The oft-cited figure of 3 million radio amateurs worldwide may need updating. That number was what the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) published in 2000 for the global head count. The IARU once regularly collected amateur radio population statistics, but stopped the practice around the point when the worldwide amateur radio population began to decline.
Data available elsewhere for a few major countries shows a steady decline in radio amateurs since 2000, with the exception of the US, where ham licenses — not necessarily licensees — number some 780,000 to date in 2021. Japan’s ham radio population has dropped by more than 600,000 over the past 2 decades; as of 2015, it was 435,581, according to JARL. China boasts more than 174,000 radio amateurs as of 2021. According to 2018 statistics, Thailand has 101,763 hams; the UK has 75,660, and Canada has 70,198.
But, the specific size of the worldwide amateur radio population remains open to speculation, although a 2021 figure of 1.75 million may be closer to the truth. — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News, other sources
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