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Geocaching Ethnic Makeup Worldwide


Kipkay & Mindles
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Coming back to the topic.

 

I have met quite a few cachers in the UK and have only met ones who appear to be caucasian in appearance.

 

However I have a female friend who does come caching with me occassionally (thinks we are all mad) who is Black and Ugandan.

 

Not sure what the pc terms are these days but she is not offended by black so I will use that. :

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great new sig line, mopar. now who's beating it?

the dead horse, i mean.

 

p.s. guess you didn't listen to the other wise old indian talking about walking in another man's moccasins.

No dead horse, and no moccasins. I guess my attempt at subtle was a total failure, so I will be more blunt this time.

 

What the heck does skin color got to do with geocaching? Please, this is the 21st century. I hope by now we know that humans are humans, no matter what skin color.

Is Geocaching predominantly a caucasian sport/hobby?

The answer has nothing to do with skin color or geocaching. The answer has more to do with income level and education. It has nothing to do with a certain color skin being more predisposed to geocaching then another.

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great new sig line, mopar.  now who's beating it? 

the dead horse, i mean.

 

p.s. guess you didn't listen to the other wise old indian talking about walking in another man's moccasins.

No dead horse, and no moccasins. I guess my attempt at subtle was a total failure, so I will be more blunt this time.

 

What the heck does skin color got to do with geocaching? Please, this is the 21st century. I hope by now we know that humans are humans, no matter what skin color.

Is Geocaching predominantly a caucasian sport/hobby?

The answer has nothing to do with skin color or geocaching. The answer has more to do with income level and education. It has nothing to do with a certain color skin being more predisposed to geocaching then another.

I think they (the O.P.) were just asking out of curiosity, not some agenda... I too, for curiosity and nothing else, would be interested...

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I think they (the O.P.) were just asking out of curiosity, not some agenda... I too, for curiosity and nothing else, would be interested...

I didn't say there was an agenda. I guess I find is a bit racist. I guess it's my outlook on things. I don't meet someone and think "he seems like a friendly African American", or "she's a cute Asian", or "he's pretty smart for a Native American". They are a friendly guy, a pretty girl, and an intelligent fella.

 

I'm sure there is a predominance of caucasian cachers, but it doesn't have anything to do with skin color. It has to do with the fact that caching is most popular in countries that the population has the most disposable income and free time. Those places have predominately caucasian populations. You could go on for another 20 pages about WHY those factors exist, but that's got nothing to do with caching.

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great new sig line, mopar.  now who's beating it? 

the dead horse, i mean.

 

p.s. guess you didn't listen to the other wise old indian talking about walking in another man's moccasins.

No dead horse, and no moccasins. I guess my attempt at subtle was a total failure, so I will be more blunt this time.

 

What the heck does skin color got to do with geocaching? Please, this is the 21st century. I hope by now we know that humans are humans, no matter what skin color.

Is Geocaching predominantly a caucasian sport/hobby?

The answer has nothing to do with skin color or geocaching. The answer has more to do with income level and education. It has nothing to do with a certain color skin being more predisposed to geocaching then another.

Well from what I saw in this post it would seem like it matters to some.

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Well from what I saw in this post it would seem like it matters to some.

We've been contacted by a writer from Black Enterprise Magazine. She asked if Groundspeak could help them identify an African American geocaching couple for an interview about geocaching.

 

And obviously Black Enterprise Magazine DOES have an agenda, huh? No problem with having an agenda, if you're up front about it.

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I didn't say there was an agenda. I guess I find is a bit racist. I guess it's my outlook on things. I don't meet someone and think "he seems like a friendly African American", or "she's a cute Asian", or "he's pretty smart for a Native American". They are a friendly guy, a pretty girl, and an intelligent fella.

So true. When I met you, I didn't think to myself "now there's an opinionated white jerk," but rather "now there's an opinionated jerk." :D

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For the moment geocaching is a Western Civilization thing. It's world wide but the countries that enjoy it are mostly the Industrialized Nations of "Western Originions"

 

If the far east industrial powers like Japan, pick it up (and I don't know they haven't) in a big way then it's an Industrial Nation thing.

 

The big hole in my idea is French speaking areas. I'm not sure why France doesn't have caches like the rest of Western Europe. Maybe they will catch up.

 

Does Europe have the equivilent of Western Civilisation in their high school studies?

 

Edit: At the individual level it's a mainstream thing. Not quite a yuppie thing but I just don't see gang bangers getting the caching bug. So there is a cultural element but it would take some digging to find the key elements that went into it.

 

Of the people I know into caching, most are mainstream, not all are white, most do ok in the world of money, they may not be well off but they are in no danger of starting. Their hobbies vary from techno geek to hunters as has already been pointed out, but toss in housewife, sales rep, disk jokey and people who are neither techno oriented, or ourdoor buffs. There is a wide appeal.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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I didn't say there was an agenda. I guess I find is a bit racist. I guess it's my outlook on things. I don't meet someone and think "he seems like a friendly African American", or "she's a cute Asian", or "he's pretty smart for a Native American". They are a friendly guy, a pretty girl, and an intelligent fella.

So true. When I met you, I didn't think to myself "now there's an opinionated white jerk," but rather "now there's an opinionated jerk." B)

:D

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The big hole in my idea is French speaking areas.  I'm not sure why France doesn't have caches like the rest of Western Europe. 

I too find the France thing interesting. If we're talking ethnicity (e.g. Icelandic) and not race ( e.g. caucasian), I'd suspect Germans are the tops. Germany is the most populous wealthy country in Europe and there are over 7000 caches there. I'd suppose most have been hidden by persons who are of German ethnicity, though there obviosuly are other ethnicities living in Germany (e.g. Turkish). The USA is problematic because of the lack, agruably, of a singular American ethnicity (African-Am, Irish-Am, Jewish-Am, Italian-Am, Cuban-Am, and so forth).

This stuff is much like the things I do in my job, so now I'm itching to discover wealth per capita vs. cache density per capita for certain countries. The Dutch seem to hide a lot.

Edited by cacheKidds
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I'm sure there is a predominance of caucasian cachers, but it doesn't have anything to do with skin color. It has to do with the fact that caching is most popular in countries that the population has the most disposable income and free time. Those places have predominately caucasian populations. You could go on for another 20 pages about WHY those factors exist, but that's got nothing to do with caching.

I don't believe that the cause of the cultural sorting we witness in our sport can be explained away so easily. If one is afraid of discussing the visible differences in different parts of our culture, that is understandable, but lets not just decount the thread without a bit more thought.

 

Japan certainly is tech savy and has disposable income, but has fewer than 200 caches listed. Kawait has 2. Compare those to the UK with over 4000.

 

I think we are dealing with a wide range of issues, of which language, culture, and even sub-culture without a larger culture play a significant part. I have little doubt that there is a link between geocaching and being a technogeek/outdoors person. There is also surely a link between geocaching and disposable time and money.

 

I think speaking English probably makes the sport more accessable. A culture that values time outdoors vs. time on a basketball court or at a theatrical production may play a role.

 

So, I too am currious if there really is a racial bias in our sport, especially if that racial bias is not accounted for simply by economics.

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A few comments:

 

I too believe that Geocachers are predominately caucasian. There are several non-caucasian Cachers out there.

 

Like Mopar, I wonder if it really matters. It doesn't matter much to me. Having said that, I need to say something else- humans are quick to classify and categorize.

 

Removing the "PC" filters for a moment let me say that Tracy and I sometimes realize that we are black when in a totally white area Geocaching- especially when someone gives you that what-are-you-doing-around-here look. BTW, we have never had a problem with anyone, but are still aware of where we are and how people are acting.

 

One last comment- publications like Black Enterprise exist to address issues that some mainstream publications either won't or can't.

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I appreciate your comments Team Tecmage and am sorry you have experienced that. One of the things I love about geocaching is that we have met and become friends with many people of varying ages; from our children's ages to our parent's ages. I wish there was more race diversity. What made me think about this entire thread was a meeting I had yesterday with our ministry team at our church. Our church is unique in Pinellas County, Florida in that our ethnic make up (ok white/black) is approximately 60/40. Unheard of in churches in our area and we strive to break down those barriers. We also have hispanics, asians and other ethnic representation and will continue to welcome everyone.

 

Mindles mentioned that the reason Japan may not be in to it as much as other countries is because of their work ethic. They work hard and many hours a day and may think it is wasting time. Not sure. Any of Japanese decent want to comment on that observation?

Edited by Kipkay & Mindles
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Not of Japanese descent ... but some good caching friends of ours have just returned from a holiday to Japan to visit a relative. They met with a couple of Japanese cachers, and asked a very similar question - the response was that the website makes it very difficult to display japanese characters (kanji?), which is discouraging many from really getting into the game.

 

Maybe GS should look at improving how the website manages non-English characters and languages?

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Most of the folks in my house are a pleasant brown color and speak Spanish, but I don't think it is relevant to the sport. As Mopar said, it has to do with free time and disposable income.

I don't think the question here is whether skin color matters. I've never seen any hint that it does to anyone in these forums. The question is whether the sport is exclusive due to cultural factors that reduce the accessability to non-white, or non-English speaking cultures/subcultures. Or, is the racial bias simply due to a lack of interest in this type of activity by some groups of people (like my wife :D ).

 

I think the answer to both questions is probably yes. A good example is posted above regarding the inability of the current geocaching lists to readily display Japanese/Chinese characters. There has also been discussion in other threads regarding content that may be offensive to some cultures while not to the dominant culture.

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Oh My God, this is why I never asked the question, which I have often wanted to - because, um, I'm a mixed minority (Black and Caucasian) and I am always fascinated by such things.

 

Why am I fascinated? Because it's human nature, and because I have had the advantage (and at times distinct disadvantage) of experiencing two different cultures. Both have their plusses and minuses, believe me.

 

So, for my two cents, I will chime in that I have only met one asian cacher and one "mixed" cacher - that I could identify as such, anyway.

 

Mopar, I think this is a very good, and non-offensive question. EVERYONE has stereotypes embedded in their psyches, and if you think you don't, you're kidding yourself. And, if I may be stereotypical for a moment, it has been MY experience that Blacks, as a whole (yes, this is a broad and sweeping generalization!), are not avid hikers. This is no different than the lack of African Americans in the NHL. You can chalk it up to whatever you like - "Black people don't like the cold," "Black people can't afford hockey equipment," "Hockey is not offered as an athletic option in 'Black' neighborhoods," etc, and there'd be a kernal of truth, and a kernal of racism, in every opinion.

 

So, if African Americans, for whatever reason, don't gravitate towards hiking and rock climbing and etc, they will probably be somewhat absent from geocaching.

 

So, I hope I didn't offend anyone. But as a half-Black, tattooed and pierced LIBRARIAN, where very few are Black, tattooed, or pierced, I just don't have time to read racism into every question. Especially a good question like this!

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Although we may view ourselves as the middle of the pack, I wouldn't hesitate to say that on a worldwide basis, anyone that can afford to part with $100+ bucks for a toy, and that has the free time to play with a multi-billion dollar satellite system for leisure, is affluent. I think the socio-economic status of caches would be considered "affluent members of industrialized nations, predominantly those that speak romance languages and especially English." I can't image "race" having the slightest thing to do with it.

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ValleyRat is three-quarters Third generation Irish American/one-quarter Native American. I don't know how to do the math on that.

TillyMouse is First generation German American

 

Try our new almost-finished website here.

 

BTW, we're a complementary website to geocaching.com -- I always compliment the way it's run, and . . .

 

We don't compete with anybody.

Edited by ValleyRat & TillyMouse
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Affluent, or unemployed....

 

I cached without a GPS until I could afford one. I was unfortunately unemployed for the first year of geocaching, give or take, and now woefully underemployed (who told me this was a good profession!?). But, free time, I have!

 

"affluent members of industrialized nations, predominantly those that speak romance languages and especially English." I can't image "race" having the slightest thing to do with it.

 

Should I read sarcasm here? Because if you don't see affluence tied to race, you're not living in the sme country I am. But that's for another thread.... :D

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Although we may view ourselves as the middle of the pack, I wouldn't hesitate to say that on a worldwide basis, anyone that can afford to part with $100+ bucks for a toy, and that has the free time to play with a multi-billion dollar satellite system for leisure, is affluent. I think the socio-economic status of caches would be considered "affluent members of industrialized nations, predominantly those that speak romance languages and especially English." I can't image "race" having the slightest thing to do with it.

I agree. I think the discriminating factor is primarily economic and then cultural. (some cultures just probably frown upon "breaking the system" by hiding stuff in the park.

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Should I read sarcasm here? Because if you don't see affluence tied to race, you're not living in the same country I am. But that's for another thread.... :D

I don't want to derail the thread. I'm not saying that affluence isn't tied to race. Clearly in our culture it is. My point was only that I believe that some amount of disposable income and leisure time are a better predictor of cachers than race per se. My sense is that black urban professional is more likely to cache than a white Appalachian teenager. I may very well be wrong.

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The Romance langauge thing I find most interesting given the relative dearth of caches in such countries. It is fascinating that the Swedes, Finns, and Norwegians hide many more caches than do the Spaniards, French, and Italians--despite few lower numbers in terms of total population. Even the Hungarians have hidden more than France and they are not as affluent. Of course Swedish, Danish, Dutch, German, Norwegian, and especially English (not Finnish and Hungarian) are Germanic languages. The Estonians seem to be doing a lot as well.

Edited by cacheKidds
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The Romance langauge thing I find most interesting given the relative dearth of caches in such countries. It is fascinating that the Swedes, Finns, and Norwegians hide many more caches than do the Spaniards, French, and Italians--despite few lower numbers in terms of total population. Even the Hungarians have hidden more than France and they are not as affluent. Of course Swedish, Danish, Dutch, German, Norwegian, and especially English (not Finnish and Hungarian) are Germanic languages. The Estonians seem to be doing a lot as well.

Romance was clearly a bad choice. Maybe Indo-European? Does that include Slavic? I think I'll shut up now.

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...Romance was clearly a bad choice. Maybe Indo-European? Does that include Slavic? I think I'll shut up now.

The Estonians have their own geoaching website. So does Hungary.

 

The langage thing may be a valid or may not.

 

The Romance Languages, French, Italian, Spanish etc. vs. Germanic ones like German, English, Dutch etc. Some of the romance language countries don't have a lot of caches compaired to others. Maybe it just takes time to cross a larger language divide than a smaller one. (Englich to German being smaller than English to French) I don't have the answer but it's interesting to look at.

 

Someone pointed out the Kanji issue for the Asian countries.

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Maybe Indo-European?  Does that include Slavic?  I think I'll shut up now.

No need to shut up Sputnik! :D

And yes (Balto)-Slavic langauges are Indo-European--so are Germanic, Romance, Greek and a few other in Europe. But the Indo part of Indo-european has stuff like the languages of Pakistan, Iran, Tajikstan, Afghanistan, and most of India. The Tajiks probably aren't that into caching.

Edited by cacheKidds
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The big hole in my idea is French speaking areas.  I'm not sure why France doesn't have caches like the rest of Western Europe. 

I too find the France thing interesting. If we're talking ethnicity (e.g. Icelandic) and not race ( e.g. caucasian), I'd suspect Germans are the tops. Germany is the most populous wealthy country in Europe and there are over 7000 caches there.

Probably the UK outweighs Germany in that there are roughly the same number of caches for 25% fewer people. Although there again, there are far fewer caches in the former East Germany.

 

Let's face it, to go caching you need a GPS, and it's not on anybody's list of top ten much-have household items as long as you don't have a washing machine, reliable car, cellphone, etc.

 

The question of caches and cachers in France is becoming a FAQ. As a long-time resident of France (although not French), I would say it's a combination of any or all of the following:

 

- France has historically been a bit behind the UK, Germany, Benelux, and Scandinavia in Internet takeup

- GC.com is in English and many French people don't [think they] have a good enough level of English (I make a point of listing all my French-based caches in French first and English second, but half the caches in France have no French listing)

- France has their own game (www.cistes.net), whose originator freely admits that he ripped off the Geocaching idea and adapted it to make a GPS-less version. The clues are puzzles which frequently require a high level of French language and cultural knowledge. There are over 3000 "Cistes" in France, which is still less than the cache density of Germany, but it dwarfs the 500 or so geocaches.

- And finally, some unidentified cultural difference between "Northern" and "Southern" European attitudes (there aren't a bazillion caches in Spain or Italy either); the exact frontier where this takes place is unclear.

 

Many years ago I "identified" (or perhaps the voices in my head did it) five such North/South frontiers in Europe:

- The Protestant/Catholic "frontier" (quite clearly marked by the Rhine delta in the Netherlands, for example)

- The Dutch/Belgian border (same language either side but big mentality differences; these are perhaps slightly less now than 25 years ago, I think)

- The Flemish(=Dutch)/French language border in Belgium (you can cut paper on this one)

- The Belgian-French national border; again, same language either side, but in some respects, different planets

- The North/South of France "border", traditionally placed by the French themselves at the river Loire.

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I appreciate your comments Team Tecmage and am sorry you have experienced that. One of the things I love about geocaching is that we have met and become friends with many people of varying ages; from our children's ages to our parent's ages. I wish there was more race diversity. What made me think about this entire thread was a meeting I had yesterday with our ministry team at our church. Our church is unique in Pinellas County, Florida in that our ethnic make up (ok white/black) is approximately 60/40. Unheard of in churches in our area and we strive to break down those barriers. We also have hispanics, asians and other ethnic representation and will continue to welcome everyone.

 

Mindles mentioned that the reason Japan may not be in to it as much as other countries is because of their work ethic. They work hard and many hours a day and may think it is wasting time. Not sure. Any of Japanese decent want to comment on that observation?

Thanks, but the apology is not needed- that's the way life is sometimes.

 

Tracy, Solana and I have taken some of our relatives caching, but not many friends. we need to change that. :D

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Two words: propinquity and police. If there aren't many caches around, you tend to lose interest (assuming you ever started in the first place) . And

explaining geocaching to a cop might well be a good bit less comfortable for a Hispanic or Black. I expect being arrested for Caching While Black is an entire possibility.

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Oh My God, this is why I never asked the question, which I have often wanted to - because, um, I'm a mixed minority (Black and Caucasian) and I am always fascinated by such things.

 

Why am I fascinated? Because it's human nature, and because I have had the advantage (and at times distinct disadvantage) of experiencing two different cultures. Both have their plusses and minuses, believe me....

Really well said, CL. I am fascinated by these questions too--not because of my own ethnicity, but because I am interested in human nature.

 

Years ago, the "PC" battle cry was "we're all really the same." It later changed to "we're all really different, but we should ignore the differences." Personally, I find the differences between ethnic cultures to be interesting, I feel that we shouldn't be afraid to explore them, but race and ethnicity are such hot-button topics that it's difficult to have such discussions.

 

Clearly--and for whatever reasons--certain leisure activities seem to be associated more with some ethnic groups than with others. It is also worth considering, though, that geocaching is still fairly new. It seems to have started as a techie-yuppie kind of thing, with some crossover from more traditional outdoorsmen. Although interest is growing fast, it is probably too soon to know whether geocaching has really broad appeal, or whether it will occupy a socio-economic niche.

 

What I also find interesting is the fact that geocaching appears to appeal to both men and women. There seem to be more men involved, but clearly, many women are involved, too. How many outdoor activities have such cross-gender appeal (skiing comes to mind)?

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Even the Hungarians have hidden more than France and they are not as affluent.

Actually, it's even more than you'd think. Hungary has 500 caches on the gc.com website but Hungarians have their own website and currently it has 1118 caches. (And they play the game a bit differently, they have their own set of rules, e.g. cachers are required to find a password hidden in the cache in order to log a find.) They encourage the hiders to post their caches on gc.com as well but language is often a problem (and sometimes the different rules, too).

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Honestly I have no statistics for the general makeup of geocachers. I don't even know if I'd want to include that in a survey since I appreciate the Internet being the great equalizer when it comes to ethnicity. It's the only place where you have no way to prejudge someone based on their looks.

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