How Many Americans Really Own Crypto, Skewed Results of Polls and Surveys
A recent survey conducted by Finder set out to find cryptocurrency ownership, interest, and gender distribution statistics for the American population.
The survey discovered that 92 percent of the American population has not purchased cryptocurrency and only eight percent of them plan on investing in cryptocurrency in the future.
However, research indicates that Finder’s survey is not the most accurate representation of cryptocurrency demographics in the US. Let’s look at the numbers.
What did Finder find
How many Americans own cryptocurrency, which cryptocurrencies people have purchased, why people chose the cryptocurrency they have purchased, the percentage of individuals who own cryptocurrency by gender, the proportion of each generation that has purchased cryptocurrency, and the reasons why people are not buying cryptocurrency. These questions were addressed by Finder, who reported that 5.15 percent of crypto-owners owned Bitcoin.
And that 29.99 percent of women and 23.63 percent of men believe cryptocurrency is too complicated to understand.
However, the data does not accurately represent the American population. Finder only surveyed 2,001 adults in America, this represents 0.0011 percent of the adult population in America according to the US Census Bureau.
Furthermore, Finder did not use a weighting scheme. Therefore the 2,001 individuals surveyed do not provide an accurate representation of the American population once it is scaled.
Analyses that involve statistics usually weight their data so that when the findings are multiplied by a factor to equal the size of the entire population, instead of the size the population that was sampled. The data would provide a representation of the demographics of the entire population and not just represent the demographics of the sampled population.
A more accurate representation of cryptocurrency ownership and cryptocurrency sentiments in America would have been if Finder weighted the data according to the age, race, sex, education, and geography demographics in the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Other recent surveys
A joint survey by Global Blockchain Business and Survey Monkey used the weighting scheme mentioned above in a research conducted in January 2018 and were able to produce statistics regarding the cryptocurrency ownership and sentiments of the American Population with a +/- two percent margin of error.
The joint survey polled 5,761 adults in America and found that only five percent own cryptocurrency, 21 percent of those polled were “considering adding cryptocurrency to their portfolios,” and 58 percent of the cryptocurrency holders were white males under the age of 34.
A 2017 survey conducted by LENDEDU set out to find the role cryptocurrency was playing in the American economy. However, in the LENDEDU data, there is no mention of it being weighted, so we can not expect the data to provide an accurate representation of the American crypto ownership.
Nonetheless, we are able to examine some of the statistics in the LENDEDU survey and bar them up against the data of the Finder survey. However, it should be mentioned that 1,000 individuals were surveyed in the LENDEDU survey, while 2,001 individuals were surveyed in the Finder survey.
LENDEDU found that out of 1,000 individuals surveyed:
- 13.99 percent own Bitcoin
- 17.18 percent of individuals plan on investing in Bitcoin in the future.
Millenials and Generation X
A similarity between the results of the Finder survey and the survey by LENDEDU is that Millenials are the largest group invested in cryptocurrency followed by Generation X.
The survey by Finder found that among those who purchased cryptocurrency there are:
- 17.21 percent of Millenials surveyed,
- 8.75 percent of Generation X surveyed.
The survey by LENDEDU found that:
- 38.64 percent of Millenials, and
- 32.54 percent of Generation X surveyed own or have owned Bitcoin in the past
Another similarity between the statistics in the Finder survey and the LENDEDU survey was that more males than females own cryptocurrency.
Finder’s survey found that:
- 11.86 percent of males, and
- 4.27 percent of females surveyed own cryptocurrency
And LENDEDU’s survey found that:
- 21.82 percent of the males, and
- 8.98 percent of the female population surveyed owned Bitcoin.
Looking forward to an exemplary survey
We can expect more polling and studies to be conducted regarding different populations sentiments toward owning cryptocurrency and future investing in the future, as the cryptocurrency market continues to grow in size and popularity. But at this point in time, there is a lack of data that provides us with useful statistics regarding cryptocurrency ownership demographics.
In 2016, an unfinished study titled “US Consumers’ Adoption and Use of Bitcoin and Other Virtual Currencies ∗” conducted by Scott Schuh from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and Oz Shy from the MIT Sloan School of Management reported that “about one percent or less of US consumers have ever owned (adopted) virtual currency.”
The data in the report comes from the Survey of Consumer Payment Choice- an annual survey of 2,000 US consumers that measures adoption of bank and other transaction accounts, as well as use of payment instruments, including cash.
However, that was nearly two years ago and cryptocurrency did not really gain popularity until the latter half of 2017. If surveyors continue to conduct studies without weighting their findings to the country they are observings demographics, studies will produce inaccurate statistics regarding the sentiments toward cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency ownership, and society will have an inaccurate understanding of the role cryptocurrencies play in economies and households throughout the world.
It is difficult to estimate a minimum and maximum number of cryptocurrency holders via a survey. Even if we had data that told us the total amount of cryptocurrency wallet addresses in the US, so many people have forgotten their private keys, lost or broken the piece of hardware that stored their funds, have signed up for a wallet but have never deposited funds or have multiple wallet addresses.
If the sampled population reflects the American demographics then the results of the survey will be relatively accurate when the survey is brought to scale. For example, according to the US Census Bureau, 76.9 percent of the population is white, 13.3 percent is black and 10 percent is other, if a survey with a sample size of 100 wanted to provide an accurate representation of data in America, the survey should question about 77 white individuals, 13 black individuals and 10 individuals who are neither white nor black.
A survey weighted to the American demographics would cause the responses given in the survey to reflect the responses that would come from the different ethnic, gender, and race groups in America and would more accurately represent the sentiments of the American population.