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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 20)

This is something that has been giving me headaches as well. For my own sake I have made up my mind that there are roughly around 300 students at Hogwarts because I think it is logical. But Rowling is not quite sure herself exactly how many students there are at Hogwarts. She is not very good with numbers, as she has said several times. And there are many contradictions in the books, not only about the number of students (she is only human after all).

Posted by Anna from Sweden on June 14, 2010 05:46 AM

I have been wondering this same thing for a few days. As I was re-reading the series, I noticed that in Prisoner of Azkaban, Rowling mentions that there are 200 people rooting for Slytherin in the slyther-Gryffindor Quidditch match. I did the same math you have, with the same reasoning, and have come up with the same numbers. So, thank you for writing this.

Posted by Missy on June 15, 2010 12:39 PM

Who's to say that every year has the same number of people? Or that every year the ratio of boys to girls is 1:1? Or that each house gets the same number of kids in an even ratio of boys and girls? Just because Harry's year worked out to 5 boys and 5 girls for each House doesn't mean every year works out that perfectly.

Posted by Ana on July 3, 2010 12:47 AM

to Harry Potter from Hogwarts how did you get that 3k wizards in britain? based on 100k at the world cup there is t least 50k at best 1000 k

Posted by Groffrey from Paris, France on July 6, 2010 3:38 PM

I always assumed it was one of two things:

First, it could be that there are multiple dormitories, and the books never paid much attention to them because they weren't important to the story.

Second, it could be possible that 3 of the houses are small, and the Hufflepuff is very large. After all, in the 5th book, the Sorting Hat sings about how sorting got started, and apparently 3 of the houses (Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Gryffindor) were all very selective. Helga Hufflepuff, on the other hand, decided to "teach the lot and treat them just the same."

So maybe all the pure-blood students (of whom there are very few) go to Slytherin, all the super intelligent students (of whom there really aren't very many) go to Ravenclaw, and all the super courageous and adventurous students (above average, anyway) go to Gryffindor. And then there's Hufflepuff for all the average students.

Just a thought.

Posted by Tyler Jarvis from Abilene, TX on July 8, 2010 8:14 PM

if you think about it in the forth book there are two other schools so by that how many other schools are there?

Posted by Ryan from Newcastle,NSW on July 14, 2010 01:13 AM

This conversation has been going on for a couple of years now it seems, and yet it's still polarized. It probably always be, since it's all based on the fact that the Potterverse is, well, fictional.
But I have my opinion nonetheless.
So we want to take in the guesses and make a hypothesis, and this is mine:
Harry's year, and the years before and after his (let's say +3/-3) are relatively small in number. The reasons for this are myriad, but my own thought is to look at when these kids were born - right in the Vol- sorry, You-Know-Who years. Torture, , pain, terror, havoc, chaos...not always that romantic. Sure, people do the best they can, but with all the horror and , I'm thinking that not as many babies were born (or, perhaps, survived...) around that time, making the Hogwarts admissions for those year-groups a little thin. Years before and after could have certainly been larger.
You could also venture forth that Rowling was a little ambiguous about the word student. After all, aren't we all still learning? Even the teachers? We are all, basically, students. But let's leave that alone, that's a little TOO fuzzy.
Then there are the ghosts. There are many of them, only a few of which we actually meet. Some of them d as students. Do they technically remain students, albeit ones that do not attend class with our characters? Or perhaps do they do so, invisibly? Or even have classes of their own in some hidden away dark area of the castle...
But....ehhh, I'm reaching on that, too.
It's population contraction and explosion, in my opinion. Sometimes there's more, sometimes there's less.
I'll bet the Hogwarts attendance in, oh, 2008 would be higher, with all those celebratory babies coming of schooling age...

Posted by Simplicity from Norwalk, Iowa on August 5, 2010 8:06 PM

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's stone, JK writes that 20 broomsticks were laid out for Harry's first flying lesson, with Slytherin. That works with the theory that there are 10 students per house per year:) but why would 280 kids have to live in a massive castles with 7 floors + towers?

Posted by Annelies on August 11, 2010 11:38 AM

Another question is the number of teachers. We often here teachers talking about their classes for years harry isn't in and there is only one DADA teacher. If this is so there should be less than 20 classrooms. So why the big castle?

Posted by jojo from MA on August 13, 2010 8:49 PM

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