Which state had the most Eagle Scouts in 2016?

Utah’s state motto is “Industry,” but I’m going to propose a new one: “Home of Eagle Scouts.”

That’s because no state produced more Eagle Scouts in 2016 than Utah. Thanks in large part to the strong support Scouting receives from the LDS church there, 5,664 young men became Eagle Scouts in Utah in 2016.

Utah is No. 1 on the list for at least the eighth year in a row. That’s every year since 2009 — the first year for which detailed Eagle Scout statistics were made available to me.

California, Texas, Pennsylvania and North Carolina round out 2016’s top 5. See the complete list — 1 to 50 — below.

Then keep reading for the population-adjusted numbers.

Utah 5,664
California 5,044
Texas 4,308
Pennsylvania 2,461
North Carolina 2,215
Virginia 2,112
New York 2,060
Ohio 1,876
Florida 1,741
Illinois 1,739
Georgia 1,586
Arizona 1,484
New Jersey 1,444
Missouri 1,385
Idaho 1,320
Washington 1,318
Michigan 1,266
Maryland 1,075
Massachusetts 1,047
Minnesota 980
Colorado 972
Indiana 904
Wisconsin 896
Tennessee 873
Connecticut 766
Kansas 644
South Carolina 633
Alabama 620
Oregon 582
Iowa 533
Nevada 533
Kentucky 487
Oklahoma 487
Nebraska 439
Mississippi 395
Louisiana 361
Hawaii 288
Arkansas 282
New Hampshire 214
Rhode Island 202
Montana 198
New Mexico 186
Maine 179
West Virginia 175
Wyoming 142
Alaska 140
South Dakota 134
Delaware 131
North Dakota 102
Vermont 74

But wait! It’s not really fair to look at these numbers without adjusting for population.

I mean, of course more young men will become Eagle Scouts in the nation’s state with the most people under 18 (California) than the one with the least (Vermont).

So …

Which state had the most Eagle Scouts in 2016 after adjusting for population?

I used the data available here, which supplied the number of people under age 18 in each of our 50 states.

Utah topped this list as well, with one new Eagle Scout for every 161 people under 18. But the population-adjusted numbers moved these states from outside the top 10 into it: Idaho, Wyoming, Connecticut, Missouri, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Hawaii.

California, second on the unadjusted list, moves to 41 on the adjusted list.

  1. Utah
  2. Idaho
  3. Virginia
  4. Wyoming
  5. Connecticut
  6. Missouri
  7. North Carolina
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Nebraska
  10. Hawaii
  11. Pennsylvania
  12. Arizona
  13. Kansas
  14. Montana
  15. Washington
  16. New Hampshire
  17. Maryland
  18. Nevada
  19. Colorado
  20. Minnesota
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Alaska
  23. Iowa
  24. New Jersey
  25. Ohio
  26. Maine
  27. Wisconsin
  28. Oregon
  29. Delaware
  30. South Dakota
  31. Georgia
  32. Vermont
  33. Texas
  34. Illinois
  35. North Dakota
  36. Tennessee
  37. South Carolina
  38. Michigan
  39. Indiana
  40. Alabama
  41. California
  42. Mississippi
  43. Oklahoma
  44. New York
  45. Kentucky
  46. West Virginia
  47. Florida
  48. Arkansas
  49. New Mexico
  50. Louisiana

What were the 2016 numbers for Eagle Scouts who don’t live in the 50 states?

Eagle Scouts don’t just live in the 50 United States. They’re everywhere.

Puerto Rico 189
Transatlantic Council 180
Far East Council 95
Washington, D.C. 19
Direct Service Council 7
Virgin Islands (Now merged into council No. 82) 1

For more Eagle Scout stats, click here.

Hat tip: Thanks to the BSA’s Mike Lo Vecchio for the data.


  1. Volume, smcholume – I am greatly concerned about the rigor of the Eagle process. Merit badge and Eagle Scout mills do a great disservice to the badge. The BSA audits money and membership but are we auditing the Eagle process? I read with great interest the eagle projects being touted but are these the exception rather than the rule?

  2. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that LDS Scouts basically have their own set of standards, complete with a “streamlined” first-year program where they’re given First Class just for showing up and merit badge clinics where they can earn all three Citizenship in one day. In areas where Eagle Scout is actually earned, numbers are much lower.

    • I believe your description is an unfair oversimplification of the LDS program. Contrary to your false statements:
      – They do not have different standards for Boy Scout advancement. They generally have a special troop dedicated to the 11 year-olds, and another troop for the 12-18 year-olds. The rank requirements are no different than non-LDS scouts.
      – They are not given 1st Class “just for showing up.” They are strongly encourage to complete as many of the 1st Class requirements in that year when they are in a troop of 11-year olds.
      – They’re Young Mens program is not streamlined. In fact it limits the number of nights an 11 year old can camp. Therefore, it is not currently possible for 11-year-olds to earn first class in their first year.
      – The MB program is not corrupt (no more than in districts with fewer LDS units).

      What is different? Scouting is *the* youth program for boys in the LDS church. Every bishop is expected to provide it in his stake, and every of-age boy and parent is expected to participate at least in that first year. This results in more LDS boys starting scouting, and consequently, more aging out as scouts and earning Eagle in the process. And, obviously, since Utah is noted for its numbers of LDS stakes, it earns those numbers.

      The workings of this are publicly available on LDS and BSA websites, and open, factual discussions on the pros and cons of working the troops in this framework may be found on most forums devoted to scouting.

      P.S. – I am not a Mormon. And have no material or spiritual interest in these clarifications. The only motive is the 1st point of the scout law.

      • Bob is correct.

        Q, I live in Utah, I am Mormon and I am a new Scoutmaster. I was not raised in Utah, and I am an Eagle Scout.

        I have never seen so many merit badge clinics on the council level and on the “Stake” level that a scout can earn so many merit badges quicker than going to scout camp.

        It is not ran by the boys but by the adults and parents. I have a self proclaimed Mormon BSA guru down the street from me that signs off merit badges without the boys doing anything with him. I do not allow my scouts to use him as a councilor anymore. He signed off a “Cooking” merit badge and the scout never cooked anything with him… how is that possible?

        Here in Utah all you have to do for the most part is show up to activities that the adults plan and you rise up thru the ranks and are handed merit badges.

        My troop is getting back to the basics and learning that it is ran by them the Scouts… I am excited to see the changes that are about to happen and see them grow.

  3. As an Eagle from the 70’s, I’ve witnessed what I would consider a watering down of the program. That said, I still see Scouting as not only the best program out there, but it is still effectively getting the points of personal, civic, and environmental responsibility across to the youth of today. Good, bad or indifferent, Scouting still rocks!!!

  4. It seemed like up until 10 or 15 years ago if a boy wanted to make Eagle he worked hard to earn his Eagle.

    Now it seems more that if parents want a boy to make Eagle they threaten and/or bargain with him into working hard to get Eagle.

    • Really? Watered down? How so? Are you implying that new Eagle Scouts didn’t earn it like you did? You sound bitter and I wonder why? Did you research all these new Eagle Scouts? Why would you throw out this theory? Is it based on your impeccable knowledge and wisdom? Did you expect people to appreciate this theory? Why can’t all you critics with your theories of the watered down frauds we allow to lollygag to Eagle just keep your opinions to yourselves EVER? Is it cheerful? helpful?

      These are all rhetorical questions of course and I definitely won’t comment again but this bugged me because…stop judging. The many Eagle Scouts I know are the best! They are not the best because of their official “Eagle” status, but because they are the hard working young men with character and there is nothing watered down about them. The program will never be perfect, just like none of us will ever be perfect.

  5. I am an Unit Commissioner here in Utah. I am in charge of Eagle projects and Board of reviews in my zone. The last ten + boys I’ve had the opportunity to review have been the highest quality young men I’ve ever met. They haven’t had an easy ride through. They did their best and their goals for the future are outstanding! Every boy needs a mentor to help him sometimes keep on track but in the end they earn it.

    • As a leader of 20 years, I see the program changes that are good. I also see the merit badge programs where you have to do little more than show up and someone lectures and you earn the merit badge. The boys earning Eagle are still top notch.

  6. I do see water-downed Eagle Scout projects that shouldn’t have been approved because it was way too easy. It really has to do with how we properly train the scout leaders. But Overall, the Boy Scout program is 2nd to none when it comes to building boys to be virtuous, strong mentally & physically.

  7. I have been with Scouting for the past 9 years and have seen as many Eagles in our Troop (Narragansett Council). The things that I have observed:

    1. BSA has watered the program down. Boards of Review can no longer ask specific skill questions.
    2. BSA and local councils are much more paper-focused. There seems to be be far more attention placed on forms, paperwork, dues, and fundraising than on a quality camping program.
    3. There is definitely an unhealthy emphasis placed on the Eagle rank by parents, who are more concerned with achieving the rank for the resume and not so concerned that their son becomes a well-rounded, honorable young man.
    4. Despite the above, I am hopeful for the future: the quality of the boys and the quality of the local leaders is still top notch: It has been my honor and privilege to serve with some of the finest individuals I’ve ever met. One of my Scouts just finished his project; he restored a memorial, during which he put in close to 100 personal hours, managed 2 town departments, 1 private contractor, 1 community organization, a troop of scouts, miscellaneous vendors all through his senior year of high school

    • The Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review process was never intended to be a re-test. They are more of a quality control check on the program. That being said, you can continue either one of those at a later date, if you feel the Scout has not demonstrated adequate understanding.

  8. “Virgin Islands (Now merged into council No. 82)”
    So where are the “Council No. 82” numbers or is that the # for Puerto Rico?

  9. The Eagle rank is earned through a rigorous process that, if starting from Tiger, can take 12 years. Each boy must earn each rank based on national standards. Having been on the review committee, project proposals are scrutinized and turned down if not difficult enough. I have seen Scouts turned down after their project is complete for missing a step in the process. Troops take pride in their Scouts’ accomplishments because they know what each boy has been through to get there. My son’s project was called the hardest the leaders have been involved with, and nobody told him he could do less work. He chose it, and everyone worked alongside him, encouraging and advising. He earned it as do every Eagle Scout I have known. NCAC Troop 422

  10. Whole lot of complaints and not much constructive feedback. Don’t complain about what you’re not willing to change.

  11. I want to know how many single moms help their sons get to Eagle Scout. I would like that statistic pulled out. Pointed out, because we have to do the work of 2 parents. I am a single mom and we worked very hard side by side, the two of us! His dad chose not to be a part of his life! I am very proud of my son!

  12. Any chance we will see the break down of Eagle Scouts by council for 2016? I always look forward to seeing that list. Thank you for the great blog!

  13. I would be interested in seeing what the numbers look like next year. Last Thursday the LDS Church announced it is pulling boys ages 14 – 18 out of the BSA, and will develop a program better aligned with its values. The article I read mentioned specifically Varsity and Venturing programs, but there are many boys that earn their Eagle within their targeted age range. I received my Eagle two days before my 14th birthday, but have always been under the impression that is more of the exception rather than the rule.

    • Lee Howard – The LDS Church is not pulling boys out of the scouting program at 14.

      They are no longer going to participate in the Venture and Varsity programs. Almost no boys get the Varsity and Venture awards or even do any part of the program. There is very little interest in those programs so why spend the time and money registering boys and leaders into a program that they will not use. As I understand it, they can stay in Scouts until 18 as needed.

      I foresee a huge increase in Eagle ranks this year as parents use this to encourage boys to finish it before the new year.

Join the conversation