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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 17)

Good point, Lora, but not necessarily. We have no idea what was on that "long roll of parchment". Why should we assume it's only a simple list of names? It could be a foot of parchment (a "page") about each of the incoming students. At 40 students, that would be a parchment 40 feet long. Just because McGonagall reads only the names doesn't mean that was all that was on the parchment.

But you also bring up a good point that I'm not sure we've covered here or not. If the sorting of each student takes an average of a half a minute, for 40 students (the 280 students theory), that would take 20 minutes. I minute per student would be 40 minutes. Somewhere in there is what I think all of us invision the sorting ceremony taking to complete.

BUT! If there were 142 students (the 1000 students theory), at a half a minute per student, the sorting would take 71 minutes (an hour and 11 minutes), and at a minute per student each, the sorting would last 142 minutes (2 hours and 22 minutes!) That's a long time waiting around for the feast to begin!

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on February 6, 2009 07:02 AM

I'd say there are about 700 Students at Hogwarts. If they were sorted in equity that would mean just about 25 students per house and year.

We know for a fact there are other schools (Hogwarts is just the best in GB), smaller than Hogwarts (In Ireland Queen Maeve used to teach magic long before Hogwarts was built, have a look at her card). Also, some students are sent abroad, and others have private tutors. Some muggleborn just choose not to come.

The fact there aren't that many students in Harrys year is simple enough, these are student whose parents were teenager during the 70's (Voldemort's first rise) not many of them thought they'd have a future and many were ed. If I'm right there should be more students in the upperclassmen, because those are born in the late 60's or early 70's. There should be more students as well in the Younger years because AFTER october 1981 there was a "wizarding babyboom" exatly like after WW2, and these baby boomer are now of ge to go to Hogwarts.

The fact muggleborns are coming back may help too.

If you arent convinced then just think about this Sirius's Vault Number is 713 which implies there are a great many Magical famillies (some of the are private and not to the family but if I took a wild guess I'd say ther are or at least used to be 400-500 magical families). Say there are in average 2 children "an heir and a spare", you can easily reach 1000 kids. Considering Hogwart's size it is obvious there used to be a lot more students, there are many unused broom closets and empty classrooms; It is Ludicrous to think there was only one teacher per subject okay they are wizard but they won't use repeatedly time turners they gotta sleep at some point.

When Hogwarts was first founded is is obvious the founders all specialized in one or two branches of magic. Gryffindor in Transfiguration, Ravenclaw in Charms, Hufflepuff in Herbology and Slythrein in Potions, and Probably the Dark Arts. At First the casttle was of a Modest size and then as more students came new wings and floors were added. It like toilets and plumbing they were added well after the Meval era.

Back to the topic the number of Students has greatly changed during history, but it should be around 700 in the 90's. As for the sorting ceremony not all students may not have been sorted the same day in past times.

Posted by Geoffrey Laforge from Paris, France on February 19, 2009 09:49 AM

Whilst the maths of 280 students makes sense, (that's what I came to myself), there may be other boys' dormitories containing five other Gryffindor boys in the same year as Harry-the characters just aren't mentioned. Rowling gives many references as to the sheer size of the castle, how it has 142 staircases in the Philosopher's stone and implies a great number of students. During one of Harry's Quidditch matches, she says that whilst Gryffindor, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students are cheering for Gryffindor to defeat Slytherin, the 200 Slytherin's in Green and Silver were making themselves heard behind the Slytherin goalposts, Professor Snape prominent among them, thus suggesting that Hogwarts has 800 students. Of course, the houses may contain completely different numbers. There are bound to be differing numbers of students with the qualities asked for by the four founders each year, and therefore different numbers in each house. But then, if there are so many people in each house, how can they all fit into the common room? We must accept that as JK Rowling invented Harry Potter and whilst we all enjoy reading it and imagining it, it does not physically exist, and Rowling therefore has the luxury of making these comments without worrying about the logistics.

Posted by Ben Peacock from London on April 16, 2009 11:32 PM

You are all using information from the movie, whether you know it or not! If Jo said that there were around 1,000 kids, there that's correct! The movie producers couldn't USE 1,000 kids, that's WAY too many! So that's that.

Posted by Ginny Granger on April 19, 2009 4:22 PM

There are lots of times throughout the books and interviews when J.K. Rowling's math and timelines are off. There is a Quidditch scene in the book where it seems as though there 200 Slytherins and 600 others-she mentions 3/4 of the school sporting Gryffindor colors and 200 supporting Slytherin. But she also mentions on the door of the boys dorm only five names, for year 2. I agree, I think the math is wrong.

Next time you read the books, look at the timelines. Some of them seem really off. Like, if Hagrid really has been Gamekeeper since he was expelled in his third year, he is a little more than fifty, yet Mrs. Weasley discusses a different gamekeeper from when she was at school...

Posted by hp buff from maryland on May 19, 2009 6:00 PM

Well think about it, when Harry was 1 years old, there was a huge Dark Lord ing and ing families. So it would make sense that in the few years going upto, and for quite a few years after, there would be a low birth rate. Why? Because families were ed, so that means less children, also you'd have to wait for people to leave Hogwarts to get married and have kids, so another 1-5 years or so.

So yes, it makes sense that during Harrys tenure at Hogwarts, there be lower amount of students due to Voldemort ing alot of people. ALSO families who are dark may send their kids to other schools such as Durmstrang.

And the room sizes? I mean come on, use your head. A magic castle.. surely the rooms could always expand or detract depending on how many kids there are at the time!? Same as the dorm rooms?

I think that there are about 5k wizards/witches in Britain in total. Think about it, lets say 1k of them are kids of various ages, or maybe even upto 2k. Then you had a few hundred eaters at the most, about the same amount of Aurors, or even less since a small OOTP of about 30 people did alot of damage.

So work this out

Children: 1-2k
DE's - 100-200ish
Aurors - 100-200ish
Other adults - 1-2k

That there is about 3-5k.. right?

DONT forget vampires/werewolves who seperate themselves! And you're forgetting those who may be home-schooled! Or those without kids!

Many possibilities, but during this time at Hogwarts, id say there were no more than 300 students there, due to the previous war with Voldemort! Think, it ended when Harry was one, so basically when the first years after him (Ginny) was born. Those older would have been suffering through the first war as kids, their parents and people their parents age being ed.

Those a few years younger would be suffering too cause it takes at least a year to have a child, 9 months jsut for birth, and you have to actually GET pregnant etc..

(Dont forget the Weasleys and their ability to have loooooads of kids though, who says some other families are not the same, even if it's not actually shown much?!)

Posted by Dave from England on May 31, 2009 1:47 PM

In poa pg 225 "Behind the slytherin goalposts however two hundred people were wearing green." if there are 200 students at hogwarts there must be 200 in every house with gryffindor as an exception cause you're not likely to find many daring and brave, are you? and there are probably more students in hufflepuff. so that makes it somewhere near 800.
if we take 200 each in ravenclaw and slytherin, 250 in hufflepuff 70 in gryffindor a few extras here and there can be added as 50. which makes it 770. round off 800 but that's still 200 short of j.k's thousand!

Posted by Apoorva from india on June 10, 2009 04:18 AM

In the HP games, Harry's dormitory consists of 5 beds for his year, which would make 5 boys (Harry, Ron, Neville, Dean, Seamus.) If this would apply to everyone in Hogwarts by year, there would be 350 students at Hogwarts. I think that's the number. See, if the room of 5 beds were true, there would be 10 students for each grade in each house.:) It kinda doesn't seem right, but, what do I know?:)

Posted by Matt from US on June 26, 2009 7:24 PM

Matt, 10 students per year in each house makes sense. That would mean about 70 students per house, but there are four houses, not five, so the total number of students would be around 280, not 350.

Posted by Anonymous from Arizona on June 27, 2009 11:19 AM

I don't think you can compare the movie cast amounts/numbers of actors to the book, nor evenly divide students (hey maybe one year there are more Slytherins, etc.)Also, evenly dividing the students would suggest that they have already been sorted; that their characters are predetermined. Or, say if Harry had said-'sure, I'll go to Slytherin' does this mean that another student would have been selected to Gryfinddor that maybe didn't belong? You could go on and on about that one, couldn't you. Also, can you imagine Rowling trying to write about every student in the school? In any book involving large areas (schools, factory, etc.) does an author bring in everyone or just the characters that lend to the plot. I Think the point is getting missed here, so I am thinking if she says 1000-hey, let her run with it. Also, for sake of arguing, in the Order of the Phoenix, Harry or another character at one point tells Seamus if he doesn't like the room-he can move-move where if there is only one dorm room? So... Also, LOL, if you do want to bring up the numbers in the movie-how do you you explain what looks like 'a cast of 1000' watching the Quidditch games?

Posted by Sandie from Sarasota, FL on June 27, 2009 5:17 PM

How can there be 1000 students? There is only 1 teacher for each subject (a fact proven by the christmas feast) and only so many hours in a day even for wizards.. Lets say there are 7 periods in a day and you have transfiguration every 3rd day with 2 houses. That leaves room for mabye two 'sets' of 10 from each house making 20 (a good class size that is implied in the books). Doing the class every day. that makes 20 kids in a year and even being generous thats no more than 600 in the school. I personally think it would have been metioned if there was more than 5 boys in Harrys year, I mean yeah you can miss people but not people who sleep in the room ext door 4 7 years.. Also Harry, Ron and Hermionie always have the same core classes, something that would be impossible in a school with 1000 kids.... I personally think Jo didnt expect it to be analysed to this extent when she came up with the number.

Posted by ellie on June 30, 2009 4:40 PM

i agree with you, how could there be 1000 when ( as it says in the 2nd book) there are only 5 boys in gryffindor, in Harry's year! 1000? i don't think so!
and to answer your question, there are no other wizarding schools in the united kingdom (of course in the rest of europe there is durmstrang and beuxbatons), so any other witches or wizards are schooled by their parents (as its says in book no. 7)

Posted by Bridget from sydney on June 30, 2009 8:13 PM

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