After boasting last week that we “never stop doing research,” I have to amend my statement slightly. We never stop collecting data, for sure. But in a week with a major holiday in the middle and a large chunk of our team on vacation, our cupboard of new discoveries is bare.
So, rather than breaking my streak of weekly submissions, I thought I would dust off a few of our greatest hits from the past four years– hoping that at least some of it is new to you:
The undercurrents that foretold the coming of Trump were first evident in our data way back in November of 2013. It was then, in the nascent days of our Economic Sentiment Index, that we saw a major rift in consumer confidence among rural Americans. As our friends at the WSJ highlighted, broad economic sentiment spiked dramatically at the time, while older, white, rural residents fell further behind. As the gap widened over the next three years, nobody was listening – because this rural cohort wasn’t on social media yelling about it – so many in Washington and the media thought everything was just fine. Oops.
Hands down, people who don’t have kids live better lives – except for one major thing. This was the first research I ever published (not the last) that brought me a deluge of hate mail. On Good Morning America in 2014, we shared findings from an extensive study into the differing lifestyles of over 656,000 U.S. parents and 393,000 adult non-parents. We found that non-parents had significantly higher quality of life when it came to health, sleep, exercise, travel, job satisfaction, stress and anxiety, and overall leisure and entertainment. What was the punch line? When asked “How happy are you?,” the parents were far more likely than the non-parents to report higher levels of happiness. A quick check of these data today yields the same results.
A person’s height can tell you an astonishing number of things about them. In some of my all-time favorite research, we explored hundreds of correlations in our database that were related to a respondent’s relative height. When normalized for gender, taller people are more likely to use Twitter, watch ABC, exercise regularly, and be heavily influenced by their friends on social media. Shorter people are more likely to use Pinterest, watch NBC, love country music, vote Democrat, and use T-Mobile as their wireless carrier. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
The composition of Twitter’s user base looks nothing like the real world. It was true when we first wrote about it three years ago and is still true today, even as the percentage of Americans who use Twitter climbed a few points. This is particularly relevant in today’s political landscape – don’t fall for the narrative that our President is using Twitter to somehow speak directly to ‘the people.’ It also means that Twitter can be a very attractive forum for certain brands to reach their customers, but a useless forum for others.
I am completely full of it on social media and you probably are too. I wrote this just for my friends on Facebook last November and it’s still 100% true (TL;DR) . Apologies for the F-bomb (or two) – I was trying to show everyone how relatable and down-to-earth I am! But it’s no joke. Latent peer pressure and Like-seeking on social media are affecting politics, markets, and even public health in ways we may be years from fully measuring.
And a few random (hair) stats:
- 58% of men and only 28% of women wash their hair every day
- 62% of adults would rather have straight hair; 38% would prefer curly
- 32% of adults dye or color their hair
- 59% of adults have cut their own hair at least once
- 24% of adults believe in the “hair of the dog” hangover cure
Hoping you’re well.