Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

What's the world's favourite number?

rexfeatures-1881671a.jpg
hero2.jpg

First of all, what's yours? Can you picture a number? Do you love the way it looks - the font gently curling around or does it evoke a sentiment or memory in your mind?

It may seem trivial but everyone has one. And now an extensive survey has found the number that is most commonly loved across the world.

And it has revealed that the world's favourite number is seven.

According to the online survey which received 44,000 entries, set up by the Guardian's maths blogger and author of Alex’s Adventures in Numberland, Alex Bellos, the number seven came out on top, beating three which was second most popular and number eight which came third.

Those who took the poll, found out about it online and voluntarily decided to take part in it. They were asked to nominate their favourite number and explain why they feel that way.

A 15th Century engraving of the seven sins

One 35-year-old woman from the United Stated said, "Seven is the number of stellar objects in the solar system. Seven is the number of chakras. Seven is Sunday! Seven is the calling code for Russia. Seven just feels magical!"

Another woman of the same age from the UK wrote that number seven is "a number that is growing up. It’s a bit awkward; it can’t be equally divided and won’t bend to the rules so easily!"

And one 16-year-old, from New Zealand wrote, "People, don’t usually tend to pick 7, and I like to be different".

Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

"I conducted this experiment because I am fascinated by the emotional responses many of us have to numbers," said Bellos on Favourite Number.Net, the website where the survey took place.

"As a maths communicator, I am always asked for my favourite number. Whenever I give talks – in schools, universities, festivals and corporate events – it's guaranteed this question will come up," wrote Bellos on his Guardian blog.

"At first I thought this favourite number interrogation was frivolous, a way of poking fun at me (or maths). But gradually I learned that many people have genuinely strong feelings about numbers, and this realisation prompted me to launch the survey."

David Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo have both worn the number seven football shirt

He added, "The results do not have the rigour of a professional opinion poll or a laboratory experiment. Yet even so it is revealing about our number choices."

Here are the top ten numbers with the highest votes:

  1. 7
  2. 3
  3. 8
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 13
  7. 9
  8. 6
  9. 2
  10. 11

Every number between 1 and 100 was chosen and 472 numbers between 1 and 1000 were chosen. The lowest number to receive no votes was 110.

Bellos wrote, "The humiliation of 110 is an example of the most striking pattern in the data, which is that round numbers are rarely chosen as favourite numbers. Numbers ending in 0 are particularly unloved, as are numbers ending in 5 (with the exception of 5 itself)."

(Words: Sejal Kapadia, Images: Rex Features)

Related

got-1.png

The Game of Thrones sex infographic

choco-snacks-hero.png

Infographic of all your favourite chocolate bars

Pastel_Rainbow_Cake_018.jpg

How to make ten of the most impressive and creative Easter cakes

main-hero.jpg

The 'antisocial network' app that lets you avoid people

rexfeatures-397216a.jpg

How to completely erase yourself from the internet

hero.jpg

Celebrity children, all grown up: from Lourdes to Brooklyn Beckham

Comments

More

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

“When are you going to get hitched?” How to tackle intrusive questions

Useful responses for the most annoying of questions

27 Mar 2017

Oh, happy day: a live Sister Act show is coming to London

Featuring a 35-piece gospel choir and full band

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Westworld creators answer one of the big questions about Maeve

And star Thandie Newton addresses the show’s violence toward women

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Women link hands on Westminster Bridge to honour victims

Many wore blue as a symbol of hope and peace

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

New report: endometriosis symptoms often “dismissed” by doctors

42% of women said they were “not treated with dignity and respect” by doctors

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Airline defends decision to ban girls from flight for wearing leggings

The incident was “sexist and sexualised young girls”, according to an observer.

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Deliveroo is giving away free ice cream to make your Monday better

That's your lunch break sorted.

by Hayley Spencer
27 Mar 2017

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017