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Doing the Math: How many kids are at Hogwarts?

by David Haber

On October 16, 2000, in an interview, J.K. Rowling was asked, "How many students attend Hogwarts, and how many students per year per house?" and she replied, simply, "There are about a thousand students at Hogwarts." And because she said it, this has persisted as the proper answer accepted by most fans. But I don't see how that could be correct.

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Reader Comments: (Page 16)

ok. here are my thoughts:

2) Jk Rowling can say that there can be 5,000 kids at Hogwarts because SHE MADE THE PLACE UP
3) Personally, I think that in that interview, JK was just giving a vauge, rounded number. i think that there might be around 800 kids.
3) Maybe in the time when Harry has Holidays, Home schooled kids come and get extra tuition
4) What ever Jk number says, that is your answer.


Posted by Callum from Ravenclaw Common Room on October 29, 2008 03:47 AM

I do kind of believe that Jk was giving a vague number just as Callum has said before me, Jk has also stated that maths has never been a strong suit for her so take anything in the books that require mathematics to make clear with a pinch of salt.

Posted by Craig from Horcrux Cave on October 31, 2008 08:47 AM

erm... i think i got your answer



ok, so i agree with you on the maths thing, i tried working it out before i read this just out of curiousity. Rowling may have made it up and that, and so she gets the final say. But your calculations are founded on assumptions (that its the same ammount in each house, year, gender) and really, thinking about it, you cant divide the first years into exact quarters as being brave, cunning, smart and loyal. its not, oh we got a smart one, shame theres no room, that house would be excellent for you, ah well, you'll be with the slytherins for 7 years.

remember only 3 gryffindor girls in harrys year are named/exposed/described. there might have been LOADS in hufflepuff or ravenclaw, most probably slytherin.

same for each year. and like you said, dont take the movies as fact, they are based on the books, and if you watch them, very loosely (their description is shoddy, basically assumes you've read the books, very fast moving. these critisisms are made in light of my family who watch but dont read)i was going to say something else.

well... lets go back to my first point... It's MAGIC!

Posted by Zoe from Stevenage on November 16, 2008 07:42 AM

If there is a wizarding school, I've found it! There's a building that's falling apart in Hampstead that says "Danger! Unsafe Building! Keep Out!" Isn't that what Mr Weasley tells Ron, Hermione, and Harry in GoF Hogwarts says?

Posted by Sarah from London, UK on November 17, 2008 11:59 AM

Well, I was trying to figure out the math myself just a minute ago when I decided to google it. In my mind I figured that if there were five boys in Harry's year, it's safe to assume that that's the general number so I guessed that there would be 5 boys and 5 girls from each house for each year which would add up to 280.

But this seems to be a REALLY small number for Hogwarts, at least to me. My high school had nearly 1000 students, and it was only a small county school. So, 1000 students still seems a slightly small number to me considering our numbers still couldn't fill up our gym.

Anyway, I remembered something I had read I believe in book 5. The sorting hat said something along the lines of "Hufflepuff took the rest." It was singing about the houses and the types of students each house took. I started thinking that it must be difficult or rare to find many students to fit the criteria of Gryffindor. Perhaps that's why the number is so small. Hermione said in one of the books that the hat was thinking of sorting her into Ravenclaw, for her cleverness, but decided Gryffindor instead. So, my point here is this: maybe Gryffindor is a more "exclusive" house and therefore that's why the numbers are so small. Or maybe there just weren't many first years in Harry's class that fit the Gryffindor requirements. Anyway, like I said before the hat had said "Hufflepuff took all the rest" meaning that Hufflepuff took all the rest of the students that didn't fit into any other catagory.. Which, if you think about it, there could be a great deal of students who aren't "special enough" to fit into the houses of clever, brave or.. What's Slytherins motto? And who says all the first years had to be divided equally?

Perhaps there were just very few students who were sorted in Harry's particular year, or sorted into Gryffindor.

So, thinking in that way, then I can see J.K.'s statement of having 1000 students at Hogwarts.

If that all makes sense.

Posted by Emma on November 24, 2008 1:11 PM

i have to agree with the 280 estimate. from what i can see, families like the weasleys are an exception to the rule and most families have only one or two children. taking into account that not everyone goes to hogwarts, i can easily see only about 10 students per year per house, give or take a few. (for instance, i don't think there are any more gryffindor girls in harry's year: it's okay if he doesn't know the girls from the other houses, but he should at least know his. i know that i know all the people in my classes at school, and i'm on speaking terms with just about all of them, so he should at least have mentioned them.)

also, i picture the wizarding population as being rather small. the pure blood families remind me a lot of the aristocracy of the middle ages and the renaissance, and i can see them wanting to keep the families small so as not to have to share the fortunes. since wizards presumably don't have to worry about epidemics or in childbirth and things like that (at least, i assume that they have basic spells to take care of such things, leading me to believe that the wizarding population as a whole is probably healthier than the muggle one), then they wouldn't have to have more than one or two children. factor in the two wars and the number of wizards who d or who emigrated (that's never addressed, but i assume that at least a few families packed up and left rather than risk being ed), that makes for a very small population.

as for the size of the castle, i see it as meaning that, once upon a time, back when it was still being built, there were a lot more wizards around. or, at least, more of them having children and sending said children to hogwarts. now that there are fewer children, the castle is too big for them. we already know that they don't need to use the third floor at all in SS, after all.

Posted by anne from denver on December 16, 2008 2:45 PM

I was very intrigued by this article because it is a question that I have been wondering about for years. I have some contradicting evidence from the books that gives us no clue about the actual number of students in Hogwarts.

In the first book, Harry goes to flying lessons with Professor Hooch. The Griffindors and Slytherins were in this class together and it plainly points out that there were twenty brooms on the ground... one for each student.

Under this calculation, this means there are 10 students in each year and being as there are seven years and four houses the total number of students is 280. This number agrees with the number you have mentions.

However, Rowling contradicts this number in the third book in chapter, telling us that three-quarters of the students were rooting for Griffindor to win the cup and two hundred Slytherins were wearing green. So if two hundred students were one-quarter, there would be about two hundred students in each house making there be eight hundred students in all. Although this is closer to Rowling's claim of one thousand students... she still seems to be contradicting herself.

It seems to me however that 280 students in not a lot compared to the size of the school, which is the size of a castle... but with the amount of teachers it mentions 280 would sound more probable. However in my graduating class there were about 500 students so if an entire school only had half of that... it is very small.

Posted by Jenny from Hiram, Georgia on January 10, 2009 2:18 PM

Look. If JK told us that there was 1000 then there is. Its not like she was going to name every kid that goes there. I think that 1000 is a low number for Hogwarts. I mean really the place is huge! I'm sure they can fit plenty of kids there. The movies aren't going to hire that many extras. So you can't really go by the movies they always leave something out.(but i still love them!)
There has to be more than one wizard school aout there. In GOF JK told us about 3 and thats just in Europe. Just think there are wizards and witches all over the world soo there has to be more than 1 (plus the other 2 we know about) Thats what i think.

Posted by HP lover from NJ on January 13, 2009 1:53 PM

I think your number was right. 280 sounds good

Posted by Andrea from New York on January 17, 2009 3:11 PM

I disagree with comments on Hufflepuff, I know it says they 'take the rest' but these are lyrics from a rhyme, I don't think that this means there are more kids in Hufflepuff, just that they take the kids that don't fit with the other houses. Also Hufflepuff do have some criteria, the kids in Hufflepuff are suposedly 'loyal'.

I agree with the calculations of this article, I know JK Rowling made it up, so there can be as many or as few students as she likes, but if we do the math that makes it around 280 (mentioned at least). The numbers between houses may vary, but I don't think it's silly to assumed 40 kids arrive each year. They'd be roughly the same number of kids per year, and the school might be private? Meaning they can restrict their intake.

Also the number of people at Hogwarts doesn't necessarily reflect on the number of Wizards in England, parents can home school their kids and send them to Wizarding schools abroad (it says so in the ly Gallows, I think it was).

Oh and double potions means two periods of potions, at least judging by my experience of double maths at an English school.

Posted by Abby from NZ on January 20, 2009 12:21 AM

while reading your article all i could think of is that thanks to the 'Sorting hat' the amount of students in the house could not be equal. Maybe there are 140 in slytherin, 400 in gryffindor, 216 in Hufflepuff and only 114 in the other. that adds up to 897 peeps. not 1,000.

Posted by emma from my personal beez-wax on January 23, 2009 4:38 PM

in harry potter and the philosopher's stone page 89 it says

"Professor McGonagall now stepped forward holding a long roll of parchment."

this implies there are more than the 40 names that would be there if only 10 students per house.

Posted by lora from england on February 6, 2009 02:48 AM

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