# How many hams in the world?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KB9ZLB, Feb 20, 2009.

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1. ### KB9ZLBHam MemberQRZ Page

This may seem a little weird, but I've been asked this question quite a few times and I can't find the answer.

Approximately how many Hams are there world wide and/or where can I find this information?

Thanks all for your time; much appreciated.

73s
Heather, KB9ZLB

2. ### K7MHHam MemberQRZ Page

Roughly 3 million. Google for articles related to it. You won't find exact numbers anywhere.

3. ### KB9ZLBHam MemberQRZ Page

Have a great day!
-Heather

The numbers get fuzzy because there are differences in what we call a ham.

Elementary school kids in China participate in 'Amateur Radio' as part of their school curriculum. They study radio theory and actually build some sophisticated receivers, which they use for 'fox hunting' which is the real purpose of the instruction. Is this ham radio? If so, there are a billion hams in China.

For years, we didn't know how to count the million + no-code hams in Japan, because under International Law they weren't really hams, either. But you'd work thousands of them on 10 meters when the band was open. License numbers in Japan have dropped in recent years so I'm not sure if they're still over a million or not.

There are also cases where we suspect the government involved considers this to be a state secret.

5. ### KB9ZLBHam MemberQRZ Page

Wow, those are very interesting points.

First let me begin by saying that I never realized that radio was part of the Chinese curriculum. That is very, very interesting indeed.

Second, I'm going to pry a bit. Why were the licensed yet no-code hams in Japan not really considered hams? Inquiring minds want to know...

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. It's greatly appreciated!

Have a wonderful Friday and thanks again!
-Heather, KB9ZLB

6. ### KD0DKIHam MemberQRZ Page

Just tell the questions askers "42" refer them to the Hitch Hikers Guide.

7. ### KL7AJHam MemberQRZ Page

It also explains why the Chinese are cleaniing our collective clocks.

Eric

8. ### G0GQKHam MemberQRZ Page

As suggested, about three million. Somebody should know the exact figure because every one is government licensed, and governments like numbers.
Not many at QRZ though because they spent most of their time on a computer keyboard. he he !

G0GQK

9. ### K7KBNHam MemberQRZ Page

Why not do a count? I'll start:

One ...

10. ### KA4DPOHam MemberQRZ Page

Two..

Are we counting Chinese hams or just counting?

11. ### K7MHHam MemberQRZ Page

...eleventy seven....

12. ### KI4SYCHam MemberQRZ Page

I'll take a nice Virginia Ham myself.

13. ### BG7JSQHam MemberQRZ Page

Very interesting indeed. I never received any radio training courses back in my school days and I don't think they are training my boy "fox hunting" at his school now. Maybe I should, as a ham operator, make such a suggestion to the principal on my next Parent Meeting.

14. ### NA0AAHam MemberQRZ Page

If you marched all the Chinese Hams 4 abreast past a given point, how long would it take to parade them all?

[In school, I remember being told that if they started marching all of the people in China past a post 8 abreast, they would never reach the end of the line because so many babies were born that the line would never end]

15. ### W6SOGuest

Heather -

There may be other sources, but the one I am quoting is the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which has a web site at: www.iaru.org.

The most recent year for which the IARU has a complete summary of data appears to be 2000, at which time they indicated a total of 2,986,772, worldwide (see: www.iaru.org/statsum00.html). If you take the IARU data and assume a constant growth trend over the past 10 years, then the current total is probably more along the lines of 3.3 million. I suspect the IARU data is incomplete, as just a quick scan of their tabulation will show some significant gaps, such as countries which are known to have amateur programs but for which no totals are shown. Nevertheless, using the data provided, it appears that the world's total amateur population is highly concentrated, with the top 10 nations accounting for over 2.6 million licensees:

1. Japan.........1,296,059
2. USA..............679,864
3. Thailand........141,241
4. RO Korea.......141,000
5. Germany.........79,666
6. Taiwan...........68,692
7. Spain.............58,700
8. UK.................58,426
10. Russia............38,000
You have raised an interesting question and I suspect there is more complete data available somewhere, but I hope this helps somewhat.

16. ### W6SOGuest

Thanks to some updated information on China's amateur population from our colleague, Paul, BD7JSQ, I can update the worldwide figures as follows:

Total number of amateur operators: approximately 3.4 million, with the top 10 nations accounting for almost 2.7 million licensees, based on IARU statistics:

1. Japan.........1,296,059
2. USA..............679,864
3. Thailand........141,241
4. RO Korea.......141,000
5. China............106,000
6. Germany.........79,666
7. Taiwan...........68,692 *
8. Spain.............58,700
9. UK.................58,426