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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 7)

I believe that there is not an equal number of students in each house or in each year. For example there might be 30 7th year students and only 10 1st years.

Posted by andrewpeti from London, England on January 1, 2008 2:49 PM

Once again, nice article. Like you, I had a hard time dealing with the number Jo announced (a thousand), while my guessings were about one or two hundreds. I just can't imagine Hagrid coping with a magical creatures lesson, with more than sixty students in front of him (Slyth+Gryf, or Huffl+Rav).

And if it was so, why don't we never hear about the other ones? And if there were two hundred Gryffindors, finding good Quidditch players would be much easier.

Another point: the Sorting Hat ceremony seems to even the four houses. So, I don't think there are much more students in Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw (and if it was so, there would have better results in the houses contests).

Jo seems to contradict herself: to emphasize on Harry and his best friends and ennemies, she needs a small amount of students. But on the other side, she wants to impress us with crowds, like in the tri-wizard tournament or quidditch games. And clearly, if there were only thirty wizards a year, then wizarding community would be from three to five thousand in England, not enough to run a ministry and do all the tasks that are required. And they would have been much more vulnerable to Voldemort. So, she needs more wizards. The problem is, that for some reasons, she decided that only one school would take place in England.

There are other enygmas:

Ireland has a quidditch national team. We must then consider that there are wizards in Ireland. Where do they learn?

There seems to be very few good quidditch players at Hogwarts and few of them get to play in professional teams (from what we know, only Wood get to play there, noone among the Weasleys, nor Harry, for instance). Where do professional teams get their players. Why isn't there any scout at major quidditch games?

Posted by herve from strasbourg on January 2, 2008 04:33 AM

Herve, Harry's classmate, Seamus, was from Ireland. I think the Irish attend Hogwarts, too.

Posted by Alice from Milton on January 4, 2008 06:55 AM

In my mind the count of 1000 makes a lot of sense because when I think of counting how many people there are in Hogwarts or at least making a random guest I would first probably think of seeing or imagining the Great Hall. And when I think of the Great Hall I see all the different houses and all the students. Plus one of the students may not be in the Great hall at the time. But thinking of then how many students are in each house is 1000/4= 250 and that sounds just about right for the Gryffindor house common room. It really evens everything out in my mind. Thanks for the GREAT article!

Posted by Roanne from California on January 4, 2008 2:35 PM

If you ask me, the movie is untrustworthy. You know they do not show exactly the amount of sentences and lessons, scenes, etc. Believe books, not movies.

Posted by Hassan Saaidh from Male Maldives on January 5, 2008 07:51 AM

well, you have a point, I can't deny that.
but in Swedish "Harry Potter and the Philosophers stone" it says that "double-potions" is two lessons of the same lesson, a double lesson! if you see what I mean?

Posted by eleonor from sweden on January 6, 2008 10:44 AM

I thnik it should also be noted that we have seen things can grow in size ie(perkins tent). So the great hal could easily fit 1000 people in it,I think JK is right, in the interviews she gets questions but I think she doesnt make the awnsers up, theplanning she must have for this ifyou study english writting the first thingyou do is a plan you plan each character,setting, almost everything....Maybe she just didnt want tointroduce characters that don't serve a purpose,I know she did this a bit in last book with people ing...Also if there was only 280 students then there would of surely been a small amount staying for the battle of hogwarts..but i got the impression a load more stayed than just a small few?

Posted by Colum Roche from Kilkenny, Ireland on January 6, 2008 12:11 PM

Dave: another math problem.

All along the year, houses get bonus or malus points. At the end, the best house is rewarded (in which seems to be a traditional contest). Quidditch games provide positive points, as well as answering correctly to teachers during lessons. From time to time, points are taken off, but - except in the case of Snape facing Harry - losing points seems pretty unusual.

When teachers give points, they do it by bunch of 5 or 10 points at a time. Those are rarely mentioned, but when they are, they seem to be related to nice answers, not outstanding ones. Therefore, it looks like every lesson or so is an opportunity to get positive five or ten points.

At the end of the year, every house should then get a strong amount of points, at least several thousands. This is even more accurate if there are 250 students in each house, 250 opportunities everyday to earn points.

But at the end of PS, all houses are under 500. How is it possible?

It looks like, since all the action is focused on Harry and his mates, only them can earn points for their houses. But the fact is all seven years do contribute to the total, which must move much faster.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on January 7, 2008 06:25 AM might just be because of around where i live, but i think 1000 is a good number. Im in middle school right now, and there are about 1200 kids at my school, 6th-8th grade, with about 400 kids per year. I severely doubt a large school could stay in session with so little students(oxymoron my bad). After all someone has to pay for the costs of running a school, like textbooks potions ingrents, teacher salaries, etc. Its not mentioned, but if you have room& board at school im pretty sure there is some sort of tuition

Also, herve, in your points argument your forgot that there are also lots of points lost every day as well, especially if you factor in snape.and the prefects docking points too

Posted by din-din from california on January 7, 2008 8:35 PM


I don't think the prefects can easily take away points, because if they could, it would be much too easy getting your house ahead, sacking the other ones. Snape clearly docks points from Gryffindor, mainly because of Harry, but I don't think other teachers do the same trick.

Besides that, when Harry (and Ron)'s behavior leads to a 150 points penalty, Gryffindor community gets really shaked. In real world, facing 200-more angry Gryffindors (including 16- to 18 years old teenagers) would be really unbearable for eleven years old children like Harry and Ron. Things would be much different if Gryffindors students only were 50 to 60, including six Quidditch teammates eager to protect Harry (and particularly Fred and George who seem to be popular).

On the same side, imagine Harry being the main topic for as much as 250 Gryffindor students meeting him daily in the common room, as he's the chosen one.

Then, imagine Hagrid coping with magical creatures and more than 70 students from Gryffindor and Slytherin during lessons. How would that be possible?

And last, the odds would be very low having four Weasley brothers out of six becoming prefects, if there only were two prefects chosen out of 35 fifth year students for each house. It would be much easier if there were two prefects out of eight or ten students.

Of course, I accept the idea of 1000 students, since Jo put it so, but it just doesn't fit with the way it's written.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on January 10, 2008 06:43 AM

I belive that JK's calculation is correct, after all it is she who created the whole aspect of Hogwarts, it is just a book you don't have to get all technical about it. I would like to ask where in the books does it say that students are spread out evenly througout houses and year levels?
You don't know? Thats because it doesn't.
I do agree that Hagrid would not be able to teach 70 students but that is because he does not have to, not all students take care of magical creatures, it was an option just like muggle stus or divination.
I am entering year 8 and know for a fact that their are aproxamenly 400 students at my school but, I have probably only seen about 150 of them, just like in JK's books their would be lots of students we don't even know exist.
Movies don't always agree with books, there are bugets and only a certian time a movie can run for befor geting boring. Can you imagine having to pay 1000 people to play extras for a movie that runs around 2 hours... it is just stupid and would be too expensive.
Also there may be fewer students in Harry's year than other years, there may be 35 in his year and 70 in a year above him, if you think about it that way it can all work out.
please think about it and stop being so technical!

Posted by Hannah from Victoria, Australia on January 10, 2008 4:50 PM

i had also previously done the math and also found that there were about 200-300 students only..

but it seemed a bit odd just to have a school as huge as hogwarts just for 280 students..

so probably j.k is right to say there are 1000 students and she just couldn't fit them all in her books.. just imagine.. in harry's dormitory j.k has described the five people present in it.. if (using dave's calculations) there were 18 people, imagine how much trouble j.k have describing them all.. i mean it is necessary to describe those people and harry..

Posted by double do from singapore on January 12, 2008 02:22 AM

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