Culture Analysis 2.0

Refreshing and expanding our findings on diversity and discrimination

Cameron Crow
Oct 12, 2018 · 9 min read

Make Idaho Better (previously Make Boise Better) is the easiest way to be a part of state and local solutions. Do your part.

You can read below, or have me walk you through it with this video

How Analysis Posts Work

In our analysis, we take a deeper look at our survey results and highlight the patterns and insights we find under the surface using segmentation across meaningful demographics (like age, gender, or location).

By spreading the word, you can help us grow our list, get more responses, and have a larger positive impact on our community. And now, to the main event…

Boise Culture

This is the second survey any new Make Boise Better subscriber receives. Besides collecting some important demographic info that we can use in future survey analysis, it helps us know what subscribers think about our city’s culture — whether we’re welcoming, supportive of diversity, and whether they’ve felt discrimination or not.

I published our first analysis of this survey in July 2018, and since then our responses have over doubled, from 74 to 159 (as of now). It’s time for a refresh!

The survey questions and overall results are available here, and we’ll use segmentation to highlight some below-the-surface findings.

First, our sample’s demographics

(When you look at survey findings, it’s always a good idea to observe what types of people responded. Since we track how each person answers, we’re able to pull in responses from previous surveys to help with this. If some subscribers didn’t take the survey where we collected a demographic, they’re labeled with a “?”.)

So far, we’ve heard from more women than men, more liberals than conservatives, more young people than older, and zip codes closer to downtown. Keep that in the back of your mind while you’re checking out our findings.


Discrimination is worth digging into

In this analysis, I’m going to be diving deeper into the answers to “How often have you felt discriminated against?” This question is aimed at getting closer to “real talk,” because someone may have a positive outlook about Boise culture, but just realize that discrimination is just a fact of life. This question helps us separate those experiences from your overall point of view.

As you can see, about 40% of our respondents said they’ve never felt discriminated against. Good for them! For the other 60%, that sucks!

Lets see what we can find below the surface — I bet there’s patterns with certain types of people feeling more discrimination than others.


Women feel more discrimination

Yup, there definitely are patterns. Looking first at responses across genders, you can see that women are half as likely to answer “Never” and twice as likely to answer “A few times a year.” That definitely jives with the findings from our Gender survey analysis. 😞


Younger people feel more discrimination?

Now lets look across age. There appears to be something here too.

Look at the differences between answers from people in their 20s versus answers from those in their 50s-70s, particularly in the “A few times a year” category. In that bracket, it looks like the older you are, the less likely you are to feel discrimination at that frequency.


83703 has the least discrimination?

Can we find a signal if we segment by zip code? Well, this looks pretty noisy. I’m thinking we shouldn’t read too much into the small variances between responses from different zip codes.

But what about 83703?! The people we heard from there responded “Never” about twice as often as the rest of the zip codes. Interesting…

I drilled into this group, and saw that they are all white, so that might have something to do with it. What a great segue into race!


‘Not white’ people feel more discrimination

When we look at answers across race, I needed to group all the “not white” answers together so we could get a bigger group for a comparison (there were 20 out of 159).

Look at the difference in the “A few times a month” category! Our “not white” group answered that way about 10x more often than the white respondents. I think we’re on to something here.


Discrimination across religions

What about by religion? I needed to do a little bit of grouping here too because we had a lot of answers from “Christian,” “Nothing in particular,” and “Atheist or agnostic,” but only a few scattered across the other options. I put those scattered responses into “Other religion” (there were 25 of them, out of 159).

The bar that stands out to me in this graph is the spike in “A few times a year” votes from the “Nothing in particular” group. That’s not really what I expected, so I decided to drill down. Well, they’re mostly young women — that probably explains it.


‘Not straight’ people feel a lot more discrimination

What about sexual orientation? Grouping, again. All the “not straight” responses were grouped together for comparison’s sake (17 out of 159).

Bingo! This one is the best dimension I’ve found at separating answers about discrimination. It’s scary that about 65% of the “not straight” group reported discrimination at least “A few times a year.” Looks like a problem!


That’s all for quantitative analysis. Now we’re going to shift gears to qualitative, and see what interesting comments came through.

Interesting Comments

There were a lot of interesting comments, as usual. I’ve highlighted several that I think are particularly thought-provoking or representative, and I’ve bolded key phrases to help you skim.

What gets too much attention?

Diversity for the sake of saying they (we) are diverse. Checking off a box, so-to-speak, instead of truly realizing the benefits of living, working, and playing in a diverse culture.

“Change”! That evil 6-letter word! I understand that Boise wants to keep the characteristics of what makes Boise Boise, but to let other people in, you have to let go a little. And I don’t just mean letting Californians in, I mean letting in other races, other socio-economic classes, other political thought, etc. Particularly socio-economic and race has been dominated by middle -class white, and Boise can work on adjusting that. But I think Bose likes to dig its heels in, and sometimes they might learn that the newcomers are actually quite similar to them.

Newcomers pay too much attention to the lack of diversity here. We can’t do much to change the pie chart, but we can be a more welcoming city to those who are different from us.

Californians moving is. Boise loves to blame everything on California.

Trying to be this beautiful, all accepting, diversity poster child for the US.

Other cities programs and cultures. In my opinion people need to stop comparing Boise to other cities. Boise is unique and great. With its own set of issues and mindset. A mindset that cares about all people and fiscal responsibility. It has to stay that way.

We are much too worried that anything that happens to a minority or will be viewed as a hate crime. We need to relax and realize a very friendly community and stuff just happens.

Place of birth … Constant negativity towards transplants, particularly Californians (but I moved here from Missouri, NJ native) is really tiresome. Seems like you have to be at least 3rd generation Boisean to have any street cred, or value to the community.

I think we like to tout that we are very diverse and welcoming without actually giving action to it. We pay a lot of attention in presenting us as diverse but in reality we still aren’t that diverse at all.

I used to be all about the “progressive” agenda, and then I found out that I was exactly who the “progressives” wanted to displace….a white man. I am actually part Cherokee, but that doesn’t matter since it doesn’t show physically. So, I would say that Boise City Govt wants to push San Francisco extremist politics into Boise culture.

Boise is obsessed simultaneously with development and maintaining it’s “small-town” feel — which is impossible, and ends up with minorities and other disenfranchised folks being left out in the cold while boise grows and developers, politicians, and real estate agents (and investors) profit heavily.

What doesn’t get enough attention?

We rarely go outside of our own Ada County bubble. There is a culture contrast that can only be experienced when election time arrives…

Accessibility to a broad range of cultural diversity. Many people tend to stay within a group of people that reflect the same sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic background, etc.

Boise is like an oasis in the very red state of Idaho. There is this stereotypical Idahoan that is very real (very anti-immigrant/refugee, racist), and they do exist in Boise, but I want people to realize not all of Boise is like that.

I think Boise is focusing more on the change of political and social culture as opposed to racial. People talk about “diversity of thought” not diversity of people. I hope that “diversity of people” become a more significant part of the conversation.

People in Boise don’t pay enough attention to class -based discrimination and exclusion! Partly due to conservative state and local level policies, people don’t consider how their decisions affect those less fortunate than them and how “those people” are not actively included in public spaces and activities that require certain resources to be a part of.

Women’s rights and the value of women in society.

Neutral spaces for a diverse community. Why do we have a cross (that I call plus sign) overlooking the city — why do we vote in churches? Voting should be done in neutral public spaces.

Welcoming immigrants is great but Boise will literally give it’s shirt of its back. Quality of life for the past and current residence should not be put in jeopardy when trying to be inclusive. We need to be inclusive only if they are assimilating to our culture and language while being employed and not a drain on some very limited resources. I welcome hard working people who are trying to leave a bad situation legally. I do not welcome illegal immigrants who will not try to learn our language or work and pay taxes like the rest of us.

Perspectives and experiences of non-majority residents.

That’s all folks!

If you want more analysis goodness, check out our other posts at the Analysis section.

And if you haven’t already, please join us and do your part. More subscribers means more responses and more impactful results and discussions.


Don’t buy it? Make it better

We’re working to figure out what people really think. If you ever read our stuff and don’t believe the results, you could be right — maybe we aren’t hearing from enough people with different views.

If that’s what you think, help us get closer by joining and weighing in yourself, and ask your friends and family to do it too. The more people participate, the better the results will be.


(This still is for the cover photo. It doesn’t do gifs…)

Make Idaho Better

Using surveys, public results and analysis, and stories to make Idaho voices heard and make a difference. Helping leaders find better solutions with innovative and affordable community engagement and market research.

Cameron Crow

Written by

medium.com/cam-crow

Make Idaho Better

Using surveys, public results and analysis, and stories to make Idaho voices heard and make a difference. Helping leaders find better solutions with innovative and affordable community engagement and market research.

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