You're the Best

Survey data fascinates me.

Pollsters get to ask the kind of questions you’d never dare put to your friends or family: Do you snoop through the host’s medicine cabinet at a party? (Forty percent of guests do.) When there’s a food recall, do you search your cabinets or just assume you’re safe? (Only 60 percent check the cupboards.) Do you pick your nose while driving? (Let’s just say car-sharing is a bad idea.)

So imagine my delight a few weeks ago, when a binder full of figures related to Minnesota Monthly’s subscribers landed on my desk. What did our readers think about? How did they spend their time? Did they prefer white or wheat? Fries or onion rings? Volvos or Saabs?

Hoping to find something useful for this month’s issue, our “Best of the Cities” roundup, I sifted the information. The results proved disappointing. (Should we put cupcakes or chili on the cover? The poll was no help.) But the more I learned about our readers, the more impressed I became. You’re smart, funny, and engaged—possibly the best audience a magazine could hope for. Here, 10 things we like about you.

You’re sharp as a Ronco knife. Book-learning ain’t everything, of course, but an impressive 73 percent of our readers graduated college and 21 percent of you have a post-graduate degree. Coming soon: a MENSA membership with every renewal!

You’re loyal. Nearly 85 percent of you claimed to have read all four of the last four issues of Minnesota Monthly. An astonishing 72 percent of you spend a half-hour or more with the magazine, and 37 percent spend more than an hour.

You’ve got nice teeth. I’m happy to report that 4 of every 5 readers have visited their dentist in the past year. As for the rest of you, please don’t smile.

You’re civic-minded. Turns out our staffers aren’t the only ones who get an earful when you have an opinion. Roughly 1 in 4 of you wrote to a public official on a matter of public concern last year.

You’ll try (almost) anything once. Raw scallops, Indian dance, hot-lather shaves, house-boating on Lake Vermilion—you’ll take a chance on anything our writers tout as worth seeing, doing, or eating. In a typical year, your schedule is chockablock with such activities as attending theater (85 percent), fishing (41 percent), doing yoga (29 percent) and skiing/snowboarding (20 percent).

You’re nurturing. Nearly 90 percent of you spent some amount of time gardening last year—providing the rest of us with enough zucchini to last a lifetime.

You really like to eat. A reader from West Fargo was disappointed by our September issue touting “Top-Shelf Bars.” Where, he wondered, were all the recipes?

You look good in lace. I was shocked to discover that our pollsters asked you about your lingerie-buying habits. The only thing more astonishing? Seventy-three percent of you spent some amount of money on ladies’ undergarments in the past year. Thankfully, that correlates with the percentage of subscribers that are actually women.

You get around. Your in-state travel destinations last year included the North Shore (47 percent), Southern Minnesota (36 percent), and the Brainerd Lakes area (35 percent). Note to Gladys in Delano: Thunder Bay may be lovely, but it’s not even in the U.S., much less Minnesota.

You love Minnesota. Perhaps as much as we do.

Joel Hoekstra, Managing Editor

Joel Hoekstra writes frequently about design and architecture for Midwest Home and has contributed to a wide range of publications, including This Old House, Metropolis, ASID Icon and Architecture Minnesota. He lives in Minneapolis in a 1906 Dutch Colonial that is overdue for a full remodel—or at least a coat of fresh paint.