Spread the love


By John Charlton

2009 DC Tea Partier with evocative sign
2009 DC Tea Partier with evocative sign

(Sept. 15, 2009) — The main stream media had problems counting it.  Bloggers attempted to deny it.  I have seen no patriots exaggerating it.  A British paper said there were 2,000,000 of you, but then political correctness hit, and they changed their report to 1 million.  Clearly biased estimates were as low as 70,000!

One blogger even did some rough calculations.  But he too got it wrong, because he rounded off numbers during his calculation, which is a big no-no in mathematics.

As someone who has taken a few courses in mathematics at college, one of which was even theoretical, I’ll give you my estimate.

First, let’s use published facts.  A standard crowd is 1 person per 5 sq. feet, and a packed crowd is as little as 1 person per 2.5 sq. feet — so says the national park service.

The Tea Partiers walked the entire length of Pennsylvania Avenue for approx. 3 hours at 3 miles per hour.  The length of the walk to the Capitol building is 1.5 miles.  Pennsylvania avenue has 6 lanes, 1 turn land and a central media, that is about 7.25 lanes at about 18 ft wide per lane.

So on Pennsylvania avenue you get:  for 3 hours a crowd which is 1 person per 5 sq. feet walks by the traffic cam, on a street that is 1.5 miles long, 7.25 lanes wide, each lane is 18th wide, and the crowd walks leisurely at 3 miles per hour.  That means each person took about 30 minutes to walk the entire length, and therefore the crowd was 6 times larger than the street could hold, if the crowd stood still and filled it, to 1 person per 5 sq. foot density. And there is 5,280 ft per mile

That means that the street is:  1.5 x 7.25 x. 18 x 5280 = 1,035,560 sq. feet in area.  Now multiplying by a crowd that is 6 times larger, and divided by a crowd which is 1 person per 5 sq. feet, equals a crowd of  1,240, 272 persons.

If you calculate that a crowd walking 3 miles an hour, or 3 x 5,280 feet per hour, passes by a traffic cam on a street that is 7.25 lanes, each 18th ft wide, you get a crowd of 1,283,040 persons.

The park service says the Mall is approx 150 hectares, according to the blogger cited above.  That is 16, 145, 865 sq. feet, using the Google result for hectare to sq. feet conversion, and double checking by converting hectares to 10,000 sq. meters, and a meter to 100 cm, 2.54 cm per inch and back to sq. feet.

That means the Mall can hold 3, 229, 173 persons, — much more than USA today or the blogger calculate.

How much of the Mall was filed?

Did everyone walk Pennsylvania avenue?

Did everyone get into the city who wanted to be there, or where they stuck in traffic?

How many in the Mall were absent at any given moment for the needs of health, food, or facilities?

Looking at the web cam, I say that the crowd was not as dense walking as 1 person per 5 sq. feet; and having walked Pennsylvania avenue many times for Pro-Life Marches, I know the crowd thins during the walk; and that not all make it to the end, because of the incline, the weather, their health, their lack of being in shape; and some don’t even walk it, because of these aspects.

So not all the crowd walked Pennsylvania avenue, and but those who did walk it were not as many.

But not all attended the Rally, and not all stood in the West Lawn of the Capitol, or in the central aisle of the Mall.  There were many who attended the Rally who did not walk the walk.

The People Meter registered 1.5 Million walking the walk.  Given that it was not exactly 3 hours long, nor 3 miles an hour in velocity, this could be.

Clearly those who say it was less than 1 million, are not being honest with the numbers.

I’ll let patriots who were there, inform The Post & Email by comment below, on just how full the Mall was.

But let’s not forget that 800 tea parties were held around the country, on the same day; according to published reports.

UPDATE 9/18/09: Various eyewitness  testimonies have been posted on the internet, about crowd size (bold face added for quick readers):

Wolla Dalbo (Sept. 17, 8:59 AM) says:

Here is a new, high resolution, panoramic picture, taken from the top of the Capitol building, that has just surfaced (http://iowntheworld.com/blog/ scroll down about six entries to find the picture).

I was in the crowd marching down Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capital, then part of the crowd on the Capitol Lawn, and—since I was aware of the likely “problems” about crowd size estimates–I also walked up and down Capitol Hill and onto the Mall and through the crowd, so that I got a good idea of its extent and density.

Note that an actual count taken from a fixed position along the Pennsylvania Ave. route logged 450,000 people passing that point, and this does not at all count the people traveling to the Capitol using Maryland Ave., Independence and Constitution Avenues and coming from various Metro stops in and around the Mall and Capitol Hill, who I observed and who can be seen streaming toward Capitol Hill in the picture.

If you really look at the panoramic picture, you will see that not only are the various sections of the Capital Lawn filled, but so, too, is the wide circular street—East Capitol Circle– below the Capitol, so is the entire large perimeter of the Reflecting Pool–several deep as I observed, and down past Third Street on the Mall—all this I observed myself by 12:30 or so, and the main event was not to start until 1:00 P.M.

Moreover, from the picture it can also be seen that the feeder streets leading up to the Capitol—Independence and Constitution Avenues and Maryland and Pennsylvania Avenues and the cross streets–were jammed with people, too, because early on in the demo the Capitol Hill police closed off the Mall (since the organizers did not realize how gigantic the crowd would be and got a permit only for the Capitol Lawn and did not get a permit for a demo on the Mall) and channeled newcomers into those feeder streets. Later on more of the crowd was allowed to fill up the Mall.

And all the while I was observing, more and more people streamed into the Capital Hill & Mall areas from all directions. When I left to go home on Metro, Metro trains were still disgorging people with signs, who were heading for the Capitol Hill demo.

Kenneth Happel, Vista CA says:

I was the medical coordinator for the event. I believe that there were at least a million people there and a million and a half would be my best bet.
I don’t know where the “official estimate” quoted as 60,000 comes from. The event permit, and Chief Lyles fire department resource allocation, was based upon 50,000 (because we couldn’t prove more beforehand)and that number of people was supposed to be contained in the central section of the west lawn between the sidewalks extending from the freedom and grant statues.
I counted the crowd entering Penn. Ave. to determine how many first aid team people were needed and where. I made my count at Freedom Plaza after the police radio had indicated that the front of the march had reached Capital Circle. I used the following method. We counted the number of people stretching across Penn. Ave. from curb to curb for a distance down the street of ten feet. That number was divided in half (assuming that there were variations in how tightly people were packed)and multiplied by the number of ten foot intervals from Freedom Park to Capitol Circle. At 8:00 the count was 200,000. I inserted a medical team at that point and when it reached Capitol Circle the whole avenue had filled again and I inserted my team. So at about 9:30 the total attendance from the march was, conservatively, about 400,000. The avenue continued to pumo in people fopr another two hours. So I estimate about 600,000 came through that route.
There was also a very large stream that filled the whole street from the train station to Capitol circle and people that came on the underground said that it was simply packed with people coming out at the protest site (both these flows were not part of the march).
The National Park Service published its estimating method in USA Today, when they provided an estimate for President Obama’s inaguration. That method estimates by filled area.

The west lawn (all three sections were filled solid with little space between people)the shoulders around the building and the area directly around the reflecting pool is 240,000 by the NPS estimating method. The mall from the reflecting pool to the cross street before the Washington Monument is 940,000 according to the NPS. The first section of the mall nearest the Washingon Monument was reserved for the NAACP’s Family event.

Our folks, at the height of the event, stretched from the cross street before the NAACP event all the way to the relfecting pool and were packed. I would guess that its 4/5 of the 940,000 or 750,000 people together that’s a million. Then there was the area from first street to third street (third street goes to the train station). First street was so crowded the police had to clear it. The crowd also filled most of the area around and between the museums on each side, with the greatest density in the half of the mall nearest the reflecting pool. You could easily add another half million with these two areas.

That’s how I came to an estimate of one to one and a half million.

Under no possible stretch of the imagination or should I say contraction of the imagination were there only 60,000. To see crowd outline on the National Park Service estimator go to my facebook page “kenneth happel” and look at the photos.

Another eye-witness has published an analysis of the numbers, with different figures than the ones I used:


Which analysis includes a video link to actual on-ground footage of the crowds:


This author estimates 1.7 Million protestors attended.


This report was prepared with the assistance of a commentator at Citizen Wells Blog.

Join the Conversation

No comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I agree. While we were there, someone walked by saying that ABC was reporting 2 million at about 1pm. Later in the day, general media was saying that it was 100K. Judging by a video shown on Fox, where it is taken from what seems to be a security surveillance cam shot sped up in time, you can see the entire march and it is A LOT of people for a long time. It was impossible to measure when we were there because I couldn’t see where the crown started and where it ended. That’s how big it was. I don’t doubt 1 million AT ALL. It was amazing!!!