Best demographic questions for online surveys

15 Best Demographic Questions for Surveys [Example Wording]

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Do you want examples of survey demographic questions?

Demographics are population characteristics, and, in turn, demographic questions aim to gather in-depth background information on survey participants.

We’ll outline the most critical demographic questions and why we ask them below.

Why Do We Ask Demographic Questions?

Demographic questions aim to gather specific information on survey respondents to determine what factors influence answers, habits, and opinions.

From a business perspective, the more you learn about your customer, the better you can tailor your business to suit their needs.

You can easily make your questionnaire with WPForms’ Surveys and Polls addon:

Our plugin has extra fields such as the Likert Scale, Net Promoter Score, and Star Rating. It also gives you more tools on the backend to analyze your entries, like charts and tables, to easily collect and accurately analyze your survey data.

Best Demographic Questions for Online Surveys

Here are the demographic survey questions we’ll cover from a business point of view:

Let’s jump in!

1. Age

Age demographic question

Finding out the age of the participant is key. It will give you insight into your survey participant’s knowledge and experience and clarify if they’re your target audience or not. In addition, you can also review the survey data and see if there’s a correlation between age groups and opinions.

Some people may not want to disclose their exact age, so we recommend adding age ranges, eg 45-54.

WPForms also has the option to restrict content by age and this could be particularly useful after you’ve analyzed your results.

2. Location

Location Demographic Question

Location is an essential factor in a demographic survey because it can impact a person’s life perspective. For example, if you know where the participants are from, you might be able to predict their product buying preferences.

Additionally, having locations (whether it’s the continent, country, region, or city-specific) can also indicate if there’s a new market you could expand in.

To reduce the size of your form, use WPForms’ Geolocation addon to capture a user’s location automatically and eliminate the need to ask this question.

3. Gender

Gender demographic question

As an ever-important demographic question, asking for a participant’s gender should be approached with slight caution. The concept of gender has evolved over the last few decades and although this information is valuable, phrasing the question correctly is important.

Ask it openly as we don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. Try using “What Gender Do You Identify As?” or “Do You Identify As:” and then list the options.

Finally, add a ‘Prefer not to say’ option as our last tip. We don’t want users to feel forced to answer the questions, especially potentially sensitive ones.

4. Ethnicity

Ethnicity demographic question

Asking your participant’s ethnicity will open a few doors for you. You’ll see different cultural backgrounds will show different habits, overall affecting their attitudes, opinions, and even their buying habits.

However, asking someone about their ethnicity can be sensitive and should be treated with caution. You should ask your question like ‘Please specify your ethnicity’ and the answers should be in checkboxes, allowing users to select multiple choices.

Keep in mind that the answer options will be different depending on the respondent’s location. Answers like African American and Pacific Islander are regularly seen on US demographic surveys, but in a survey aimed at another country, you may want to review and expand the options you provide.

Tip: always add a ‘Prefer not to say’ option.

5. Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation demographic question

Sexual orientation has become an essential demographic question over the last few years as it can provide important insight for consumer-focused campaigns. It’s also a staple question in health, economic, and social surveys.

The question is relatively straightforward: What’s your sexual orientation? Then, list the options and remember to add a prefer not to say option.

6. Marital Status

Marital status demographic question

Understanding who your participants interact with daily is useful and should be included in your demographic questions. It’s beneficial because a married person’s buying habits and the places they frequent will differ from a single person, for example.

7. Education

Education demographic question

Education is another important demographic factor. You’ll be able to gather what type of job they’re in and estimate income by asking them about the highest level of education they’ve completed: high school, college, university, and so on.

Furthermore, people’s beliefs and life views often differ depending on their levels of education, influencing many other things.

With this information, you can accurately target specific groups of people with specific campaigns. For example, someone who has a Master’s degree indicates that they’re an analytical thinker, so a logical promotional email (as opposed to an emotional one) will appeal more to them.

As well as including the relevant degrees and diplomas in your demographic data, ensure you also add apprenticeships/ traineeships to include those in other industries.

8. Religion

Religion demographic question

Another factor that influences a person’s values and general life decisions is religion. From this question, you can identify correlations between religion and other answers in the survey. Remember that not everyone is religious, and there should be an option to reflect that.

9. Household Composition

Household composition demographic question

Understanding who resides in the participant’s household is essential demographic information.

Why? Because if the participant has children in their house, their buying habits and values will differ from those who live by themselves.

Ultimately, those with children versus those without kids require separate marketing campaigns as they’ll have different needs.

10. Language

Language Demographic Question

Language is another essential demographic question.

Firstly, businesses care about this answer as they’ll want to speak the same language as their customers to build stronger relationships.

Secondly, and in line with various questions above, the participant’s language will also show differences in customer needs, values, and goals. From that, you can analyze the data from your survey as it could indicate if there’s a new market you could open.

11. Current Employment Status

Employment status demographic question

Learning if your survey participants are employed or not is significant for two main reasons.

Firstly, someone employed full-time will usually give different survey responses from someone currently unemployed, or employed part-time.

Secondly, if someone ticks employed, you’ll understand their buying power if you combine this information with other pieces of demographic data.

12. Hours Per Week

Hours per week demographic question

Leading on from employment, seeing how often a person works per week gives a more detailed picture of their employment status.

The answer can provide an insight into household income and, subsequently, their buying power.

Understanding work patterns can also help you give you to provide a better customer experience. For example, you might want to adapt your opening hours.

13. Annual Household Income

Household income demographic question

Household income includes the total sum of personal income, partners, and anyone else who lives in that house. It will, like employment status and hours per week, give you a better understanding of the household’s buying power.

And again, survey participants may not want to share this personal information, so be sure and add a ‘prefer not to say’ option in your market research questionnaires.

14. Political Affiliation

Political stance demographic question

There are two ways to approach this question to get the answers you need. Firstly, ask it straight: Which political party are you a member of?

Secondly, if you’re looking for a more broad answer like general political views, ask it in a more generic fashion: ‘How would you best describe your political views?’

This can help you to adjust your brand messaging and understand the priorities and preferences of your customers.

Tip: You might want to use checkboxes for this question, but sometimes it makes more sense to use radio buttons (multiple choice fields). Take a look at our article on radio buttons vs checkboxes to get some hints.

15. Voting Status

Voting Registration Demographic Question

Now that you’ve understood where your participant leans on the political spectrum, it doesn’t always mean they’re actively voting. Asking this demographic question is designed to see if someone is affiliated with local or national politics.

This question can be asked in general, ‘Are you registered to vote?’ Or, you can specify the question by adding the specific area you’re interested in: ‘Are you registered to vote in Utah?’

Demographic Survey Questions – FAQ

Still a bit puzzled by how to use demographic survey questions? We receive quite a few inquiries about them. Check out our most frequently asked questions below.

Is it better to place demographic questions at the beginning or end of a survey?

Place your demographic questions at the end of the survey. When these questions are at the end, your participants have already engaged with the rest of the survey and are less likely to skip over these questions.

Should demographic questions be optional?

Yes, demographic questions should always be optional on your surveys. Because of the often personal or sensitive nature of demographic questions, not everyone will feel comfortable responding. Making those questions optional allows participants to respond to the rest of your survey.

What are the best types of questions to use for demographic data collection?

Multiple choice questions are ideal for demographic data because they allow for more specific answers, leading to more accurate data. Always avoid yes/no or true/false questions because responses won’t be comprehensive enough to be meaningful. It’s also best to avoid open-ended questions.

How can I word my demographic questions in a sensitive manner?

The best way to ensure you’re being sensitive and respectful in your questions and response options is to look at how other industry leaders are wording similar questions. You can also review Census data to see what wording and terminology is used there.

How can I use my demographic data to recruit future survey participants?

Your demographic data will let you know which groups are underrepresented in your survey responses. This helps you to identify your targets for the next survey so that you can get more complete representation.

Next, Explore the Surveys and Polls Addon

Ready to create your effective demographic survey? Check out our demographic form template on how to get started.

With WPForms, you can also use survey fields to make your forms more effective or add a Likert scale to your WordPress form and accurately measure your survey participant’s experiences or opinions.

Or add a Net Promoter Score to your form and collect valuable customer perceptions of a specific topic.

So what are you waiting for? Get started with the most powerful WordPress forms builder. After that, quickly install the surveys and polls addon and create your simple survey form!

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