Who Listens to Freakonomics Radio? Here Are the Survey Results

Last week we posted a survey for Freakonomics Radio listeners. Your response was fantastic — nearly 2,000 listeners — and very helpful. In return, we thought it’d be nice to share some of the data with you. As a big believer in negative feedback, I have just one regret: that we didn’t ask you to tell us what you don’t like about the podcast. Maybe next time.


Our listeners are, in a nutshell: rather male (77%); relatively young (45% are 25-35 years old, another 24% are 35-44); well-educated (38% have a graduate degree; another 43% have a bachelor’s degree); and — according to the survey data at least — pretty well-off (17% earn more than $150,000 and another 23% earn between $100,000 and $150,000; then there are the 14% who earn between $0 and $30,000, most of whom are likely students).


Here is a look at top occupations:


Here is where Freakonomics Radio listeners live — lots of international (yay!) but not a single survey response from Wyoming. What’s up with that, Wyoming!?


One thing we really wanted to know is how you feel about our “full-length” podcasts (usually 20 or 30 minutes long) versus the shorter pieces that come from our Marketplace appearances. It turns out that 56% of you prefer the longer pieces but another 35% like them both equally — while 4% prefer the shorter pieces and another 4% “hadn’t noticed” the difference.

As for consumption: 60% of you listen every week with another 23% listening at least twice a month. The most surprising — and gratifying! — result came in response to this question: “How much of each podcast do you usually listen to?” 91% of the respondents said they listen to 100% of each podcast, with another 7% listening to 75%. Granted, the sample here is plainly skewed toward people who like the podcast but I still wouldn’t have expected this result. 

I can’t say I was too surprised to see the other podcasts that Freakonomics Radio listeners follow:

I was, however, a bit surprised to learn that only 18% of you are members of a public-radio station. I guess this means that, although Freakonomics Radio is co-produced by public-radio titans WNYC and American Public Media, some quadrants of the podcast universe in fact operate in a separate orbit.

Finally, here’s a look at what you said were your favorite episodes. Thanks again to everyone for participating!


Still disappointed that there was no option "None of these other Podcasts"


Agreed. I chose one at random.


I closed the survey on the first page when the only gender options were "male" and "female". Message received.


I closed the survey when it wasn't offered in Spanish.

Oh wait, no I didn't.

Seminymous Coward

I suspect (but lack hard data proving) that an English-language podcast on a relatively academic topic is likely to have more listeners with a quirky gender than listeners who can't read English but can read Spanish.


How could "The Folly of Prediction" not make the favorite episode list?
People. I just don't understand them.


I predicted that ;)

Ben Story

I would love to see a compilation of the "other" podcasts in terms of the top ten others mentioned.


Is there a place where these transcripts of these shows pop up? As a deaf economist it would be lovely to read these "podcasts".

Seminymous Coward

The tag "Freakonomics podcast" ( http://www.freakonomics.com/tag/freakonomics-podcast/ ) contains a blog post for each. There's a sort-of button under each (in its full page form) labelled with "Audio Transcript" and a downward arrow, both in orange. Clicking it exposes a full transcript. I think sometimes, at least in the past, these get added after the post initially goes live.

Enter your name...

I hope that if they do this again, there will be a question about whether you listen to the podcast or whether you just read the transcript.


Just 18% are members of a public radio station? That's not bad, really. I wouldn't be surprised if that number is higher than overall rate at which public radio listeners are members of a public radio station.

Andrew B

Love your show, rate it #1 but I did put in a negative comment- I don't like when you repeat an episode throwing in a few new things. I am usually riding on a bike and have to get off, stop, and skip to your next broadcast since it is not worth listening to the whole thing for a few new things.
But I do love your new broadcasts.


I have posted about this in the past, but I believe more women would listen to the podcasts and read this blog if you had even one female economist listed as a contributor to freakanomics. I don't think the issues you cover are not interesting to females, but I think the fact that female economists are rarely represented on this blog reduces interest by females - or just annoys them enough not to listen.

Bigeeta Jones

Hmmm, interesting results. I wonder what the male listeners think of their female counterparts. What does listening to Freakonomics say about a woman besides that she's addicted to public radio? Also, knowing the econ stats of my fellow listeners makes me want to join their 1% club. I'm in. Mostly, I think listening to Freak says that you think deeply about a number of topics. You like well-researched radio shows with fun and quirky styles and appreciate knowledge no matter where it comes from.