As much of the country has been plunged into shockingly cold weather in the past weeks, there is no denying the fact that we are in the dead of winter. With winter storms and sub zero temperatures becoming the norm, CivicScience sought to better understand how U.S. adults are clearing away snow. With over 1,500 responses, the results paint a clear picture of the current state of snow removal.

As it turns out, just over half of U.S. adults simply use a shovel to clear away snow from their sidewalks and or driveway.  Although this is, by far, the most popular option, snowblowers come in second, demonstrating that this particular snow removal method is still alive, well, and trusted by many to help make the snow clearing process a little easier.

Shoveling Takes Stamina

While fallen snow may look like a picture-perfect postcard, the reality is that clearing away several inches–or feet–of snow can be hard work. So it comes as no surprise that snow clearing methods vary by age. While the youngest adults are more likely to simply leave the snow, those in the middle stages of life swear by the shovel, and older adults lean towards a snowblower.

The latter statistic could be due in part to the fact that the physical demands of shoveling or ignoring the snow could pose very real danger for older adults, who face more risks when falling on the ice, for example.

Snow Removal by Location  

Snow clearing methods also vary depending on where you live. While shoveling dominates all three location responses, those who live in the city are the most likely to have a landlord or homeowners association remove the snow, while those in rural areas are the most likely to either leave the snow or opt for a snow blower. 

This data further suggests that different snow removal methods will have a different appeal, depending on the housing situation in any given place. What works for those in a metropolitan area is much different than what will work for those with several acres of land. It may be obvious, but it’s important to keep in mind just how specific snow removal methods can be.

DIY vs. Hiring Out

As the data shows, snow removal may also hinge on income. The data reveals that snowblower and snow plow usage increase along with income, while not clearing the snow shows the opposite trajectory.

While hiring someone to remove the snow is generally unpopular, it seems to be an especially foreign concept to those who make over $100k a year. Perhaps after investing in that snowblower, the idea of paying someone else to remove the snow seems a little far fetched?

But there is a demographic that will leave the snow removal to someone else. As the data shows, women are more likely than their male counterparts to leave the snow or have someone else take care of it.

Shoveling to Get Out of the House  

Although shoveling snow may not be everyone’s first choice for mitigating cabin fever, the data suggests otherwise. Those who choose to shovel their own snow have had the largest increase in desire to leave the house in the past six months. On the other hand, those who have experienced a decrease in desire to leave the house are the most likely to opt for a snowblower. 

Regardless of the reason, U.S. adults clearly have very different priorities when it comes to clearing off their driveways and sidewalks. While for some, snow removal methods may be influenced by a need for safe walking conditions, others may find cost, location or need to get out the greater driving force. At the end of the day, all that’s certain is that one way or another, clearing away the snow has to get done.