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How Many Wizards?

02/13/07

Permalink 04:44:28 pm, by millercommamatt, 574 words   English (US)
Categories: Harry Potter, Fan Fiction, Books

How Many Wizards?

Warning to Readers: There is a seriously nerdy discussion of the Harry Potter books ahead.

For some time, there has been a debate in the Harry Potter fan community over just how many wizards there are in the Harry Potter world and how many children attend Hogwarts. While pondering these questions, I decided to do a little population analysis to see what answers I reached. The following facts and figures are based on current UK population statistics.

Assumption #1: There are either ~1,000 students at Hogwarts (as quoted by JK Rowling) or there are ~280 students at Hogwarts (number inferred from the Harry Potter books) [10 students per year per house].

Assumption #2: The composition of the UK wizarding population mirrors that of the UK muggle population.

Assumption #3: All wizarding children attend Hogwarts.

According to current UK statistics, there are 9.43 million children of Hogwarts age (11-17) in the UK. If approximately ~1,000 children attend Hogwarts that means that there is around 1 wizard for every 10,000 muggles and suggests a total wizarding population of 6,061. If approximately ~280 children attend Hogwarts that means that there is around 1 wizard for ever 30,000 muggles and suggests a total wizarding population of 2,020.

If we throw out the assumption that all wizarding children attend Hogwarts, what will happen? The books still suggest that most wizarding children still attend Hogwarts even if all do not. This would drive the wizard to muggle ratio towards 1 per 5,000 and the total wizarding populous in the UK towards 12,000. This means that the national wizarding government in the UK works on an equivalent scale of a small to moderate sized town in the western world.

Follow up:

Let's now take a look at the implications of what the size of the wizarding population are when you consider the availability of vital roles. Assuming the UK ratio of doctors per thousand people, there would only be 3-25 doctors servicing the wizarding community. That means a place like St. Mungo's would run more like a large clinic than a major metropolitan hospital. Imagine the strain on wizarding society if Voldemort decides to carry out a few key assassinations. In a lazy night's work, the Death Eaters could remove 25% of all the practicing medical workers for the UK wizarding population. When you examine things in this context, it becomes very easy to see how one Dark Lord, with only a minimal desire to create chaos, can still bring a population to its knees.

How does a population of the scale of the UK wizarding world combat a terrorist like Voldemort? Most towns of 6,000 to 12,000 don't have SWAT teams rather yet armies. Most towns of this size have a small police force that monitors what is usually an orderly and quiet set of townsfolk. They most certainly do not have the manpower and equipment to simultaneously defend a populous, while hunting down a rogue group of murderous bandits. In such a situation, a population would have to defend themselves and, as we have seen in the books, it is woefully incapable of doing so.

The population dynamics of the wizarding world can lead to a long and interesting discussion. Thus, to avoid turning this post into some kind of treatise, I'll wrap up my analysis here. I encourage anyone who reads this to send me feedback and share this with their friends. I'm curious to see what other Harry Potter nerds think about my numbers and my thoughts on the functioning of wizarding society given the scale of my estimated population.

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