Demographic survey questions are used to find out more personal information from survey-takers. Most demographic questions ask details about age, gender, professions, incomes, education level, and ethnicity.
But being put into boxes and endless excel sheets is not the nicest feeling. So it’s no surprise that people often ditch demographic surveys quickly. Often it’s right after the first question that asks for something personal like their annual income—which in some countries is as rude as insulting their mother.
So how do you create demographic questions that everyone feels comfortable answering? You don’t want to leave anyone thinking, “how dare they ask me that?”
If you’re a restaurant manager wondering how to tweak a crème brûlée recipe, maybe it doesn’t matter if it was a 40-year old marketer or a 14-year old student who said they loved it.
However, if you’re the Head of HR and want to find out the age or gender balance of the office, it might be a good idea to dig a little.
So before you start asking for potentially sensitive information, ask yourself: do I really need this information, or am I just including it because that’s what forms and surveys normally do?
Write questions that give options for everyone. Keep the quizzing to a minimum and stick to what’s expected. Don’t be like your nosy neighbor Carl. We’re gonna talk you through some demographic survey question examples including:
Being more inclusive with demographic survey questions takes a bit of time—but once you find a fair way of asking all the questions, you’ll be all set for surveys and questionnaires to come.
As we rolled out Typeform V2 (our upgraded survey builder), we got loads of feedback about the product. But we also got some comments about the way we worded our demographic survey templates:
We checked out the article and learned from it. And we improved. Now in all our surveys we ask:
What is your gender?
• Non-binary/ third gender
• Prefer to self-describe
• Prefer not to say
You’ve sent out your demographic survey questions—nice job.
That’s not the end of this story though. Asking is the easy part, now you have to try and find some trends in the answers.
Do Baby Boomers rate your product more than Millennials? Are part-timers more or less likely to use your app on Wednesdays?
You can even cross-tabulate and discover that men over the age of 25 are your biggest fans. And that’s gonna cut your ad spend.
So this article was all about making awkward questions, well, less awkward.
Asking these questions will make your survey smoother, but to really make your demographic survey more conversational, you need to be appropriate—just like in a real conversation.
Don’t ask a sophomore student for their household income. They probably don’t know.
Do ask a recent college graduate their work status. You can find out how they’re doing in the big, bad world.
Don’t ask your grocery customers for their marital status. What does that have to do with how much they like bananas?
It’s possible to ask demographic questions in a chatty way—so don’t be afraid to ask.
Just ask in the right way.