This year's EA Survey is now ready to be shared! This is a survey of all EAs to learn about the movement and how it can improve. The data collected in the survey is used to help EA groups improve and grow EA. Data is also used to populate the map of EAs, create new EA meetup groups, and create EA Profiles and the EA Donation Registry.

If you are an EA or otherwise familiar with the community, we hope you will take it using this link. All results will be anonymised and made publicly available to members of the EA community. As an added bonus, one random survey taker will be selected to win a $250 donation to their favorite charity.

Take the EA Survey

Please share the survey with others who might be interested using this link rather than the one above:

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For reference, here are the results from last year's survey, along with Peter's analysis of them. This includes a link to a Github repository including the raw data, with names and email addresses removed.

Notable findings included:

  • The top three sources people in our sample first heard about EA from were LessWrong, friends, or Giving What We Can. LessWrong, GiveWell, and personal contact were cited as the top three reasons people continued to get more involved in EA. (Keep in mind that EAs in our sample might not mean all EAs overall, as discussed in .)
  • 66.9% of the EAs in our sample were from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, but we have EAs in many countries. You can see the public location responses visualized on the Map of EAs!
  • The Bay Area had the most EAs in our sample, followed by London and then Oxford. New York and Washington DC have surprisingly many EAs and may have flown under the radar.
  • The EAs in our sample in total donated over $5.23 million in 2013. The median donation size was $450 in 2013 donations.
  • 238 EAs in our sample donated 1% of their income or more, and 84 EAs in our sample give 10% of their income. You can see the past and planned donations that people have chosen to made public on the EA Donation Registry.
  • The top three charities donated to by EAs in our sample were GiveWell's three picks for 2013 ­­ AMF, SCI, and GiveDirectly. MIRI was the fourth largest donation target, followed by unrestricted donations to GiveWell.
  • Poverty was the most popular cause among EAs in our sample, followed by metacharity and then rationality.
  • 33.1% of EAs in our sample were either vegan or vegetarian.
  • 34.1% of EAs in our sample who indicated a career indicated that they were aiming to earn to give.


1 Based on my current impressions of changing and growing cause selections within effective altruism, here are some other causes I believe it would've been useful to include this year, and perhaps can be added to next year's survey.

  • Animal welfare (industrial farming)
  • Animal welfare (other)
  • Existential risks (biosecurity/biotechnology)

2 Based on my current impressions of the growing number of major effective altruism organizations, here are some other organizations I believe it would've been useful to include this year as sources for first hearing about effective altruism, and perhaps can be added to next year's survey.

  • Charity Science
  • Center For Applied Rationality
  • Effective Altruism Foundation (formerly GBS Schweiz)
  • The Gates Foundation
  • Peter Singer's online Coursera course
  • University or college course

3 Based on my current impressions of the growing number of major effective altruism organizations, and also their recommended charities, I expect it would make sense to include in the list of charities asked if donated to this year, and perhaps can be included next year:

  • The full list of Givewell's recommended and standout charities
  • The full list of ACE's recommended and standout charities
  • The full list of TLYCS's and GWWC's recommended charities
  • Charity Science
  • The Effective Altruism Foundation and its affiliate organizations
  • The Centre for Effective Altruism and its affiliate organizations

Really, of all the lists which don't have enough options this year, this one is the most lacking. Note: there has been rapid change to the effective altruism community as of late, with an unusually rapid expansion in the number of organizations recognized as effective in 2015 than in prior years. Thus, I consider it understandable the team running the EA Survey this year hasn't been able to keep up pace with the growing and full list of organizations favored by the broader effective altruism community.

4 For education levels, between "High school (and lower)" and "Undergraduate degree", I'd include "2-year college/Associate's degree" as another option.

5 For the question "What broad career are you planning to follow?", I believe it would've been useful to include the following options in this year's survey, and perhaps can be added to next year's survey:

  • social entrepreneurship
  • advocacy
  • policy work

That's all. Otherwise, assume anything else I didn't comment on is free or any errors or conspicuous omissions (I could notice). Great work!

I've always thought that "if I were to give, I should maximize the effectiveness of that giving" but I did not give much nor consider myself an EA. I had a slight tinge of "not sure if EA is a thing I should advocate or adopt." I had the impression that my set of beliefs probably didn't cross over with EAs and I needed to learn more about where those gaps were and why they existed.

Recently through Robert Wiblin's facebook have encountered more interesting arguments and content in EA. I had no concrete beliefs about EA, only vague impressions (not having had much time to research it in depth in the past). I had developed an impression that EA was about people maximizing giving to a self-sacrificial degree that I found uncomfortable. I also have repeatedly bounced off the animal activism - I have a hard time separating my pleasure of eating meat from my understanding of the ethical arguments. (So, I figured I would be considered a lawful evil person to the average EA).

However, now having read a few more things even just today, I feel like these are misplaced perceptions of the movement. Reading the 2014 summary, posted in a comment here from Tog, makes me think that:

  • EAs give in a pattern similar to what I would give. However, I personally favor the ex-risk and teaching rationality stuff probably a bit higher than the mean.

  • EAs give about as much as I'd be willing to give before I run into egoist problems (where it becomes painful in a stupid way I need to work to correct). So 10% seems very reasonable to me. For whatever reason, I had thought that "EA" meant "works to give most of what they earn and live a spartan life." I think this comes from not knowing any EAs and instead reading 80,000 hours and other resources not completely processing the message correctly. Probably some selective reading going on and I need to review how that happened.

  • The "donate to one charity" argument is so much easier for me to plan around.

Overall I should have read the 2014 results much sooner and it helped me realize that my perspective is probably a lot closer to the average LWer than I had thought. This makes me feel like taking further steps to learn more about EA and make concrete plans to give some specific amount from an EA perspective is a thing I should do. Which is weird, because I could have done all of that anyway, but was letting myself bounce off of the un-pleasurable conclusions of giving up meat eating or giving a large portion of my income away. Neither of which I have to do in the short term to both give effectively or participate in the EA community. Derp.

How about promoting in Main? Was promoted last year IIRC. I think the overlap of the communities can justify this. Disclosure: I'm biased as an aspiring effective altruist.

I'd also like to see the results on LW this year!

Is there a deadline for when the survey will close?

Yep - we were thinking Dec 31st, but we've now decided to make it Jan 31st as some student EA groups have said they'd like to share it in their newsletters after students return from the holidays.

Maybe this should be posted in Discussion? That way more people will see it.