How big is the average UK caving club?

Thanks for all the guesses - lots of interesting answers and thought gone into it :)

I am sure you are all on the edge of your seat to find out the answer?

To keep everyone happy I will tell you lots of different averages.
The mean number of members per caving club is 48
The median number of members per caving club is 22
The mode number of members per caving club is 7! (eight clubs have 7 members.)

As I was really thinking about the mean I am going to declare BabyHagrid the closest with their guess of 50!
Well done!

Although as a hitchhikers fan I am going to give PeteH a bonus point as 42 really is the answer to everything - and also one point for Standard Unit of Tom, for recognising the fact ;-)

This all leads me to the conclusion that the most average caving club in the UK is, in fact, the Eldon pothole club.
So not awesome at all, just average.
(Note this is the mean average caving club - I won't tell you the median/ mode most average caving clubs, as I am not members of them.........)

If you like numbers the mean caving club can be broken down further as
26 caving members, 6 non-caving members, 4 student members, 1 member under the age of 18, and 11 members who get their BCA membership as an individual or via another caving club = 48 members total.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
If you like numbers the mean caving club can be broken down further as
26 caving members, 6 non-caving members, 4 student members, 1 member under the age of 18, and 11 members who get their BCA membership as an individual or via another caving club = 48 members total.
Highlighting the above, does that mean roughly 2% of BCA members are under 18? That's more than I would have expected, but good news if so.
 

PeteHall

Moderator
Although as a hitchhikers fan I am going to give PeteH a bonus point as 42 really is the answer to everything - and also one point for Standard Unit of Tom, for recognising the fact ;-)
I'll confess that I didn't think of that when I wrote it. Must have been subconscious, but I'll proudly sew my bonus point onto my oversuit regardless :giggle:
 

ChrisB

Well-known member
the most average caving club in the UK is, in fact, the Eldon pothole club
but can you tell us which club or clubs have (or are nearest to having) a membership which is the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
 
does that mean roughly 2% of BCA members are under 18?
It is actually more like 3% of BCA members are under 18.
These numbers only include club members - we have quite a few individual members that are under 18.
(I am a member via a club, but sign my 3 kids up as individual members each year)

If you are interested in age distribution here is a graph I made earlier :)
Please note - we don't insist that clubs tell us the year of birth of their members - providing this data is optional.
In 2023 we got year of birth data from roughly half our total membership - and that is what this graph shows.
 

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    2023 ages.png
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but can you tell us which club or clubs have (or are nearest to having) a membership which is the answer to the ultimate question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
No clubs currently have exactly 42 members, but Don't Panic, I am sure a club will recruit some more soon and land on 42........
 

PeteHall

Moderator
If you are interested in age distribution here is a graph I made earlier

That's pretty interesting, and encouraging with so many younger members. I guess the drop-off from 30-49 probably relates to all those people who quit caving while their kids grow up.

Perhaps I ought to sign my lot up and boost the 0-9 bracket, just never seen any practical reason to do so...
 

Katie

Active member
Perhaps I ought to sign my lot up and boost the 0-9 bracket, just never seen any practical reason to do so...
No reason not to! I sign my kids up as individuals members cos it is entirely free to do so whilst they are under 18, and then they have the PL cover should anything ever happen. But more importantly then we can have trips in Peak Cavern beyond the show cave and get to do the slide into Narnia.........
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for posting the ages graph. I'd be interested in the age trend of BCA members. I started the age demographic analysis when I was on council myself with a view to discovering whether the membership was aging. If this were so then BCA might be concerned that as cavers drop off the perch at one end not enough young cavers were joining at the other to replace them. Or it might just be that caving tends to attract a lot of older people into the sport. Either way it is something that should be known so that limited national resources can be directed into the best areas.

I completed my reports, with Kay's expert help, for 2017, 18 & 19. I think Rostam published a further year. My last report showed (amongst many things) that the over 60s accounted for 27% of the BCA membership. A quick look at the graph above suggests that is much higher at somewhere around 35%. Has any analysis been done since 2020 and is it available?

I still have my reports and could attach here if anyone was interested. Cheers
 
I took over looking after membership in Spring 2021 and to my knowledge no-one has analysed the membership data in a formal way in that time.
But I agree it is an important thing to keep an eye on, and spot any trends.
I'd be interested to see your reports :)

The 2023 data show 28.9% of members were aged 60 and over. Although that is only for the half of total membership we have age data for.
 

mikem

Well-known member
It also suggests that c.2% would be 59, so moving into over 60s category each year...

Might be interesting to see a 5 year break down alongside the 10
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Here they are, although they will also be with BCA somewhere. Probably attached to minutes. Shame this sort of stuff gets lost or no one thinks to continue it.
 

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  • BCA age demographic report for 2018 & 2019.pdf
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  • Age demographic report of BCA membership to June 2017 Council Meeting 1.pdf
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mikem

Well-known member
There are two previous discussions on demographics on here - 2021 includes working link to Rostam's BCA report for previous year, although the 2020 link to yours isn't recognised:
 

Mizmazmoz

New member
If we're talking demographics I'd be interested in finding out the gender split of the BCA membership also.
 

Badlad

Administrator
Staff member
Katie may have that information. My guess is that it would be around 25% female max.

We did a questionnaire at a CHECC forum AGM some years ago. I think it had about 100 respondents and showed 56% male, 31% female and the rest did not identify/answer.
 
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