BRC Census Population Analysis, 2013-2019

Before and After Black Rock City

Transformative Experience

Since 2015, a team of researchers have used the online survey to ask a series of questions about transformative experiences at Burning Man. They ask these questions in a variety of settings, studying the types of changes reported from participants in different environments.

More information about the work conducted by this research team can be found at http://www.crockettlab.org/


Transformative Experience

Self-Report of a Transformative Experience* in Black Rock City

Error bars indicate the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence intervals.

* The exact wording of this question in the online survey was, "Did you have a transformative experience in Black Rock City this year?"

** In the 2015 online survey this answer options was "Absolutely." In all following years, the option was changed to "Definitely."

2015   2016   2017   2018   2019
Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %
Not at All 6.5 0.6   10.6 0.8   10.5 1.0   9.3 0.8   8.8 0.8
2 9.1 0.8   7.6 0.8   7.7 0.8   8.0 0.8   7.6 0.8
3 8.8 0.8   6.4 0.6   7.6 0.8   7.4 0.6   6.9 0.8
Somewhat 18.8 1.0   23.7 1.2   22.6 1.4   22.3 1.2   22.2 1.2
5 21.1 1.0   17.3 1.2   16.5 1.2   16.8 1.0   16.9 1.0
6 16.0 1.0   12.6 1.0   12.9 1.2   13.1 1.0   12.8 1.0
Definitely** 19.6 1.0   21.7 1.2   22.3 1.4   23.1 1.2   24.7 1.2

Transformative Experience

Degree of Expectation of a Transformative Experience* in Black Rock City

Error bars indicate the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence intervals.

* Data presented in the plot above and table below are for participants who reported experiencing a transformative experience in Black Rock City during each event year. The exact wording of this question in the online survey was, "Did you go to Burning Man expecting this transformation?"

2016   2017   2018   2019
Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %
Not at All 17.3 1.2   20.7 1.4   21.1 1.2   21.1 1.2
2 10.4 1.0   13.0 1.2   11.2 1.0   9.8 0.8
3 9.3 1.0   10.6 1.0   10.2 0.8   9.5 0.8
Somewhat 39.8 1.6   35.4 1.6   35.3 1.4   35.4 1.4
5 11.2 1.0   8.6 1.0   8.4 0.8   9.6 0.8
6 4.9 0.6   4.6 0.8   5.7 0.6   5.6 0.6
Absolutely 7.2 0.8   7.1 0.8   8.0 0.8   9.1 0.8

Transformative Experience

Degree of Desirability of a Transformative Experience* in Black Rock City

Error bars indicate the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence intervals.

* Data presented in the plot above and table below are for participants who reported experiencing a transformative experience in Black Rock City during each event year. The exact wording of this question in the online survey was, "Did you go to Burning Man desiring this transformation?"

2016   2017   2018   2019
Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %
Not at All 12.1 1.0   11.3 1.0   13.9 1.0   13.7 1.0
2 8.0 0.8   8.6 1.0   8.9 0.8   7.2 0.8
3 7.6 0.8   7.0 0.8   7.1 0.8   7.5 0.8
Somewhat 29.7 1.4   28.5 1.6   25.8 1.2   26.2 1.2
5 15.1 1.2   14.8 1.2   11.7 1.0   12.8 1.0
6 9.5 0.8   9.0 1.0   10.8 1.0   9.6 0.8
Absolutely 18.0 1.2   20.8 1.4   21.8 1.2   22.9 1.2

Transformative Experience

Persistence of Transformative Experience* After Departing Black Rock City

Error bars indicate the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence intervals.

* Data presented in the plot above and table below are for participants who reported experiencing a transformative experience in Black Rock City during each event year. The exact wording of this question in the online survey was, "Did this transformation persist after you left Black Rock City?"

2015   2016   2017   2018   2019
Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %
No 3.9 0.6   5.9 0.8   5.9 0.8   8.2 0.8   8.2 0.8
Yes, but These Changes Went Away After a While 10.8 0.8   9.9 1.0   7.7 1.0   10.0 0.8   8.9 0.8
Yes, and I Still Feel These Changes 85.3 1.0   84.2 1.2   86.3 1.2   81.8 1.2   82.9 1.2

Transformative Experience

Duration of Transformative Experience After Departing Black Rock City*

Error bars indicate the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence intervals.

* Options were changed in 2016 and were not directly comparable.

2015   2017   2018   2019
Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %   Percent MoE +/- %
No Transformation 3.9 0.6   6.0 0.8   8.2 0.8   8.2 0.8
Less Than 1 Day 0.1 0.0   0.2 0.2   0.1 0.0   0.1 0.0
1-3 Days 1.1 0.2   1.0 0.4   0.9 0.2   1.3 0.4
3 Days-1 Week 2.6 0.4   1.6 0.4   2.2 0.4   2.0 0.4
1-2 Weeks 3.4 0.4   2.2 0.6   3.4 0.6   2.1 0.4
2-3 Weeks 1.7 0.4   1.3 0.4   1.7 0.4   1.5 0.4
3-4 Weeks 0.7 0.2   0.4 0.2   0.8 0.2   0.7 0.2
4-5 Weeks 0.4 0.2   0.4 0.2   0.5 0.2   0.3 0.2
6+ Weeks 0.6 0.2   0.4 0.2   0.4 0.2   0.6 0.2
Still Persisting 85.6 1.0   86.6 1.2   81.9 1.2   83.1 1.0

Transformative Experience

Self-Report of Whether a Transformative Experience was Aided by Music

Error bars indicate the upper and lower bounds of the 95% confidence intervals.

*This question was first asked in 2019.

2019
Percent MoE +/- %
Yes 43.0 1.4
No 57.0 1.4

Next: Perspectives on Burning Man: The 10 Principles