Knowledge Equity Research – United States

Knowledge Equity Research – United States

Key Insights

  • Minority groups have a lower perception of Wikipedia and feel less represented on the platform.
  • Black and Hispanic people, in particular, are less likely to use Wikipedia, both as a reader or editor.
  • The language used in biographies often perpetuate stereotypes about race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Research Overview


  • 28 May – 7 June 2021
  • 1,000 people of color
  • 500 people who identify as white
  • 15 min survey

Content Analysis

  • 23,491 US-only biographies on English Wikipedia (only)
  • Across set of pre-agreed topic areas
  • Key measures analyzed (e.g. length)
  • Language analysis

Content Insights

  • At a total level, there are low numbers of Asian and Hispanic biographies.
  • Keep in mind, this data is observing English Wikipedia and that Hispanics in the U.S. may prefer to create Hispanic biographies in Spanish.
  • There are clear differences in the type of language used in biographies across genders, ethnicities, and sexual identities, perpetuating stereotypes and biases.

Language Bias

Words with highest relative use for each group compared to other group(s)

Perception Insights

  • There are significant differences between communities in how represented they feel and how they perceive Wikipedia’s values around diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Black, Hispanic, and Asian women have lower percentages of feeling represented within Wikipedia biographies and amongst the community of editors

Usage Insights

  • In general, the more aware each group is of Wikipedia, the more likely they are to use it.
  • The Black and Hispanic communities have particularly low awareness and usage while the Asian community are both highly aware and heavy users.
  • White women, however, have a low usage despite higher levels of awareness.

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cycle of knowledge inequity 4