WHO READS MOTHER ANYWAY ?
There's little need to tell you (after all, you are reading
MOTHER!) that a great many people today are [a] interested
in living more self-sufficient and self-reliant lives and
[b] concerned about modern society's continuing rape of the
THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS®, as you know, was expressly
founded to search out and publicize ways [1) in which all
we "little guys" can take control of our individual lives
back into our own hands while  exploring energy,
construction, gardening, recycling, and other ideas that
will allow everyone to live more lightly on the earth.
And as you may or may not also know, a considerable number
of what we think are the finest people who ever lived
(youse guys out there who read this sheet!) have thrown in
with us on this search. MOTHER NO. 47 (this very issue),
for instance, had a press run of 550,000. And since (unlike
most other magazines) we don't print 'em unless we already
know where they're going (it saves a lot of trees that way)
. . . and since we know that approximately 4.8 people read
every copy of MOTHER that does get printed ... this means
that 2,640,000 of you good folks "out there" have now
bitten off at least a small corner of the quest we embarked
upon eight years ago.
But what kind of folks have you crawled into bed with
anyhow? Sure, you know why you read a publication with the
crazy name of THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS' ... but what about the
other 2,639,999? Are they all "little old ladies in tennis
shoes"? Unwashed "dropouts"? Anti-this or anti-that nuts of
some kind? What sort of people read THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS'
Well, we've been asking ourselves that same question. So we
recently had Don Bowdren Associates, a research
organization that specializes in such work, to conduct a
survey for us. We figured that we'd be able to do a much
better job of editing this magazine for you . . . if we
knew exactly who you are. (After all, the things that
vitally interest 20-year-old university students don't
necessarily interest 35-year-old back-to-the-landers or
We found the results of that survey to be very interesting.
Because-no matter what the "dig we must, nuclear power is
inevitable, business as usual" vested interests may
claim-today's environmentalists (or at least MOTHER's share
of the growing crowd) are definitely not the unwashed,
unschooled, emotional, starry-eyed idealists who "would
rather save wildlife than jobs and don't understand the
real needs of our society anyway".
Quite the contrary. A scientific sampling of MOTHER's
audience (that's you!) shows you to be overwhelmingly well
schooled, well cultured, and levelheaded "backbones of your
community". And, although you most certainly do have a
genuine appreciation for many of the material goods that
our society offers . . . you also have the adult judgment
and maturity to forgo some of those same material goods
when you can see that such action is in the better interest
of the planet and unborn generations to come.
TO BE MORE SPECIFIC:
MOTHER's readers are 52% male, 48% female, and have a
median age of 32.6. You're 59% college educated, 18% of you
have done postgraduate work, and you have a median income
of $18,000 a year. Only 5.1 % of you live in households
which had total pre-tax 1976 incomes of less than $5,000
... whereas a full 9.4% of you reside in households that
had total pre-tax 1976. incomes of $35,000 or more. (So
much for the quaint myth about the typical MOTHER reader
who lives in the woods and eats only berries.)
Some of you (4.9%) farm for a living, some of you (2.3%)
are students, some of you (13.7%) are craftsmen or -women,
some of you (9.7%) manage things, some of you (5.8%)
operate machines and work as unskilled laborers, and some
of you (3.7%) work in sales. Some of you do a lot of other
things. But the almost unbelievable fact about the
occupations of MOTHER's readers is that an incredible 35.9%
of you are professional, semi-professional, or technical
people ranging from chiropractors to college presidents to
musicians to surgeons to lawyers to dental technicians to
athletes to librarians to architects to physicists. In
general, you're a pretty clever bunch of individuals!
And you're just as clever around the house as you are on
the job. A full 86.7% of you spend an hour or more every
week (some, as much as 35 hours or more) working on home
improvements and repair projects. Arts and crafts also
engage 79.3% of you an hour or more every week and a
whopping 88.7% of you spend at least some time each week
furthering your education. You sew (58.9%), knit or crochet
(41.9%), do needlework (41.5%), do macrame (30.6%), quilt
(21.1%), make candies (18%), make rugs (15.6%), do ceramics
(14.8%), make jewelry (11.4%), and work leather (10.9%).
You personally change the oil in your vehicles (79%),
change the oil filter (77.5%), do minor tuneups (70.6%),
and handle your own car or truck suspension modifications
An impressive 92.7% of MOTHER's subscribing households are
concerned by the presence of chemical additives andlor
preservatives in their food. And, not surprisingly, 86.3%
prefer "organically" grown foodstuffs. Which probably is
why 82.5% of you grow part of the food you eat, 86.2% of
you preserve some part of what you eat yourselves by
freezing, 62.5% of you preserve part of your food yourself
by canning, 21.8% by drying, 15.7% in a root cellar, and
8.4% of MOTHER's readers preserve at least some of the food
they eat by smoking it themselves.
TV viewing may be up substantially across the country .. .
but not for MOTHER's readers. In fact, 6.7% of you say that
you don't watch television at all, another 9% watch less
than an hour a week, 42.8% watch only one to seven hours a
week, 29.6% watch eight to 15 hours, 8.8% 15 to 25 hours,
only 1.8% watch 26 to 35 hours, and just 1.3% watch over 35
hours of TV a week.
Maybe that's because you read so much: 78.6% of you
purchased three or more (some, 50 or more) hard-cover books
during the past 12 months and 87.7% of you bought three or
more (again, some as many as 50 or more) paperbacks during
the same period.
Or maybe it's because you make a lot of your own
entertainment: 26.5% of you play the guitar, 25.8% the
piano, 12.8% the harmonica, 10.5% the organ, 10.2% the
recorder, 5.2% the clarinet, 2.9% the trumpet, 1.9% the
violin, and 16.5% some other musical instrument. Your
tastes, by the way, run to rock (44%), country (44%),
popular (39.2%), classical (33%), and other (31.4%) music.
Then again, maybe you don't watch much television because
you're too busy with your outdoor and sporting activities:
48.1 % of you hike, 41.3% camp, 40.1 % swim, 39% bicycle,
35.7% fish, 27% boat or canoe, 19.2% hunt, 17.1% play
tennis, 15.3% bowl, 13.8% ski, and 8.6% play golf.
Despite all these activities and despite the fact that you
certainly have the money for travel, you're real
homebodies: Only 23.3% of you hold valid passports and you
don't actually travel a great deal or move around as much
as you're "supposed" to in our modern mobile society. A
goodly percentage of you (76.4%) own your own home or
grounds and that property ranges in value from less than
$10,000 (4.5%) all the way up to $100,000 or more (6.3%).
The median value of your home and grounds, by the way, is
$39,600 and 14.6% of you live on a farm or ranch, 21.3% on
a rural homestead, 20.7% in the suburbs, 21.7% in a town or
village, and 22.2% in a city. A total of 45.7% of you own
one acre or more and 14% own 25 acres or more.
You own sewing machines (83.2%), blenders (79.8%), clothes
washers (77.3%), clothes dryers (67.1 %), freezers (52.5%),
chain saws (45.8%), dishwashers (39.2%), tillers (29.2%),
wood stoves (28.5%), juice extractors (17.4%), farm
tractors (13.3%), garden tractors (12.3%), and grain or
flour mills (10.2%). A few of you even have food
dehydrators (4.9%), cider presses (4.5%), and solar cookers
(0.7%). It's interesting, too, that 17.1 % of you have
added wood-burning stoves to your houses during the past
year, 1.3% have added solar panels, and 1.2% have installed
Despite the fact that 93.6% of you MOTHER readers say that
environmental impact and gas consumption will be
considerations in the purchase of your next vehicle
you-like most folks living in today's society-are locked
into perhaps a greater dependency on the automobile than
you'd like: only 4.9% of you own no car at all, 32.2% have
one, 41 % two, 14.1 % three, and 7.8% four or more. This is
in addition to the fact that 40.4% of you own a pickup
truck, 10.8% a van, and 7% a 4-wheel-drive utility vehicle.
And even though you consume a lot of "organic" and "health"
foods, you do drink alcoholic beverages too: domestic beer
(63.8%), domestic wine (60.2%), imported wine (27.9%),
vodka (24.6%), bourbon (24.1 %), scotch (20.9%), rum
(17.7%), and so on. It should be noted, however, that 19.6%
of you do not drink at all.
Your favorite MOTHER features, in descending order, are
Energy Flashes, Country Lore, News From Mother, Bits and
Pieces, Dear Mother, Economic Outlook, Newsworthies,
Bootstrap Businesses, Swaps, Mother's Calendar, Profiles,
Successful Swaps, Last Laugh, Positions and Situations, and
Access. As a result of reading this magazine, 62.8% of you
are considering alternative sources of energy, 52% have
started or improved an organic garden, 50.7% have tried
recipes printed in MOTHER, 34.8% have investigated low-cost
construction ideas, 33.3% have tried a new art or craft,
and 30.9% have supported recycling programs.
In short: You're a well-educated, well-em. ployed, active,
intelligent, mature, trustworthy bunch of people who aren't
afraid to stand up and be counted when it comes to "odd"
things like alternative sources of energy, organic
gardening, and recycling. We're mighty pleased to know you
a little better and we're just awfully danged proud that
you read THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS.