One of the first questions we ask in any of our studies is the age of the participant. The purpose of this is two-fold: first, age can be an important variable, predicting a number of physical, psychological, and social outcomes. Second, due to ethical restrictions, the IARP is unable to study minors (as parental consent would be required, something we cannot reasonably expect to obtain if a person has not “come out” to their family as a furry).

Average Age (Years) of Furry Participants

Study Con-Going Online
W11 23.3
S11 24.0 26.8
W12 27.1 27.6
AC12 26.0 31.2
Range 24.0—27.1 23.3—32.1

As the table above and figure below shows, furries tend to be relatively young, with the majority of adult furries (over the age of 18) being in their early-to-mid-twenties, and nearly 75% of furries being under the age of 25. 🐾 Convention-going furries tend to be, on average, a bit older than furries in our online samples. This, we believe, is due to the fact that conventions can be expensive to attend (e.g., travel costs, hotel), requiring a level of expendable income and long-distance transportation more available to those with stable careers, who are more likely to be in their mid-twenties than their late teens and early twenties.

1-1 Age of Furries

The term “greymuzzle” is sometimes used by furries who have been in the fandom for significantly longer (12.3 years vs. 6.2 years, on average) or who are older than the average furry (e.g., 42.2 years old, on average). Approximately 9% of furries self-identify as greymuzzles.🐾 They are comparable to other furries in most regards, not differing in their well-being or in their identification with the furry fandom. Greymuzzles do differ on a few variables:

a. On average, it took greymuzzles much longer to discover the furry fandom after developing furry interests (9.5 years vs. 4.6 years), likely a product of internet accessibility.
b. Greymuzzles are 3-4 times more likely to self-identify as therian.
c. Greymuzzles are less likely to have an interest in roleplaying activities.🐾

The IARP is currently investigating the reason for a significant drop in the age of furries, particularly after the early 20s. One possibility is that, as people age, factors such as families and careers may reduce the amount of time people can devote to their hobbies. Alternatively, it may be the case that as furries spend time in the furry fandom, they form close friendships and, after a while, find themselves interacting with those friends outside of furry contexts.

On average, furries are older than anime fans (both convention-going and online), but younger than fantasy sport fans.🐾 Whether this is due to the fandoms targeting different age groups, requiring different amounts of resources to enter (e.g., money to spend on fantasy sport leagues), or other factors remains a topic of interest for future research.
1-1 age of fandom members

In addition to assessing actual age, the IARP has also studied subjective age—the extent to which furries feel younger or older than they actually are. As illustrated in the figure below, the “peak” of subjective (felt) age is younger than that of objective (actual) age. 10% to 15% of furries identify their felt age as being under the age of 18, while comparatively fewer identify a subjective age older than 40. The average actual age of furries is significantly higher than the average subjective age of the same furries (28.0 years vs. 25.3 years), about 6.9% higher on average.🐾

1-1 actual and subjective age

 

Finally, this figure illustrates that furries in the oldest quartile rate themselves, on average, 24.5% younger than their actual selves, while furries in the other quartiles feel significantly less young.🐾
1-1 subjective age by actual age

References

  • 🐾 2014 3-Fandom Survey (Furries, Anime Fans, Fantasy Sport Fans) (link) (F3)


  • 🐾 Furry Fiesta 2015 study (link) (FF15)


  • 🐾 International Furry Survey: Summer 2011 (link) (S11)


  • 🐾 2013 Online Fursona Survey (link) (S13)