Month: March 2017

Pressman’s Efforts to Count Marchers Gain National Attention

A crowd fills Independence Avenue during the Women's March on Washington, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A crowd fills Independence Avenue during the Women’s March on Washington, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

As hundreds of thousands of Americans marched against Donald Trump and for women’s rights in Washington D.C. and elsewhere on the day after the inauguration, many began to wonder what the final count of protestors might be. UCONN Professor Jeremy Pressman and University of Denver Professor Erica Chenowith went a step further, translating various reports of crowd sizes into more valid estimates in real time.

Their efforts began the morning of January 21st, just as marchers were lining up across the country. After Pressman posted a query on Twitter asking “Is there an exact spreadsheet totaling all the marchers in the city today?”, he began to collect the figures himself. Thus while the Associated Press reported late Saturday that “more than 1 million people” rallied in marches across the nation. Pressman and Chenowith put the final number much higher – their best guess was that approximately 4.15 million people participated in the U.S., with another 300,000 participating in other countries.

“The overall number was bigger than I expected,” Pressman told Yahoo News. “We’ve listed several hundred protests and marches across the country…. And we’re being more conservative with the numbers than with the locations.” Reports from cities with no public record documentation to support them were left with blank cells on the spreadsheet; still, most of the numbers were far greater than had been first reported.

Pressman and Chenowith have received national media attention for their work. Pressman in particular was interviewed by Business Insider, Efe News, Fortune, Univision, Vox, and Atlantic. The two professors also documented their work on The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog. For those interested in examining the actual estimate, the document can be found online

Read more about the Department’s latest accomplishments in the Winter 2017 POLS Newsletter.