Eagle Scout Class of 2016, by the numbers

There were 55,186 Eagle Scouts in 2016. That’s the fourth-largest Eagle Scout class ever — surpassed only by 2012, 2010 and 2013 — and represents a 1.5 percent increase over 2015.

Just think about that for a sec: 55,186 Eagle Scouts. Each one has his own story of the challenging but rewarding journey to Scouting’s highest honor. These young men have come far, but I must remind my fellow Eagle Scouts that the journey is only beginning.

This is one of my favorite blog posts to write each year — a deep dive into the newest class of Eagle Scouts. This week, we’ll look at the numbers behind the number:

  • Total number of service project hours Eagle Scouts recorded in 2016
  • Region-by-region Eagle numbers
  • Number of Eagle Scouts per year, from 1912 to 2016
  • State-by-state Eagle rankings
  • The average age of 2016’s Eagle Scouts

Before continuing, let’s give a big hand to the BSA’s Mike Lo Vecchio, who provides me with these Eagle Scout stats each year.

How many young men became Eagle Scouts in 2016?

Exactly 55,186 young men became Eagle Scouts in 2016.

The total is a 1.5 percent increase over last year’s Eagle Scout count (54,366), but it’s 6.3 percent less than the all-time high of 58,659 in 2012. That year’s count was inflated as Scouts hurried to finish requirements in time for the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scout award. (And get the 2012 Eagle Scout patch only given to guys who earned Eagle that year.)

How many service hours did the 2016 Eagle Scout Class record while working on Eagle projects?

Young men who earned Eagle in 2016 combined to record 9,156,368 hours of service on Eagle projects.

That’s an average of 165.9 hours of service per Eagle project. (By the way, that’s a 6.1 percent increase over 2015’s 156.4 hours per project. That means Scouts are doing more service!)

With the value of volunteer time at $23.56 an hour, that means Eagle Scouts and the volunteers they led contributed — drumroll, please — more than $215.7 million worth of time working on these projects.

Here’s the service hours broken down by region:

Region Hours Hours/project
     Western 2,525,283 139.7
     Southern 2,364,563 158.0
     Central 2,136,769 194.0
     Northeast 2,129,753 191.3
     Total 9,156,368 165.9

Which region had the most Eagle Scouts in 2016?

Congrats to the Western Region! You again took home the crown as the region with the most Eagle Scouts. The Western Region boasted an impressive 18,073 Eagle Scouts last year.

Here’s how the other regions fared:

     Western 18,073
     Southern 14,962
     Northeast 11,134
     Central 11,017
     Total 55,186

How many young men have become Eagle Scouts in past years?

Here’s a year-by-year breakdown of the 2,429,979 young men who have become Eagle Scouts since the award was first presented in 1912.

Which state had the most Eagle Scouts in 2016?

No state produced more Eagle Scouts in 2016 than Utah. To see the rankings, 1 to 50, click here.

What was the average age of 2016 Eagle Scouts?

Eagle Scouts are getting older, and that’s not a bad thing. Click here for the average age in 2016 (and 2009 through 2015).

39 Comments

  1. I always look forward to this article each year. I’m working on my Master’s degree in Data Science and my Eagle Scout rank is more of an accomplishment in my mind. Congratulations to all the new Eagles!

  2. Yes, but what % of all boys in Scouting does this represent??
    It used to be around 4%±. Would like to know how we are doing this year.

    • There were 840,654 Boy Scouts and Varsity Scouts at 12/31/15 per the 2015 Annual Report. The Boy Scout number is not broken out separately in the Annual Report, but Varsity is a relatively small program.

      If you disregard the Varsity members included in the 840,654 number, 6.56% of Boy Scouts earned Eagle in 2016. The percentage would probably be closer to 7% if the Varsity headcount was stripped out. Either way, quite a bit higher than 4%.

      • Don’t you have to subtract those Scouts who have already earned Eagle from your total?

        55,186 may have earned it in 2016, but how many of those 850,654 already had Eagle? You’d really have to divide the 55,186 by 850,654 minus whatever number already have Eagle.

        The number is probably higher than 7% when you look at it that way.

        • True. But with the average age of Scouts earning Eagle now nearing 17 1/2 years old, the impact of Scouts who are already Eagles in the calculation would be fairly minimal, similar to the impact of not excluding the Varsity program headcount.

          What would arguably have more of an impact would be using 1/1/16 headcount numbers — i.e., after the annual unit recharter date for most councils. While Boy Scout retention nationally is higher than that of the Cub Scout program, there is still significant (>10%) attrition at the end of each annual recharter for the Boy Scout program, reducing the denominator of the calculation even further.

          Regardless of possible refinements to my back of the napkin calculation, the 4% figure is too low.

  3. I guess we’ll see how long it takes Northeast people to notice they are listed last when they beat Central! I’m from the West, so don’t have a horse I this race (or maybe my horse already won!)

    Good article, thanks Bryan!

    • It looks like the regions are placed the same no matter what their “finish” as the Service Hours list was “won” by the Central, with 194 hrs/project, but the Central is in the third placement on the two lists. So appears no ranking was made, the West was just at the top of each list, and the Northeast was at the bottom. And I’m proud to say my son’s Eagle Project helped make the 194 hrs/project average in the Central Region the highest in the nation.

  4. Not proud of this organization since the Red River Valley Council would not award me my Eagle in 1976 even though all requirements were met, twice and a District Court judge even reviewed the case and signed off on it as legitimate. Some parts of the organization just don’t represent the central values and ideals of the group.

  5. I would love to see something similar in regards to Eagle Scouts who make the decision not to Eagle and run. These are the scouters who earn Eagle Palms for their continued service to their troop.
    Whether the Eagle Scout is younger or about to age out it seems as though many of these young men either have no knowledge of Eagle Palms or no interest in achieving Palms. I know in the 65 yr history of our troop only 2 members have ever received Palms, and both are still current scouters.

    Is there a way we can see the numbers related to these post Eagle accomplishments?

    • I would agree with this and think it was asked in the last year or two. If I remember correctly national only has stats on there being a palm approved but not what level it was approved at. So it becomes hard to know if March 1 a palm approval happens and then again in July another happens if it is the same boy moving up a level or a different boy starting. Still an interesting piece of stats to get.

      I know my first son got 4 palms as he Eagled in 2012 and stayed with the unit till he aged out in 2014. My youngest is working on his first palm and will have that one after March 23rd.

      Both of them have stayed around working in multiple camps giving back, etc. The oldest has started to become a fine young ASM and contributes when he can with college.

      • Forget the Palms. Just how many stayed in after they got Eagle?
        In the Troop I grew up in we all stayed in until, or in some cases after, we were 18. The Scouts who leave after that have used the Troop and are not staying around to give back.
        My son’s Troop even uses the term “Eagle Out” which makes me cringe every time I here it.

  6. I would like to see the statistics of Eagle Scouts against the number of Scouts by year. Are more scouts earning their Eagle? Have requirement changes made it easier / harder?

  7. I’m guessing the state with the largest numbers of Eagles to be Utah…due to the LDS units. Also…that’s how the West one…LOL

  8. I’ve seen numbers ranging from 1% to 5% for the eagles to Scouts ratio, but that includes all the Cubs, Tigers Lions etc. It seems to me that with my oldest son, we started with about 20 Tigers, and 4 crossed over to Boy Scouts. When his First-year patrol formed (3 feeder packs), there were about 10 in it. Four stuck with it until they were 18, and they all Eagled. So, in reality, the 1-4% number is a bit misleading. My guess is that of the boys that stick with it until they age out, the percentage is probably 85% or greater.

  9. If 6% eagle every year, would that translate to 6×7(11 years-18years) or a total of 42% of scouts go on to achieve eagle. A better number would be avg a 7 year new scouts, divided by 7 years of eagles, probably would be about 35-40%. If you went back to including cub scouts that started, maybe you might get closer to 10 % because lots of cubs drop out, and dont cross to troops

  10. The percent that become Eagle should be the number of Eagles divided by the number new scouts in the year in which they became scouts.

  11. What % of eligible boys participate in the Boy Scout program? The number that I am trying to find is the ratio of boys in the general population to Eagle Scouts.Using 4% of the general population X 2% Eagle gives a ratio of 1:1250. Even at 6% Eagle, that is only one Eagle out of every 417 boys in the general population which still makes the air pretty thin where the Eagles gather..

  12. My youngest son , Richard , had his review 2 week before his 14th birthday in October 2016. His Eagle Court was 2 months after his 14th birthday in January 2017. He is a hard worker that lets nothing stand in his way when his mind is set. He had his mind set on Eagle the day he joined. I was a very proud Father the day of his Eagle Court. I am hoping he will attend Annapolis or West Point. He is a political animal and has aspirations of being the President. I thank the troop leadership for help giving him the proper guidance to attain this honorable achievement.

  13. That is truly a great record amount of Eagle Scouts for 2016 . Can not wait for 2017 as additional Eagle Scouts will contribute to this as well ! Once an Eagle Always an Eagle !

  14. I wish i could be happy about this, but over the past few years I have seen the caliber of Eagle Scouts steadily decrease. I don’t care how many. I prefer the stories about the exceptional Scouts.

  15. To clarify a statistical point on the historic 4% statistic: This number reflects how many scouts earn Eagle. So the post that identified 50,000 Eagles out of 850,000 boy scouts is neglecting one little detail…cub scouts. Without cubs, the number is about 5.9%, but how many cubs never even enter boy scouts? A very cursory look at the national statistics shows that, nearly every single year, the cub scout program always has more members than boy scouts. Don’t forget to take those boys lost in the Webelos-to-boy scout transition when building the denominator in your Eagle/Scout fraction. That will get your number down from almost 6% to the classic 4%.

    P.S. Love this blog. I use it so often to pull current changes and program details for my council’s commissioner corps to stay on top of things! We’ve already had one person earn the Special Needs Scouting Service Award you published less than two weeks ago…thanks for all the data!

  16. Quick question. Many of your past year-end Eagle statistic entries all state that 2012’s total was 57,976. Above you show 58,659. Which is correct?

  17. It would be fun to know the number of total scouts in each region. You know–just to know if Central Region could brag about having the highest percentage, or if we have to bow to the Westerners after all! Hats off to all, and to all who helped on the thousands of worthwhile projects.

  18. Wish there was a way to know what Pack an Eagle Scout started out in (if they began their scout career as a Cub). Seems to me that would be a GREAT Cub Scout recruiting tool to have at your disposal. To be able to say, “We’ve had XX number of Cub Scouts from our Pack go on to become Eagle Scouts” would really make parents sit up and take notice to what a great program their first grader is getting involved in.

  19. I’d like to see the percentage per Council. is this possible?

    Thanks for putting this all together for us, Bryan.

  20. As a past math teacher I look at these statistics and think of the many ways I could have used them to show that the reader has to look at what the number is really measuring to see if it backs up an argument.
    In most cases the Totals can not be compared unless the Regions have an equal number of constituents.
    As others have mentioned, the percentages are problematic as the numerators and denominators are measuring parts of different populations

  21. I’ld like to know the percentage of tiger to eagle; eagle 1 palm; eagle two palm. It’s something to have a kid stay in 12 years

  22. A consideration for some:
    I know many are unhappy with the increase in Eagle Scouts and not being as “exclusive” as it used to be, but have you considered the trend in the competition for the boys time– sports, work, wheel, girls– and the number of charters dropped for the inclusive policy change? I would think statistically, that the boys that are in scouting are more devoted to earning the highest rank. Just my thought….

    • I have 2 tiger to eagle. Also finished all requirements to Palm 1 2 3 but didn’t continue after eagle. Because high school varsity sports are very time consuming and demanding of their time.

  23. How many Eagle Scouts earn Eagle Palms? And what are the numbers for each palm by Zone?

    We have two Eagle Scouts nearing the end of their Boy Scouting Carrier who have earned their 2nd gold Eagle Palm and one who will most likely earn one more if he adds 3 more MBs by November 2017.

    We are very proud of all the work that they have done and I’d like to be able to quantify their work with the statistics

    Thank you

  24. I got my Eagle in1964. What was the % back then. How about 2 palms? Do the math. I am still not Eagled Out.

  25. Bryan. I am part of my council’s team that selects NOESAs each year and we are a small council and always wish we could honor a dozen adult Eagles each year, but can only honor two (we only have between 1 and 100 Eagles each year). I also maintain the Wikipedia page for the NOESA award and the BEST year ever was 2016 when 337 were awarded nationwide. Good at first glance, but considering that each council, tiny or huge, can award two that would be about 600 a year. When you further consider councils like NCAC, UNPC, or UNPC which can award 10 or 20, it pains us to see hundreds upon hundreds (possibly two thirds or even three quarters) of annual NOESA award quotas lost each near nationwide when we wish we had more to give.

    So, can you post an article showing the 2016 Eagle Scout breakdown by council, with a third column identifying council by NOESA allotment for 2017 (e.g. 1-100 gets 2, 101-200 gets 3, 201-300 gets 4 and so on) to try and get the word out! I wonder how many councils…half…more than half probably…don’t know the NOESA details, especially that NESA annual allotments DO NOT bank the way Silver Beaver allotments do, so once January 1st, 2018 hits all the eligible NOESAs for 2017 (from the 2016 Eagle Class) not used are lost forever.

    I think this would be an amazing asset if you published this now, and each year with your prior year Eagle post, from now on to get the word out. Thanks.

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