'd say I know about as many people not in a club (or the BCA) as are in one. We (DDDWH CC) are an outlier. We used to be BCA members, but decided not to have anything to do with it until they stopped pandering to a small vocal minority. Things are markedly better now, but at this point, joining the BCA offers *us* no advantages, and in theory, has disadvantages. Maybe this will change one day? Who knows. There are clear and definite advantages of memberships to new clubs forming.
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