Pilot numbers compared to other groups (data and graph)

We all know that to belong to the pilot population is to belong to a very small club…but have you ever wondered just how small?

The fact is, we are a tiny, tiny group. Using recent data culled from the Internet — yes, it’s not scientific, but it is representative — we are dwarfed by a variety of other organizations and populations:


Populations compared. Click to zoom.


I found these numbers stunning.  For example, do you want aviation to carry the same weight as the NRA?  We’d have to join forces with the teachers, lawyers and physicians to match that number.  As it stands we are a minuscule minority, constantly under siege to have our already costly flying privileges curtailed or made more expensive.  AOPA and other aviation organizations exist to serve our community — get on board and join!


Group / category Approx. number Source
US Population 307,000,000 1
Licensed drivers 196,000,000 2
Gun owners 44,000,000 3
VoIP subscribers 21,000,000 4
Recreational boats 13,000,000 5
AFL-CIO members 12,200,000 6
Motorcyclists (est.) 6,000,000 7
National Rifle Association 4,000,000 8
Prisoners 2,200,000 9
Federal civilian employees 2,000,000 10
Homeschooled students 1,500,000 11
American Federation of Teachers 1,500,000 12
Practicing lawyers 1,100,000 13
Practicing physicians 900,000 14
Active certificated pilots 613,746 15


Sources used to assemble this data:

  1. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States
  3. http://www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/gun_violence/sect01.html
  4. http://arstechnica.com/telecom/news/2010/06/over-20-million-voip-subscribers-in-the-united-states.ars
  5. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=5&sqi=2&ved=0CDQQFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dhs.gov%2Fxlibrary%2Fassets%2Fsmall-vessel-security-strategy.pdf&ei=07G_TIu_DoumsQOThPn-BA&usg=AFQjCNGbqc6
  6. http://www.aflcio.org/aboutus/faq/
  7. http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/motorcycle/?table_sort_739026=4
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Rifle_Association
  9. http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/1209-01.htm
  10. http://stats.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs041.htm
  11. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=49&ved=0CEAQFjAIOCg&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnces.ed.gov%2Fpubs2009%2F2009030.pdf&ei=H7W_TNHJJIj4swPtrbz-BA&usg=AFQjCNENgi2slkUweCtuZvrx2tj-P9vp3w
  12. http://www.peoplesworld.org/teachers-celebrate-union-milestone-1-5-million-members/
  13. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-percent-of-the-us-population-do-lawyers-comprise.htm
  14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Medical_Association
  15. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_certification_in_the_United_States


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