The Michigan Daily conducted its third annual Demographics Survey for the fall 2022 semester, and the results reflect similar trends we have seen across the newsroom over the past couple of years. The survey was created using Qualtrics and was distributed to The Daily staff for two weeks, collecting responses from 213 staff members. We recognize that this data is not representative of every individual in The Daily, as people were given the option to refrain from answering certain questions. The Daily believes collecting this data is important to acknowledge the clear socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, gender, religious and sexuality disparities within our community and are committed to establishing informed practices in response to this data.
When it comes to class standing, survey results reported an even spread of staffers on The Daily across all undergraduate years. From the survey results, only one out of the 206 respondents to this question self-identifies as “post-grad or other.” In comparison to last year’s Demographic Survey, this year’s staff saw a substantial increase in first-year students, from 9.5% in 2021 to 26.5% in 2022. However, the amount of staffers in junior standing decreased from 35.1% in 2021 to 25.9% in 2022.
Responses to the question about a staffers’ age reflected a similar trend to class distribution. The majority of respondents, 26.29%, are 20 years old. The next-largest group is 18-year-olds at 24.57%. Similarly, 24% of respondents are 19 years old. Next, 21.71% of respondents are 21 years old. Only 1.71% of respondents are 22 years old, and 1.14% of respondents are younger than 18 years old. Lastly, 0.57% of respondents are 23 years old.
A relative majority of staff members identified as being from Michigan. This residential make up reflects the University of Michigan’s undergraduate population, where 52% of undergraduates are in-state students. Following Michigan, 9.8% of staffers are from New York, 8.8% are from California and 6.2% are from Illinois. There is also a decrease in staffers from Michigan, as last year, 50% of staffers were in-state students.
According to the responses, only 3.86% of students at The Daily are international students. The majority of The Daily is composed of non-international students, with 95.65% being from the U.S. Of those who identified as international students, there is representation from P.R. China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan, and Europe.
When it comes to race, the options on the survey staffers could choose from was modeled from the methodology of previous research from past Daily-administered surveys along with anonymous feedback from staffers.
The Daily’s racial breakdown shows that a majority of the staff, approximately 58%, is represented by white-identifying individuals. This decreased by 4.5 % from 2021. Among populations of Color, multiracial staffers are the largest group with 15%. This is closely followed by Asian-identifying staffers being the third largest group, with 14.5% of staffers identifying as East Asian, and 8% identifying as South Asian. Only 0.5% of staffers identify as Pacific Islander.
Approximately 1.5% of staffers identify as Black. 0.5% of the respondents identified as Hispanic/Latinx. Both of these rates are lower than previous years and campus representation levels. Middle Eastern staffers make up 2.5% of the respondents.
The majority of respondents of the fall 2022 report identified as cisgender women, accounting for 66.67% of the total. The second highest total, 27.36%, identified as cisgender men. Only 2.99% of respondents identified as non-binary and 1.49% identified as gender fluid. Additionally, 1.49% of respondents declined to answer. These results were rather similar to the 2021 demographic survey.
The majority of respondents, 66.67%, use she/her/hers pronouns. He/him/his pronouns are used by 27.42% of respondents. Only 5.38% of those surveyed reported identifying with “Other” as their pronouns and 0.54% of respondents use they/them pronouns.
This year, 65% of respondents identify as heterosexual, 13% identify as bisexual, 5.5% identify as queer, 5.0% identify as lesbian and 4.0% identify as questioning. Only 2.5% identify as gay, 2.5% said they didn’t know, 2.0% identify as asexual and 0.5% identify with a sexuality not on this list. The Daily acknowledges that there is a spectrum of sexual identities and has used numerous resources to create an inclusive environment. For example, when formulating the options to this question, The Daily referred to methodology from previous Daily-administered surveys and incorporated feedback provided in response to the surveys.
According to the 2022 demographics survey, The Daily continued becoming a more diverse organization in regard to the sexual orientation of its staff. Currently, 35% of respondents identify as LGBTQ+, which is a 2% increase from last year. In comparison, this is twice as large as the University’s undergraduate LGBTQ+ population from 2019.
Responses on Daily staffers’ family income remain similar to the data collected in 2021. 38% of the staff members reported coming from a combined family income of more than $200,000, nearly one-fifth of all staffers have families earning less than $100,000. With the median family income for students at The University is $154,000, this data is reflective of The University’s larger socioeconomic makeup. The Daily continues to strive to make the newsroom an equitable place for students to work through scholarships and work study opportunities.
Several different religions are present among The Daily staffers, the most prominent ones being Christian (23.47%), agnostic (22.45%), atheist (15.82%) and Jewish (14.80%). Christianity remains as the dominant religion at The Daily, as it was in 2021 and 2020 as well. About 12% of staffers either identify with a religion that is not present on the list given or chose not to answer this question.
The Daily’s staff continues to primarily consist of students in LSA. In line with 2020 and 2021, the large majority of The Daily’s staff is in LSA (81.07%), while the next most prominent school is the College of Engineering (8.74%). None of The Daily’s staffers belong to the School of Kinesiology, School of Social Work, School for Environment and Sustainability, Law School or Medical School.
This year’s survey data shows that 89.17% of staffers report English as their first language. However, staffers also speak 22 languages other than English, with Spanish being the most popular at 9%. The multitude of languages spoken by The Daily Staff include Chinese, French, Arabic, Korean, Hindi, Tamil, Urdu, Italian, Bengali, German, Hebrew and many more.
Moving forward, we hope our staff continues to grow more diverse and provide a larger platform to the often underrepresented storytellers and their incredibly valuable contributions to journalism. As we continue to hire new staffers each semester, we aim to be an open and fair workplace for people of all identities and backgrounds.
Nazim Ali, Spencyr Aronson, Meredith Knight, Melia Pan, Amanda Picariello, Eric Lau and Lily Wang contributed to the report.