Does anyone else really dislike those country or birth-year drop-down list on websites?


I've heard anecdotally from database admins that way too many people were born in 1900 and come from Afghanistan.

Does anyone know a public dataset that shows some sort of artificial distribution due to the user interface? (It doesn't need to be Afghanistan and 1900, that's just a fun example.)

UPDATE: Like @Joe mentioned, I'd also be interested in a demographic dataset that is skewed because of spiders/bots AND the random crap in text fields.

  • 1
    It might not just be lazy people -- web spiders might do this, too ... and I get the ones w/ random crap in the text input fields.
    – Joe
    Jun 10, 2014 at 21:42
  • @Joe that would be interesting too. Is anything public?
    – philshem
    Jun 10, 2014 at 22:36
  • sorry, the place I work requires us to destroy our logs after 60 days or so.
    – Joe
    Jun 11, 2014 at 11:58
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    Again, not demographic, but I remember hearings stories about how galazy zoo had to start randomizing the order that the selections were each session, as users had a bias towards seleting the middle options when they weren't sure. It's possible that if that was written up somewhere in a professional journal, that same journal might have studies of the type you're looking for.
    – Joe
    Jun 19, 2014 at 16:32

2 Answers 2


Not a user-interface problem, but a related consequence: in Blue states watch more porn than red states, bad data collection led to the conclusion that Kansas consumes more porn (from pornhub.com) than any other state.

Further review revealed that the IP geolocation service defaults to Kansas when it can't locate an IP address, skewing the data.


The UN publishes an annual Statistical Yearbook which contains tables on each country with demographics broken down by age group. This is as close as I know of population diversity per birth year for the countries in the world.

You can find the downloadable tables for 2012 edition (latest) at:


Table 8 has population broken down into 5 year ranges.

I have some of the 2011 and 2012 yearbook tables converted to our linked CSV format (disclaimer: co-founder of OpenGeoCode.Org). They are at:


  • 2
    I'm looking for self-identified demographic info (for example, from website forms). But these UN links will be useful to compare.
    – philshem
    Jun 10, 2014 at 12:59

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