Don, KB9UMT, moderator and owner of the HamRadioHelpGroup mailing list came up with the following chart:

Year___ %Ham__US Population___# US Hams

1925___0.01%___115,829,000_____16,500

1930___0.02%___123,076,741_____19,000

1935___0.04%___127,250,232_____45,000

1940___0.04%___132,122,446_____55,788

1945___0.04%___139,928,165_____62,250

1950___0.05%___152,271,417_____81,450

1955___0.09%___165,931,202_____144,168

1960___0.13%___180,671,158_____227,500

1965___0.14%___194,302,963_____265,862

1966___0.14%___196,560,338_____268,129

1967___0.14%___198,712,056_____278,543

1968___0.14%___200,706,052_____275,628

1969___0.14%___202,676,946_____277,209

1970___0.14%___205,052,174_____279,658

1971___0.13%___207,660,677_____278,808

1972___0.13%___209,896,021_____274,389

1973___0.13%___211,908,788_____268,657

1974___0.13%___213,853,928_____271,373

1975___0.12%___215,973,199_____268,002

1976___0.13%___218,035,164_____283,473

1977___0.14%___220,239,425_____311,328

1978___0.16%___222,584,545_____350,780

1979___0.17%___225,055,487_____374,015

1980___0.17%___227,224,681_____393,353

1981___0.17%___229,465,714_____398,829

1982___0.18%___231,664,458_____408,361

1983___0.18%___233,791,994_____416,084

1984___0.18%___235,824,902_____433,921

1985___0.18%___237,923,795_____438,007

1986___0.18%___240,132,887_____433,921

1987___0.18%___242,288,918_____442,136

1988___0.19%___244,498,982_____455,642

1989___0.19%___246,819,230_____459,635

1990___0.19%___249,464,396_____466,511

1991___0.20%___252,153,092_____494,260

1992___0.21%___255,029,699_____524,782

1993___0.22%___257,782,608_____575,146

1994___0.24%___260,327,021_____614,398

1995___0.25%___262,803,276_____656,726

1996___0.25%___265,228,572_____661,775

1997___0.25%___267,783,607_____677,514

1998___0.25%___270,248,003_____676,809

1999___0.25%___272,690,813_____677,392

2000___0.25%___275,133,623_____682,240

2001___0.25%___275,279,000_____684,359

2002___0.25%___276,709,000_____685,308

2003___0.25%___278,112,000_____687,860

2004 672,622

2005 662,600

2006 654,291

Sources:

- http://www.hamdata.com/fccinfo.html
- http://www.ah0a.org/AH0A.html
- http://www.ah0a.org/FCC/Licenses.html
- http://hamcall.net/divisions_by_callsign.html
- http://www.speroni.com/FCC/index.html
- http://www.qrz.com/i/census.html?
- http://www.jarl.or.jp/English/1_Amateur/A-1-9.htm

Don notes that the number of licensed amateurs has declined since 2003, and that the population of the U.S. has increased. If we use a figure of 300 million for the population of the U.S., then the percentage of the population that are hams in 2006 is 0.22%.

Should we be disturbed by this? I’m not sure. I don’t think we should go out and recruit new hams just to pump up our numbers. I think that we’ll find that if we recruit new hams for good reasons, such as increasing the number of hams capable of providing emergency communications or to just share the fun of ham radio, then we’ll be more successful and draw more active, interesting people into the hobby.

Dan,

I was playing around with some of the statistics on the ham population in the US and posted something on my blog at http://www.k0nr.com/blog/2005/11/some-amateur-radio-statistics.html

“Bird watching is 22 times more popular than ham radio”

73 Bob K0NR

That certainly puts things in perspective. Thanks, Bob.