There is already a question about the number of research mathematicians here, but I was wondering :

is it possible to estimate the number of graduate students in mathematics worldwide in 2019 ? (Note that, especially since not all of GS stay in academia, it is quite different from the other question.)

Ideally, what I'm looking for is a graph since 1950, with a break-up by country.

For the US, such a graph can be found on a fine page by the AMS up to 2015-16 data (published in march 2018), although crucially it doesn't mention the yearly number of drop-outs.

So the main aim of my question is to find the equivalent for other countries.

  • $\begingroup$ I think I found some data for France : this link fr.statista.com/statistiques/618628/… says that in 2017 there were 2,406 doctoral students in mathematics & their interactions. I'm especially curious about China and India though. $\endgroup$
    – Butini
    May 12, 2019 at 18:58

1 Answer 1


I estimated the amount of graduate math students and especially the amount of math students in general from a theoretical point of view in an analogeous way like the Fermi-Problem.

  • There are about $ 8\times10^9 $ people living right now.
  • About $ \frac{1}{5} $ of the people are aged between 18 and 28, let's call them young adults.
  • About $ \frac{1}{10} $ of young adults is studying.
  • About $ \frac{1}{50} $ of students study math.
  • About $ \frac{1}{5} $ of math students is studying at graduate level.

This gives $ 3.2\times10^6 $ people who study math and thus $ 640,000 $ graduate math students.

  • 15
    $\begingroup$ this seems accurate for a developed country (for France, with a population of 67 million, your estimate would be some 5000 graduate math students, within a factor of two of the correct answer), but I would think it vastly overestimates undeveloped parts of the world. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2019 at 20:57
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Care to give us some error bars on these estimates, Proxava? $\endgroup$ Jun 22, 2019 at 0:39

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