The Chronicle to release Class of 2023 demographics and lifestyle survey data this week

The Class of 2023 listened to President Vincent Price and others speak at their convocation ceremony earlier this semester.
The Class of 2023 listened to President Vincent Price and others speak at their convocation ceremony earlier this semester.

This week, The Chronicle will release survey data about the Class of 2023. 

For the third consecutive year, we have fielded a survey from the first-year class about their lifestyles, demographics, plans for their time at Duke and more. The results of this survey will be released throughout the coming week in a series of stories and will give a deeper look at Duke’s newest undergraduate students. 

The questions ranged from students’ religious beliefs to their interest in tenting, approximate family income and whether they intend to rush Greek life. 

The survey was administered from Sept. 28, 2019 to Oct. 23, 2019, and first-years submitted 193 complete responses, with 293 total students starting a response. The survey was distributed in the Class of 2023 official Facebook group. In total, more than 10% of the first-year class finished the survey, and some random prizes were awarded to participants. 

Professor of Statistical Science Jerry Reiter has previously told The Chronicle about the limitations of the survey. He detailed that the reasons some students may opt out of completing the questionnaire—such as a lack of enthusiasm about Duke or not having access to the survey—could skew the results. 

Since the survey has more than 30 questions and some students may not have time to complete them all, that situation would not be as likely to dramatically change the results. 

All of the data will be released Tuesday, with subsequent stories exploring interesting trends and points in the data. 

The survey included mostly identical questions from the two previous years, and the data analysis and graphical representation for the soon-to-be-released articles was done by Graphics Editor Selena Qian, Digital Strategy Director Michael Model, Staff Graphic Designer Isabella Wang and Staff Data Analyst Daria Patterson-Smith. 

Below, we compare our survey data with the official Class of 2023 profile from Office of Undergraduate Admissions to show areas where the survey responses may differ from the overall class.


The Chronicle’s survey data overrepresents the number of students from public high schools, but is very close to correctly aligning with the number of students who attended private schools. 

Whereas 41% of our respondents applied early to Duke, 49% of the actual Class of 2023 did. This indicates that The Chronicle’s data overrepresents the number of regular decision applicants compared to the actual class data. 

80% of the first-year class is in Trinity and 20% is in Pratt, but our data slightly overrepresents the number of students in Pratt—25% of our respondents are in engineering, while 75% are not.

Race and ethnicity

The survey responses overrepresent the number of Asian students, underrepresenting students who are Black/African-American, Native American and White. Meanwhile, students who are Hispanic—12% in the whole class, 11% in the survey—are underrepresented, and those who identified as another category—5% in the whole class, 6% in the survey—were slightly overrepresented.

Geographic and socioeconomic diversity

A 2016 analysis by The New York Times included data about the University’s socioeconomic diversity based on tax records. Comparing to the Times’ data, the survey showed that The Chronicle’s data overrepresents the percentage of students from the bottom 20% of family income brackets. However, there are differences in the metrics used to report the data between The Chronicle’s and the Times’ analysis.   

The survey data also underrepresents the number of international students. Although 11.5% of the Class of 2023 is composed of international students, 7% of survey respondents said they live outside the United States. 

In addition, The Chronicle’s survey lacked respondents from several Midwest and Northeast states.

Below are heat maps from official data (top) and The Chronicle's survey (bottom).

Bre Bradham

Bre is a senior political science major from South Carolina, and she is the current video editor, special projects editor and recruitment chair for The Chronicle. She is also an associate photography editor and an investigations editor. Previously, she was the editor-in-chief and local and national news department head. 

Twitter: @brebradham



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