The Model Alliance, a not-for-profit group which advocates for better labor standards for models, has released a stats-driven analysis of the industry's working conditions. Even though the numbers reflect some commonly known stereotypes of the modeling industry (things can get boozy backstage; under-age girls mostly work without parental supervision; agencies put lots of pressure on models to lose weight; sexual harassment is not rare), the data has a couple limitations worth considering:
1) Even through the organization invited 241 models to take a survey, only 85 responded—which is, statistically speaking, a pretty small but not insignificant sample.
2) The average age of participants was 26, which doesn't represent the industry at large. Also, since 54% of the models began working between the ages of 13 and 16, and a full 93% entered the industry by the age of 20, it's likely that the women sampled have had an atypically broad and diverse amount of experience.
I'd love to see some of these numbers compared with the participants' broader demographic segments, because even though fashion is a rarefied, sealed-off universe, it isn't a vacuum. It doesn't seem surprising to learn that 68% of models surveyed suffer from anxiety and depression, but how does that number compare to the incidents of depression similarly common among young women, in general? Only 29% of models might be covered by health insurance, but that abysmal rate exactly matches the number of all uninsured young people, both men and women, in the US. The modeling industry clearly has a ton of problems, but to change them, it makes sense to start talking about where they intersect with the problems of the world.