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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 9)

i'd say that it would not had any problems fitting those many students in a room in hogwarts even in the common rooms, lest we forget the tent the weasley's were occupying in the quidditch world cup (GoF), looks raggety and small from the outside, but when harry went in, he was dumbfounded at the large interior. even made him say "i love magic". so i don't have a problem if JK's count of students in hogwart's would have been a thousand or dave's calculation of about 280 students. the rooms might have been magically re-sized when a lot of students were in it. the rooms would have magically resize to fit the current occupants whether it may be "double potions" or not. my two cents

Posted by mikey™ from cyberspace on January 23, 2008 10:14 PM


You have a good point, Hagrid said Hogwarts is the best wizarding school in Britain, not the only one. We don't hear about wizards from other schools, because they get minor jobs. Aurors and ministry executives come from Hogwarts. But maybe professional quidditch players do come from other schools.

Of course, if there were hundreds of teenagers at Hogwarts, Jo wouldn't find a name for each one. But she could refer to the other ones, with sentences like "twenty second year Gryffindor students" or "thirty pair of eyes turned towards Harry". She very rarely talks about other students, except for quidditch games and celebrations after the games in Gryffindor common room.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on January 24, 2008 12:31 AM

I had always thought that there had been a lot of students at Hogwarts, yet those other students aren't mentioned. Either they weren't important characters or they aren't really there.
Then in the last book (in the last few chapters) it sounds as if there were a lot of students at the school. Maybe there aren't 1000, but more than 280.

Posted by JS Steckler from USA on January 24, 2008 6:12 PM

i agree with you dave
jk rowling has confirmed that there are two more griffindor girls but they are unnamed.
also, in the fith movie, there are hundreds of wizards in the ministry, which dosn't really corespond to the amount of students at hogwarts, seeing as not everyone actually works in the ministry anyway (and are jurnelists,teachers,qudditch players, herbologists, shop omners ect.)

Posted by erin on January 24, 2008 8:08 PM

We have to be reminded though, that this story is told mostly from Harry's point of view. It is through his eyes, for example, that Slytherins are seen as evil, and through his eyes that Snape is seen as a greasy git. If it was told from another point of view, the opinions and show of people would be totally different. For instance, what if it was told from Draco's point of view, and not Harry's?

Snape would be seen as a father figure, like Molly was seen as a mother figure to Harry, and Slytherins would be seen as friends and allies rather then enemies. I think if we were told from Draco's point of view, then more people would think the same about Gryffindores they do Slytherins and the take on Wizarding world would be different.

Posted by Audrey from Boulder on January 24, 2008 9:40 PM

I think that makes sense. I live in the US, but my graduating class had about 106 students in it. That's after about 6 years of school. I think the original number was about 130 something, a few kids failed and some dropped out.

Posted by katie from potsdam on February 10, 2008 3:41 PM

I've always thought about this too. But when she said 1000 I figured can't be that many people in Hogwarts! But the math you did seems spot on. To elaberate on your comment that there have to more schools than Hogwarts, well there are, like in HP: GoF, their were those two schools who participated in the Triwizard Tournament(I'm not gonna try to spell the names of the schools because I'll just them.) When Harry, Ron, and Hermione were at the Quidditch Cup, Harry made the comment on all the wizards, and Hermione said there were schools all over the world. But in conclusion I'm glad yo wrote this article because the question was always floating in the bak of my mind everytime I read the harry potter books.

Posted by Chrsitan from Iowa on February 13, 2008 6:11 PM

When Harry is in Snapes memories during his occlumency lesson in OOTP, he sees his father taking his DADA exam in the Great Hall. There are "more than a hundred" individual desks for the students taking the exam. Presuming that DADA is compulsory for everyone and not an optional sudject, then in that year there were more than a hundred 5th years. Multiplying that by 7 - there could be anywhere between 700 and 1000 students.

Posted by Cassandra from Cornwall on February 14, 2008 05:53 AM

Ah! But, what if there are more schools than Hogwarts, but Hogwarts is where kids go for their centralized, Ministry supervised exams? What if some kids in Britain are homeschooled? Wouldn't they have to join the kids at Hogwarts for the Ministry supervised exams? That could be why there are "more than a hundred" at the exam...

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on February 14, 2008 06:47 AM

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at the quidditch final it says that 3/4 of the crowd was scarlet (for Gryffindor), but that 200 were wearing green (for Slytherin) (page 305). That puts the crowd at about 800. Some people in the crowd are probably teachers or even parents, but the vast majority are most likely students (while we don't know that all the students attended the game, most probably did). I think this would point to the number of students being around 800. Since the story is told mostly from Harry's point of view we only really hear about those that he is close to.

Posted by Beth from Illinois on February 15, 2008 7:24 PM

maybe the potions lab is really, really big. lol maybe some years have more kids in it. and it might not only be 10 gryffs in harry's year, she obviously never mentioned some. like who else could live in hermione's common room? parvati and lavender and who else? she never mentions all the gryffs in harry's year.

Posted by rica from winnipeg on February 17, 2008 6:38 PM

I think there must be more than 10 pupils in each house in each year, simply due to the way that, when james potter was at hogwarts, his friends were sirius, lupin and wormtail, only 4 of them, and so unless the 5th boy was a bit of a loner, or just didn't like them, he can't have existed, or there must have been more of them. If there were just 5 boys, the other one would also have noticed them all leaving when there was a full moon. So maybe there were more, its just in a different dormitory.

Posted by Lucy from Scotland on February 19, 2008 05:16 AM

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