OLLI at UCI 2015 – “Who Are We” Survey Results

Who Are We?                                                                                                  

The following report presents the results of the most recent demographic survey of our OLLI membership as of the 2015 spring semester.

We currently have over 700 members. This is the same as in the previous survey that was taken in the 2004-2005 academic year. The ratio of females to males is 73% to 27%. The average age of our members is 74 years. The age breakdown is as follows: 2% are 50 to 59, 26% are 60 to 69, 50% are 70 to 79 and 22% are 80 or older. The oldest member (when the data was collected) is 98 years.

Thirty-two percent of the membership live in Irvine followed by Newport Beach at 14%, Huntington Beach at 7%, Mission Viejo at 6%, Santa Ana at 5%, Laguna Beach and Tustin at 4% with the rest scattered throughout Orange County. Fifty-six percent of our members live with a spouse, 37% live alone and 7% either live with a friend or in a retirement community.

The level of academic achievement in our membership is very impressive with 8% of the members having attained a doctoral degree, 11% a professional degree, 39% a master’s degree and 32% a bachelor’s degree. All but six members indicate that they have an email account. While 74% of the members speak one language, 19% are bi-lingual, 5% are tri-lingual and 2% speak at least four languages!

Eighty-seven percent of us report that we are retired while 10% work part time and 3% work full time. Thirty-five percent of our careers were in a for-profit organization, 33% in education, 11% in health care, 8% for the government and 6% with a non-profit group; the other 7% were not specified.

Our members tend to keep coming back as 60% of the members have been with us for at least three years. Thirteen percent of us have been with us for at least ten years, 21% for six to ten years, 26% for three to five years, 21% for one to two years and 19% for less than a year. Seventy-three percent of us enroll for classes on line while 20% enroll by phone and 3% enroll by mail. In the past four semesters, 49% of the members have taken twelve or more classes, 26% have taken seven to eleven classes and 25% have taken one to six classes.

Our curricular areas of interest include Social Sciences at 21%, Humanities at 20%, the Arts at 18%, Science at 15%, Technology at 11% and Economics at 9%. Fifty-nine percent of the members volunteer at organizations other than OLLI while 28% do not and 13% do occasionally. When the members were asked whether they would be interested in attending OLLI social events, there was a fifty-fifty split.

That’s who we are — a mentally and (mostly) physically active group of senior citizens who choose to focus time and energy in extending our knowledge and building social connections with like-minded individuals in a rich learning culture. We are a leader among the 120+ Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes in the USA in offering a wide variety of academically challenging courses.

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