The demographics of today’s college student continues to change each year. As student demographics change so does Phi Delta Theta and its desire to understand the makeup of its undergraduate members. Each generation brings different characteristics and cultures, and the Fraternity is committed to adapting in order to provide the greatest possible value proposition to today’s students. It is the Fraternity’s desire to create a culture of recruitment and retention that leads to diverse chapters filled with high-performing and purpose-driven members.
In 2015, Phi Delta Theta conducted its first demographic survey, asking undergraduate members questions in categories such as: race/ethnicity, religion, politics, family and socioeconomic background, sexual identity, and education. The results were published in that summer’s edition of The Scroll.
In early 2019, the Fraternity launched its second demographic survey with minor changes to a few of the questions. The information collected gave Phi Delta Theta ample data to proceed with an accurate report. It also gave us a new round of data to help us understand how the demographics have changed since 2015.
The initial section of this article reviews the overall results of each of the questions presented. The second section shows how the demographics change within different regions of North America. Finally, the third section lays out how Phi Delta Theta plans to use this information in its strategies, programs, and operations.
Section 1: Overall Survey Results
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Section 2: Regional Differences
Survey takers were asked to identify the region in which they attend college.
- Midwest (IL, IN, IA, MI, MN, NE, ND, SD, WI)
- Northeast (CT, MA, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA)
- South Central (AR, KS, MO, OK, TX)
- Southeast (AL, FL, GA, MS, SC, TN)
- Southwest (AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT)
- Mid-Atlantic (DC, KY, MD, NC, VA, WV)
- Northwest (ID, MT, OR, WA)
- Canada (All Provinces)
We then compared the data from each region to the overall average to see how they differ from one another. What follows is a breakdown of each region’s data points that were three percentage points or more from the overall average. We did not have a large enough pool from Canadian Phis to accurately report differences from the overall average.
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Section 3: How Phi Delta Theta Plans To Use This Information
Phi Delta Theta plans to administer the demographic survey every two years moving forward. Having data points over multiple years is allowing the Fraternity to establish categorical trend lines within its own membership and compare them to those using the overall collegiate population and the campus populations where Phi Delta Theta exists.
The demographic data will also allow Phi Delta Theta to make better decisions when allocating resources, training those who work with the Fraternity’s students, and planning its educational touch points. As an example, Phi Delta Theta is exploring strategies that will allocate resources to help attract first generation students to our chapters.
The survey’s data is most beneficial for the recruitment of new members. Phi Delta Theta now knows more about the students it is attracting as well as those populations that are underrepresented. This information is very beneficial as Phi Delta Theta teaches recruitment tactics and allocates marketing resources to build demand for the Fraternity. A goal within the growth strategic initiative of Phi Delt 2030 is to create a culture of recruitment and retention that leads to diverse chapters filled with high-performing and purpose-driven members. Simply put, Phi Delta Theta wants the makeup of its chapters to mirror the makeups of the campuses where those chapters exist.