Home > Language > Which Numbers are the Most Common?

Which Numbers are the Most Common?

I’ve often wondered which numbers are used most frequently. The low numbers (0, 1, 2) are probably the most common and the single-digit numbers are all among the most common, but how common are larger numbers and which larger numbers are the most common? Today I decided to find out.

I analyzed my text corpus and came up with the following as the 100 most common numbers:


1 2 0 3 5 4 10 000 6 8 7 20 12 2005 15 11 9 30 100 2008 16 2007 14 50 18 25 13 17 19 1812 24 2006 23 2004 21 40 22 26 60 27 70 2001 2003 28 200 2002 29 31 80 500 2000 300 1805 150 35 90 1000 101 45 32 36 07 33 00 08 1809 99 75 1990 1984 34 1999 400 48 800 95 06 44 1807 47 1998 41 85 55 250 83 53 1813 43 02 52 37 39 600 1980 51 03 120 04 64

As you might expect, the single-digit numbers are all among the most common. 10, 000, 20, 12, 2005, 15 and 11 are all more common than the least common single-digit number. I’m not surprised by 10 or 20, but I don’t know how 000 got there. 2005 is also an interesting one which I’ll get to later.

The most common numbers from 10 to 19:

10 12 15 11 16 14 18 13 17 19

This isn’t too surprising either.

Here’s every two digit number:


10 20 12 15 11 30 16 14 50 18 25 13 17 19 24 23 21 40 22 26 60 27 70 28 29 31 80 35 90 45 32 36 07 33 00 08 99 75 34 48 95 06 44 47 41 85 55 83 53 43 02 52 37 39 51 03 04 64 38 42 46 65 49 01 09 54 66 58 84 89 67 05 59 98 72 56 73 77 62 78 68 76 57 92 63 61 81 82 69 97 88 86 96 71 79 94 93 74 91 87

Every number from 10 to 99 appears at least once, which I suppose is what you’d expect. Lower numbers tend to be smaller, as do round numbers like 50, 25, and 40.

I also looked at the most common dates:


2005 2008 2007 1812 2006 2004 2001 2003 2002 2000 1805 1000 1809 1990 1984 1999 1807 1998 1813 1980

Probably this means that most of the text corpus is from the late 2000′s. But besides recent dates, a few other dates stand out: 1812, 1805, 1809, 1984. (1000 is probably not used as a date most of the time.) 1812 is probably because of references to the War of 1812 and 1984 is because of references to the book. 1805 and 1809 both appear repeatedly in War and Peace, one of the books used in the text corpus.

For our last exercise, let’s find the first number that doesn’t appear. Every number from 0 to 567 appears at least once. The first number not to appear at all is 568.

I’ve always wondered which numbers are the most common, and now we have an answer.

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Categories: Language
  1. Atle
    February 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Judging by Google, the frequency of 1812 may have more to do with music, the 1812 Overture by Tchaikovsky, thus a commemoration of when the Russians successfully repelled Napolean.

  2. Atle
    February 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I suspect 000 owes its frequency to the European numeral format. For example, the number ‘one million’ is ’1 000 000′.

    Fascinating study on numbers.

  3. June 14, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    if you incorporate the clock in the survey? the numer 1-24 schould appear more frequently.

  4. October 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Hi,

    That data would make a good article for my blog.

    Regards,
    Jason

  5. Harry
    February 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    100- defo!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Fred
    February 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    2894′s mine !!!!!!!!!!

  7. Zayn
    May 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    15 is the best out of all

  8. Zayn
    May 10, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Hey u should put 15 as the best number in the word:)

    • 27 IS BEST
      September 13, 2012 at 12:31 am

      No 27 is the best!

  9. Louis
    May 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Agr 15 is the best

  10. robert tanner
    May 25, 2012 at 10:51 am

    I have been noticing something that who ever wrote this article never touch on and that is that 53 is the most common number that happens to come up. just a few examaples
    1. love bug car
    2. length of semi-trler bed
    3. the commerial for mattress with springs on t.v. has spring in college and the number 53 is on the blackboard
    whenever anything happens in a report or news paper article the person 9 out of ten times is 53 years old and I can go on and on. start paying attention to that and you’ll see the number 53 come up on events more then any other number

  11. allenvanbeek
    January 8, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Try Bedford’s formula.

    • Daniel Hudgins
      April 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm

      I think you mean Benford’s Law. But what of the occurrence of numbers 0 to 9 only ? All numbers are made of these so looking at it that way what is there frequency of occurrence?

  12. Errol
    January 15, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    I believe that 32 is the most frequent number of all.

  13. Oz
    April 13, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything….according to Douglas Adams….LOL

  14. Alexander
    April 29, 2013 at 2:20 am

    Thank you, that was very interesting.

  15. Anonymous
    August 12, 2013 at 8:59 am

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 and 9 all have to be the first 9 ! ( my order: 1, 7, 3, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 8, ) 8 is not used that often, 9 appears quite often ( police 911, September 11 …), 6 is not seen to much but most passwords for banks have a 6 or 9 in it, 5 is used often by kids when they play games since they are proud of knowing such a number, 4 is often used for the 4th place in the tournament or something like that and is seen in a very famous number : 42, the same reasons aply to number 2 ( 2nd place ) and most body parts are seen twice , 3- the third place in tournaments- and the ” magic 3″- it appears so often… Often there are three buildings that look alike-so as paintings or other things.. And it appears in the famous number 13, 7 is a very common number and when we think of a number from 1 to 10 it is mostly 7!, 1 appears almost everywhere ! 911, 13, 100 first place and so on. My top 10 two or more digit numbers are: 13, 42, 20, 911, 19, 100, 1 million, ( infinity if it counts), and 3,14 – yes I know the first 20 Pi numbers, but most people only know 3,14…. So yeah! That’s pretty much it ;)

  16. January 4, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I’m wondering how frequently the actual digits 0-9 are used. Got any tips on where to find that info? I found some articles dealing with PIN’s, but I’m looking for a more broad scope.

  17. March 11, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Surely this post itself now means that 568 would appear, rendering that statement invalid?

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