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The Aro Census 2020 Report


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About The Aro Census is an online community survey whose purpose is to gather information on the makeup of the aromantic community. The initiative was started by AUREA in 2020 and is intended to be a bi-yearly project. This report shows the results of the 2020 survey. The team behind the creation, dissemination, analysis, and report writeup for the Aro Census is international, and is composed of volunteers. The volunteers are entirely arospec or a-spec and come from a variety of backgrounds. The following groups and individuals were involved throughout the various stages of the project: ● The AUREA team ● Grace Vestuto ● aspec of stardust ● Birgit/Yellow ● gracesofluck ● Markus Lilienthal ● Shelley If any readers of this report are interested in being part of the team in the future or have any questions about the report, please email AUREA at contact@aromanticism.org. Distribution of this report, in whole or in part, is allowed, as long as proper credit is given to the Aro Census team. To refer to this report, the following citation is recommended: AUREA Aro Census Team 2020. (2021). The Aro Census 2020 Report. AUREA. https://aromanticism.org/aro-census. Aro.

e, acespec, ace-spec Short for “asexual.” All of these terms can be used to refer to anyone who identified as somewhere on the asexual spectrum, and we use these terms as both specific identities and umbrella terms for the asexual community. Trans Short for “transgender” and/or “transsexual*” (*a more outdated term). We define trans in this survey as anyone who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth, whether wholly or partially. Queer We use this term both as a specific identity (e.g., queer as a sexuality, genderqueer) and as a broad term to describe the LGBTQIA+ community

Content Warnings: This report contains material that may be sensitive or triggering for some readers. Content covered in this report includes (but is not limited to): romance, sex, intimate relationships, break-ups and ends of relationships, prejudice, discrimination, harassment, violence (including physical and sexual violence), mental health (including illness), and disability. It is recommended that readers engage in self-care or seek social support when reading the report if they find any content distressing. Terminology and Abbreviations The census and this report both use certain terms and abbreviations in particular ways. Some of these terms and abbreviations are used in different ways throughout the community. To learn more about these terms, visit AUREA’s glossary. Below are the ways the census team defined and used the following terms: Aro, arospec, aro-spec, aromantic

Methodology The Aro Census is a community survey started in 2020, set to repeat biannually (every two years). The survey contains general demographic questions and questions about topics related to the aromantic experience. Some questions were mandatory while others were optional and depended upon answers to other questions (e.g., participants who did not indicate having a sexual history did not answer the sexual history questions). The team reviews and edits these questions after each iteration of the census, according to feedback. In 2020, the Aro Census was only available in English. The survey administration platform used to host the survey was Google Forms. This means the survey was only accessible through the web. The 2020 survey was open from March 29th to November 30th, 2020. The survey was advertised on AUREA’s website (aromanticism.org) and social media platforms (Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Arocalypse forums, some Discord servers) throughout the survey’s distribution. Snowball sampling was used, meaning that the link to the survey could be shared through word of mouth (personally or online). Due to this convenient sampling method, the findings reported on in this document are not representative of the entire community of aromantics. Analysts used a combination of MS Excel, R, Python, and Google Sheets to organize, analyze, and visualize the data. Some survey questions had write-in response options or “Other” options. These were coded by hand by a team of coders, based on common answers. In cases where options had too few participants to report on individually (defined as 1% of participants or fewer), some options were rolled together into broader categories, defined by the coders based on common data analysis practices. Aro Census 2020 Report.

Demographics This section describes the participants’ general demographic characteristics. The census had 9758 respondents in total. Not all questions were mandatory (e.g., questions about sexual history only applied to some people); therefore, some of the following visualizations show fewer responses.

Of those who responded to the census, 55.8% indicated they consider themselves aromantic all of the time, 21.4% indicated they consider themselves aromantic most of the time, and 11.2% feel closer to the aromantic label than the alloromantic label. The remaining 11.6% indicated that their identification with the aromantic spectrum changes, fluctuates with their identity, or is still being questioned.

Orientations The census asked about orientations participants held. These include romantic and sexual orientations, as well as other orientations and attractions. Romantic Orientation In terms of arospec labels participants held (including broader a-spec labels, in the case of people whose aromantic identity is part of a broader one), a large number of respondents (6999) indicated they identify as aro or aromantic.

Almost half of respondents did not identify with non-arospec romantic orientations. For those that did, the most common was queer, indicated by 2509 participants. Biromantic, panromantic, gay, and lesbian were the next most common orientations. Over 1700 survey takers indicated they were questioning. Sexual and Other Orientations In terms of sexual orientation, 6903 people identified as asexual. This accounts for the vast majority of participants. After asexual, the most common sexual orientation was queer, accounting for 2191 participants. Bisexual people and those who were questioning their sexuality accounted for around 1200 responses each. The distributions for other sexualities were relatively even, though heterosexual, homosexual, and polysexual people were quite few, only accounting for 253, 178, and 132 responses respectively.

Living Environment (Size) The respondents to the census were relatively evenly distributed when it came to where they lived. There were slightly more people living in big towns (10 to 99 thousand people) and less living in villages (categorized as having less than 999 people). City Size Freq Percent Large city (more than 4 million people) 861 9.04 Metropolis (1 to 3 million people) 897 9.42 Big city (300 to 999 thousand people) 1097 11.52 Big town (10 to 99 thousand people) 1889 19.84 Medium city (100 to 299 thousand people) 1264 13.27 Small town (1 to 9 thousand people) 1245 13.07 Suburbs of big or medium city 1098 11.53 Suburbs of large city or metropolis 781 8.2 Village (less than 999 people) 390 4

In the recruitment call and original form, it was mentioned that raw data would not be published or shared. During the analysis phase of the census, AUREA received some requests from researchers (aro and non-aro) who were interested in the data. For future iterations of the census, it may be useful to have some of the non-personal data be publicly available for other members of the community to view and use for their own analyses. Specific Questions There were specific questions that received a lot of feedback from participants. It is important to address those in the next iteration of the census to be more inclusive and clear. Some feedback simply asked for more definitions of terms used in the census, and reminders of those definitions where relevant, in order to be more accessible. Rewording some questions and their possible responses was also a common recommendation so that survey respondents can understand better.

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