According to the results of the first State of Food Blogging Survey, your friendly neighborhood food blogger can be described as “a married woman in her 30s or 40s living in the United States. While she is either a parent or perhaps on the way to being so, she is likely to be employed full time, part time, or working in her own business. She most likely comes to the food blogging world with some relevant food, marketing, or writing background.”

The survey, conducted in February by Foodista and International Food Blogger Conference organizer Zephyr Adventures and loosely modeled on a similar annual survey organized by blog search engine Technorati, asked 694 food bloggers 30 questions about themselves, their blogs and what makes them tick.

While the survey itself is somewhat self-selecting — rather than a completely randomized sample of food bloggers, it was completed by those who heard about the survey via Foodista, Twitter or other means — the results nonetheless provide an interesting snapshot of the people who write the blogs you read when you need a place to eat or a dish to cook.

Perhaps the most surprising statistic from the survey results is that the overwhelming majority of the food bloggers who responded (nearly 85%) are women. Not nearly as surprising, perhaps, is the generation gap: similar to the results of Technorati's State of the Blogosphere 2011, the majority of the respondents fall between the ages of 25 and 44, with most (40%) between 25 and 34 years old.

Also (sadly) not surprising is the survey's finding that a full three-quarters of the respondents don't earn any income from their blog, and about 20% make less than $200 a month. Only 1% of the bloggers make “anything close to an annual salary.”

Given that money is not that reason why the vast majority of bloggers spend their hard earned time laboring over meticulous reviews of new restaurants, or hours in Photoshop retouching photos of last night's dinner, other, intangible motivations must come into play. Indeed, 88% of the respondents blog simply because “food is my passion,” though ego and ambition also are factors: almost half also maintain their blogs “to make a name for myself in the food world.” Forty-four percent do so because they love to write. Regardless of motivation, nearly 85% of respondents consider “personal satisfaction” to be a marker of success. Or, as Foodista and Zephyr Adventures put it, “Ultimately, a successful food blog is one that makes a blogger happy.”

The full report is available via Foodista and Zephyr Adventures here. For food bloggers who are part of that 1% earning a living wage from food blogging, or with jobs that pay decent salaries, registration for the next International Food Blogger Conference this August in Portland is now open. The cost is $350 to attend.

LA Weekly