The results of my straw poll are in. Obviously they are not representative, but by and large they are the answers of some of the self-described libertarians who read this blog, and a few cheaters (here’s looking at you, Mr Rob). Approximately 105 people contributed, though a few of those answered some questions and not others. So – what did they say?
Are we rich bastards?
Mostly, no. 59% of respondents have never earned more than £38,000 in a single year, therefore putting them outside of the ‘rich people’ tax bands.
Of those, 29% report that they have never earned more than £13,000 in a single year, although this is probably due to age – these will likely be younger libertarians who are still in education of some sort and have not yet worked in a full-time position. And 23% say their maximum per-annum earnings fall somewhere between £13,000 and £23,000.
So libertarians as surveyed here are mostly not rich. However. £23,000 is roughly the median annual income in Britain – and 70% of us have indeed earned more than that amount in a year.
The actual breakdown is as follows (gross income):
more than £38,000 in a year – 43 (41%)
between £23,000 – £38,000 in a year – 30 (29%)
less than £13,000 in a year – 18 (17%)
between £13,000 – £23,000 – 14 (13%)
Do we live off the sweat of others?
Not really. 56% of libertarian respondents work in full-time jobs (35 hours per week or more). A further 10% support themselves with part-time jobs.
Full-time students who don’t work are well-represented – 12% – as are a surprising number of people who are unemployed or between jobs (11%).
Only 3 respondents live from accumulated wealth.
The actual breakdown is as follows (working for a living):
more than 35 hours per week – 46 (44%)
about 35 hours per week – 12 (12%)
not at all, full-time student – 12 (12%)
not at all, unemployed/between jobs – 11 (11%)
less than 35 hours per week – 10 (10%)
not at all, retired – 6 (6%)
not at all, accumulated wealth – 3 (3%)
part-time with other support – 3 (3%)
not at all, maternity – 1 (1%)
Are we drooling rubes?
Definitely not. Despite frequent claims that educated people are left-wing (and that left-wing people are educated), 70% of libertarians surveyed have a university-level education, almost half of whom have some kind of post-graduate degree or qualification.
The actual breakdown is as follows (education level reached):
bachelor’s degree or equivalent – 41 (39%)
post-graduate degree or qualification – 33 (31%)
A-level – 22 (21%)
GCSE – 5 (5%)
still in school – 4 (4%)
no formal education – 1 (1%)
What this presents to me is a general picture of libertarians as hard-working, middle-class types. No surprise there, at least to me, as that basically replicates what I know of libertarians I’ve met in person.
But ‘all right, Jack’? Well, yes. We tend to be all right. But we work for it. And although I can’t speak for everyone, my own feeling is that this is the way it should be. Being all right should require hard work, and hard work should make you all right. So fair dues to us.
Anybody want to draw other conclusions?