Check out the latest official merit badge rankings: 1 to 137

First Aid merit badge extended its reign atop the charts in 2018, while the Exploration, Animation and Bugling merit badges each saw double-digit gains in popularity.

And how’s this for unusual: The exact same number of Scouts earned the Search and Rescue merit badge in 2017 and 2018: 10,107.

Those are just three of the dozens of storylines one can glean from the 2018 merit badge data, released last week by the Boy Scouts of America.

Today, let’s chop, sort and digest those numbers every which way. As always, the goal is to find trends that are interesting and informative.

At the end of this post, I’ll include the raw numbers so you can do your own spreadsheet wizardry. Leave a comment with anything cool you’re able to find.

The Actual Top 10

As usual, every merit badge on this list is required to earn the Eagle Scout award, Scouting’s highest honor.

It makes sense that these would rank highly; they’re the badges the BSA deems most important.

Rank Merit Badge 2018 earned
1 First Aid         69,565
2 Swimming         62,796
3 Citizenship in the World         55,843
4 Environmental Science         54,237
5 Citizenship in the Nation         52,944
6 Communication         51,541
7 Cooking         50,185
8 Camping         49,893
9 Citizenship in the Community         49,863
10 Personal Fitness         49,600

The Alternative Top 10

What happens when we exclude Eagle-required merit badges from the rankings?

When given the choice to earn any of the 120 non-Eagle-required merit badges, which do Scouts prefer?

I think you’ll find a common theme with these 10: They’re offered at most summer camps, giving Scouts an excellent opportunity to complete them.

Rank Merit Badge 2018 earned
1 Fingerprinting        38,239
2 Rifle Shooting        37,695
3 Archery        34,487
4 Leatherwork        33,740
5 Wood Carving        31,910
6 Kayaking        31,362
7 Wilderness Survival        29,392
8 Chess        28,260
9 Canoeing        26,094
10 Fishing        24,688

The Bottom 10

The list excludes Computers (replaced by Digital Technology in 2014) and Cinematography (replaced by Moviemaking in 2013), even though a few Scouts earned each in 2018.

How is that possible? According to the Guide to Advancement, once a Scout starts working on a merit badge, there’s no time limit for finishing — other than the Scout’s 18th birthday.

Some readers will look at the list below and say, “challenge accepted.”

Can you help get your favorite merit badge out of the bottom 10? All it takes is a few motivated merit badge counselors.

Rank Merit Badge 2018 earned
128 Composite Materials       1,646
129 Landscape Architecture        1,495
130 Gardening        1,428
131 Drafting        1,231
132 Journalism        1,153
133 American Labor        1,109
134 Surveying        1,065
135 Stamp Collecting        836
136 (tie) American Business        551
136 (tie) Bugling        551

Who’s up, and who’s down?

One year of numbers can’t tell the whole story. That’s why I like to compare each year’s numbers to the previous year.

When we do that, we discover which merit badges gained and lost popularity year over year.

Top 5 gains

Merit Badge 2017 2018 Rise/Fall
Exploration           2,090           3,351 60.3%
Public Health           1,798           2,382 32.5%
Animation           5,462           6,981 27.8%
Traffic Safety           5,689           7,100 24.8%
Surveying              863           1,065 23.4%

I’m not surprised to see Exploration get such a big jump. As the BSA’s newest merit badge, Exploration should gain in popularity as more Scouts and leaders learn about its existence.

The Animation merit badge, meanwhile, continues its surge up the charts. It has seen double-digit gains in popularity every year since its 2015 debut.

At No. 7 in gains, Bugling merit badge just missed the top 5, but it’s worth mentioning. The badge saw a 21.4 percent popularity jump from 2017 to 2018, meaning that many more campsites were filled with the sweet sounds of bugles last year.

Top 5 losses

Merit Badge 2017 2018 Rise/Fall
Archaeology           6,876           6,056 -11.9%
Stamp Collecting              954              836 -12.4%
Soil and Water Conservation           9,484           8,199 -13.5%
Pulp and Paper           6,879           5,911 -14.1%
Backpacking           3,498           2,295 -34.4%

Once again, I did not include the discontinued Computers and Cinematography merit badges in these calculations.

That’s six straight years of declining numbers for the Backpacking merit badge. To be fair, its requirements are pretty daunting. Scouts must complete three different backpacking treks of at least three days each and at least 15 miles each.

On a personal note, I’m sad to see the Pulp and Paper merit badge here.

I earned that one at the 1997 National Scout Jamboree and still remember the strange thrill of making my own paper by hand. Try that with a Kindle.

What’s my source?

So where did these numbers originate? From Local Council Charter Applications. That means they’re based on the actual number earned, not on sales of the badges. Some troops purchase extra emblems in anticipation of future badge earnings, so sales numbers can mislead.

Special thanks to the BSA’s Lynn Adcock for compiling and providing these numbers each year.

The raw data

WARNING: The following section is for stat geeks only. Do not proceed unless you’re ready to see lots of lots of numbers.

Seriously. You could be scrolling for minutes and dissecting digits for days.

Still with me?

OK, so keep heading down this rabbit hole to find:

  • The complete 2018 rankings
  • Merit badge popularity over the last five years
  • Lifetime rankings from 1911 to 2018
  • Every merit badge ranked by its percent change from 2017 to 2018

The complete 2018 rankings

What the colors mean:

  • Blue: merit badge is required for Eagle
  • Red: merit badge is considered “new” — released in 2014 or later
Rank Merit Badge 2018 earned
1 First Aid         69,565
2 Swimming         62,796
3 Citizenship in the World         55,843
4 Environmental Science         54,237
5 Citizenship in the Nation         52,944
6 Communication         51,541
7 Cooking         50,185
8 Camping         49,893
9 Citizenship in the Community         49,863
10 Personal Fitness         49,600
11 Family Life         48,787
12 Personal Management         48,393
13 Emergency Preparedness         43,063
14 Fingerprinting         38,239
15 Rifle Shooting         37,695
16 Archery         34,487
17 Leatherwork         33,740
18 Wood Carving         31,910
19 Kayaking         31,362
20 Wilderness Survival         29,392
21 Chess         28,260
22 Canoeing         26,094
23 Fishing         24,688
24 Art         21,793
25 Lifesaving         20,952
26 Shotgun Shooting         20,241
27 Space Exploration         19,574
28 Climbing         18,911
29 Mammal Study         17,982
30 Geology         17,242
31 Game Design         16,020
32 Indian Lore         16,003
33 Astronomy         15,531
34 Robotics         15,285
35 Basketry         14,546
36 Photography         14,161
37 Pioneering         14,099
38 Small Boat Sailing         13,886
39 Aviation         13,745
40 Geocaching         12,972
41 Metalwork         12,768
42 Orienteering         12,538
43 Weather         12,430
44 Nature         12,372
45 Engineering         12,280
46 Welding         11,981
47 Music         11,860
48 Fish & Wildlife Management         11,822
49 Fire Safety         11,673
50 Forestry         11,326
51 Chemistry         11,140
52 Automotive Maintenance         10,360
53 Search and Rescue         10,107
54 Electricity           9,979
55 Motor Boating           9,697
56 Moviemaking           9,416
57 Oceanography           9,021
58 Horsemanship           8,837
59 Rowing           8,377
60 Sculpture           8,212
61 Soil and Water Conservation           8,199
62 Pottery           7,890
63 Digital Technology           7,857
64 Electronics           7,731
65 Public Speaking           7,250
66 Sustainability           7,192
67 Signs, Signals and Codes           7,178
68 Traffic Safety           7,100
69 Animation           6,981
70 Snow Sports           6,961
71 Salesmanship           6,936
72 Railroading           6,728
73 Nuclear Science           6,678
74 Sports           6,594
75 Crime Prevention           6,456
76 Hiking           6,362
77 Archaeology           6,056
78 Pulp and Paper           5,911
79 Scouting Heritage           5,901
80 Reptile and Amphibian Study           5,786
81 Cycling           5,671
82 Law           5,656
83 Disabilities Awareness           5,571
84 American Heritage           5,530
85 Radio           5,205
86 Bird Study           5,101
87 Woodwork           4,939
88 Pets           4,890
89 Fly Fishing           4,873
90 Plumbing           4,862
91 Genealogy           4,830
92 Coin Collecting           4,726
93 Programming           4,723
94 Mining in Society           4,650
95 Scholarship           4,433
96 Collections           4,280
97 Architecture           3,881
98 Medicine           3,878
99 Reading           3,873
100 Animal Science           3,769
101 Painting           3,709
102 Home Repairs           3,579
103 Inventing           3,494
104 Entrepreneurship           3,353
105 Exploration           3,351
106 Graphic Arts           3,343
107 Safety           3,322
108 Whitewater           3,199
109 Dentistry           3,110
110 Golf           3,060
111 Dog Care           3,025
112 Water Sports           2,937
113 Athletics           2,808
114 Insect Study           2,716
115 Veterinary Medicine           2,716
116 Model Design and Building           2,674
117 Energy           2,607
118 Plant Science           2,569
119 Textile           2,530
120 American Cultures           2,519
121 Public Health           2,382
122 Truck Transportation           2,313
123 Backpacking           2,295
124 Theater           2,294
125 Farm Mechanics           2,226
126 Scuba Diving           2,036
127 Skating           1,898
128 Composite Materials           1,646
129 Landscape Architecture           1,495
130 Gardening           1,428
131 Drafting           1,231
132 Journalism           1,153
133 American Labor           1,109
134 Surveying           1,065
135 Stamp Collecting              836
136 American Business              551
137 Bugling              551
138 Computers              202
139 Cinematography                  1

Merit badge popularity over the last five years

Sorted alphabetically.

Merit Badge 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
American Business 650              587              627              613              551
American Cultures 2,174           2,233           2,218           2,298           2,519
American Heritage 5,333           5,599           4,952           5,496           5,530
American Labor 992           1,106              812              901           1,109
Animal Science 4,042           4,414           3,852           3,848           3,769
Animation           1,099           4,637           5,462           6,981
Archaeology 8,652           7,590           7,388           6,876           6,056
Archery 43,238         41,879         39,419         35,301         34,487
Architecture 4,019           3,362           3,230           3,654           3,881
Art 25,438         24,374         22,990         21,567         21,793
Astronomy 15,758         16,706         16,355         15,702         15,531
Athletics 3,241           3,604           3,125           2,754           2,808
Automotive Maintenance 9,763           9,961         10,748         10,205         10,360
Aviation 17,522         15,170         14,477         14,347         13,745
Backpacking 4,169           3,973           3,963           3,498           2,295
Basketry 17,531         17,158         15,282         15,406         14,546
Bird Study 5,641           5,587           5,199           4,965           5,101
Bugling 606              492              479              454              551
Camping* 54,265         54,342         53,534         50,871         49,893
Canoeing 31,833         29,461         28,288         26,052         26,094
Chemistry 10,594         10,560         10,865         10,248         11,140
Chess 25,266         27,235         27,416         26,919         28,260
Cinematography 4,026           1,260              841              231                  1
Citizenship in the Community* 51,728         52,071         51,975         48,736         49,863
Citizenship in the Nation* 56,490         57,161         57,919         52,949         52,944
Citizenship in the World* 61,303         60,171         59,363         55,917         55,843
Climbing 23,200         21,574         21,171         18,356         18,911
Coin Collecting 5,303           4,715           4,135           3,930           4,726
Collections 4,295           4,004           3,753           4,140           4,280
Communication* 54,081         55,738         53,367         50,503         51,541
Composite Materials 1,614           2,183           1,597           1,407           1,646
Computers 12,973           1,686              354              207              202
Cooking* 99,908         67,691         55,841         51,004         50,185
Crime Prevention 6,917           6,581           6,178           6,721           6,456
Cycling** 6,268           6,626           6,334           5,742           5,671
Dentistry 3,416           3,485           2,910           3,135           3,110
Digital Technology 3,014           9,383           9,344           8,768           7,857
Disabilities Awareness 6,204           6,153           5,833           5,239           5,571
Dog Care 2,955           2,666           2,414           2,661           3,025
Drafting 1,318           1,339           1,168           1,119           1,231
Electricity 10,460         10,035           9,762           9,245           9,979
Electronics 8,860           8,352           7,814           7,524           7,731
Emergency Preparedness*** 46,069         47,879         47,004         43,351         43,063
Energy 3,669           3,190           2,955           2,749           2,607
Engineering 11,624         11,735         11,429         11,773         12,280
Entrepreneurship 2,496           2,927           3,365           3,473           3,353
Environmental Science**** 67,218         63,783         60,026         55,703         54,237
Exploration                –                –           2,090           3,351
Family Life* 49,516         51,008         50,177         48,774         48,787
Farm Mechanics 2,486           2,244           2,368           2,307           2,226
Fingerprinting 43,820         43,743         40,700         38,989         38,239
Fire Safety 12,395         12,782         12,257         11,746         11,673
First Aid* 80,917         80,716         75,256         69,563         69,565
Fish & Wildlife Management 13,749         13,164         12,647         11,615         11,822
Fishing 28,119         26,050         25,256         24,343         24,688
Fly Fishing 4,537           3,981           4,577           4,597           4,873
Forestry 14,465         12,905         12,519         11,456         11,326
Game Design 11,853         12,313         13,689         13,810         16,020
Gardening 1,641           1,582           1,375           1,450           1,428
Genealogy 5,474           5,316           4,570           5,213           4,830
Geocaching 16,785         15,582         15,210         12,604         12,972
Geology 21,282         22,180         18,516         18,674         17,242
Golf 3,955           3,826           3,605           3,248           3,060
Graphic Arts 3,189           3,356           3,251           3,066           3,343
Hiking** 7,344           6,967           7,485           7,084           6,362
Home Repairs 3,866           3,288           3,325           3,432           3,579
Horsemanship 11,905         10,878           9,457           8,641           8,837
Indian Lore 22,997         22,241         18,234         17,003         16,003
Insect Study 3,164           3,550           2,341           2,644           2,716
Inventing 2,902           3,369           2,834           3,296           3,494
Journalism 955           1,037              970           1,127           1,153
Kayaking 35,533         34,054         33,137         30,466         31,362
Landscape Architecture 1,496           1,434           1,494           1,483           1,495
Law 5,463           5,633           5,226           5,402           5,656
Leatherwork 42,565         40,805         37,920         35,490         33,740
Lifesaving*** 24,474         23,983         22,382         20,748         20,952
Mammal Study 24,060         23,427         21,303         18,715         17,982
Medicine 3,725           3,807           3,767           3,561           3,878
Metalwork 12,949         12,340         12,639         12,990         12,768
Mining in Society 3,519           4,613           4,224           4,673           4,650
Model Design and Building 2,612           2,795           2,770           2,564           2,674
Motor Boating 10,748           9,880           9,515           9,517           9,697
Moviemaking 6,195         10,064         10,851           9,262           9,416
Music 12,903         12,369         11,689         10,592         11,860
Nature 15,046         14,679         13,635         11,586         12,372
Nuclear Science 6,657           6,728           7,005           6,702           6,678
Oceanography 9,991           9,892           8,499           7,763           9,021
Orienteering 16,871         15,642         13,753         11,742         12,538
Painting 4,346           4,245           3,829           3,222           3,709
Personal Fitness* 50,693         52,499         52,079         50,428         49,600
Personal Management* 48,299         51,105         50,251         49,287         48,393
Pets 4,821           4,645           4,278           4,289           4,890
Photography 17,804         16,931         15,142         13,550         14,161
Pioneering 18,117         17,341         15,959         13,870         14,099
Plant Science 2,680           2,922           2,363           2,107           2,569
Plumbing 4,982           4,960           4,510           4,398           4,862
Pottery 9,050           8,384           8,230           7,940           7,890
Programming 2,970           3,577           4,085           4,138           4,723
Public Health 1,821           1,780           1,837           1,798           2,382
Public Speaking 7,091           7,793           7,497           7,035           7,250
Pulp and Paper 6,250           7,379           6,081           6,879           5,911
Radio 6,665           6,709           6,442           5,840           5,205
Railroading 6,694           7,651           6,599           6,663           6,728
Reading 4,712           4,179           3,574           3,524           3,873
Reptile and Amphibian Study 7,547           6,700           6,411           6,053           5,786
Rifle Shooting 45,839         43,196         41,444         37,796         37,695
Robotics 13,708         13,700         14,264         15,031         15,285
Rowing 10,557           9,995           9,408           8,239           8,377
Safety 3,778           3,937           4,267           3,280           3,322
Salesmanship 6,648           6,412           6,031           5,908           6,936
Scholarship 5,362           4,911           4,316           4,171           4,433
Scouting Heritage 5,572           5,558           5,266           5,916           5,901
Scuba Diving 1,989           2,135           1,792           1,842           2,036
Sculpture 9,887         10,042           8,900           8,715           8,212
Search and Rescue 12,359         11,725         10,361         10,107         10,107
Shotgun Shooting 23,970         21,895         20,912         19,703         20,241
Signs, Signals and Codes           3,453           8,025           7,364           7,178
Skating 2,010           1,972           1,953           1,785           1,898
Small Boat Sailing 16,511         15,092         14,108         14,182         13,886
Snow Sports 8,227           7,251           7,177           7,267           6,961
Soil and Water Conservation 11,296         10,437         10,341           9,484           8,199
Space Exploration 22,625         21,607         20,137         18,994         19,574
Sports 8,032           8,272           7,626           6,556           6,594
Stamp Collecting 863              996              793              954              836
Surveying 1,065              879           1,028              863           1,065
Sustainability **** 5,428           6,625           6,813           7,295           7,192
Swimming** 72,503         71,821         67,446         62,057         62,796
Textile 3,694           3,225           2,480           2,205           2,530
Theater 2,273           2,665           2,543           2,332           2,294
Traffic Safety 7,088           5,604           6,072           5,689           7,100
Truck Transportation 2,182           2,157           2,391           2,466           2,313
Veterinary Medicine 2,875           2,764           2,580           2,451           2,716
Water Sports 3,594           3,389           3,123           2,966           2,937
Weather 15,846         14,622         12,665         12,690         12,430
Welding 11,061         11,019         10,737         10,656         11,981
Whitewater 3,565           2,888           3,476           2,832           3,199
Wilderness Survival 40,395         37,581         35,221         30,814         29,392
Wood Carving 38,749         36,890         34,938         32,943         31,910
Woodwork 5,198           5,242           4,975           5,212           4,939
 Total    2,077,550    2,011,860    1,919,912    1,813,834    1,822,137

* On required list for Eagle Rank

** Required for Eagle (must complete Cycling, Hiking or Swimming)

*** Required for Eagle (must complete Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving)

**** Required for Eagle (must complete Environmental Science or Sustainability)

Lifetime rankings from 1911 to 2018

Two notes:

  1. This list includes only merit badges that could be earned in 2018. Sorry, but that means Poultry Farming merit badge didn’t make the cut.
  2. The rankings are interesting but don’t tell the whole story. A merit badge released more recently will rank lower than one of the original 1911 merit badges. For example, Home Repairs is No. 17 lifetime, but it was released in 1943. Kayaking is nearly nine times more popular today, but it’s only been around for six years.
Rank Merit Badge 1911 to 2018
1 First Aid*        7,277,000
2 Swimming**        6,578,887
3 Camping*        4,871,352
4 Cooking*        4,563,082
5 Citizenship in the Community*        3,664,401
6 Citizenship in the Nation*        3,425,710
7 Canoeing        3,133,529
8 Lifesaving***        3,125,473
9 Safety        2,949,820
10 Environmental Science****        2,946,336
11 Personal Fitness*        2,703,833
12 Fire Safety        2,656,110
13 Leatherwork        2,595,034
14 Basketry        2,502,267
15 Citizenship in the World*        2,500,053
16 Pioneering        2,474,477
17 Home Repairs        2,428,794
18 Wood Carving        2,424,339
19 Communication*        2,267,277
20 Fishing        2,089,286
21 Emergency Preparedness***        2,018,626
22 Personal Management*        2,011,022
23 Fingerprinting        1,836,069
24 Wilderness Survival        1,768,336
25 Archery        1,754,930
26 Rowing        1,753,857
27 Nature        1,717,714
28 Public Health        1,525,442
29 Reading        1,498,194
30 Rifle Shooting        1,488,110
31 Art        1,399,534
32 Music        1,365,267
33 Family Life*        1,359,091
34 Hiking**        1,358,115
35 Scholarship        1,294,545
36 Mammal Study        1,276,775
37 Indian Lore        1,271,349
38 Forestry        1,199,151
39 Metalwork        1,185,376
40 Sports        1,174,437
41 Soil and Water Conservation        1,160,706
42 Athletics        1,077,296
43 Woodwork           992,294
44 Orienteering           870,816
45 Electricity           843,826
46 Geology           723,734
47 Small Boat Sailing           709,577
48 Astronomy           703,548
49 Fish & Wildlife Management           702,456
50 Horsemanship           679,532
51 Pets           676,765
52 Reptile and Amphibian Study           673,052
53 Public Speaking           672,078
54 Aviation           662,236
55 Space Exploration           640,183
56 Weather           630,365
57 Motor Boating           624,947
58 Bird Study           603,037
59 Shotgun Shooting           603,031
60 Cycling**           599,551
61 Painting           577,129
62 Photography           565,293
63 Computers           521,257
64 Coin Collecting           514,650
65 Climbing           496,522
66 Snow Sports           479,874
67 Dog Care           442,228
68 Pottery           416,395
69 Plumbing           410,108
70 Gardening           393,348
71 Chemistry           393,276
72 Stamp Collecting           393,086
73 Salesmanship           350,117
74 Sculpture           338,277
75 Oceanography           323,521
76 Railroading           264,996
77 Water Sports           262,469
78 Genealogy           251,567
79 Electronics           247,926
80 Model Design and Building           230,979
81 Architecture           230,572
82 Farm Mechanics           229,947
83 Drafting           229,515
84 Backpacking           228,005
85 Kayaking           222,534
86 Automotive Maintenance           208,359
87 Law           206,682
88 Nuclear Science           200,849
89 Chess           197,711
90 Radio           196,678
91 Engineering           193,753
92 Archaeology           183,900
93 Traffic Safety           182,036
94 Skating           180,968
95 Golf           180,509
96 American Heritage           180,398
97 Insect Study           176,334
98 Bugling           172,050
99 Crime Prevention           162,604
100 Collections           158,035
101 Surveying           155,483
102 Textile           153,450
103 Dentistry           148,024
104 Truck Transportation           146,904
105 Disabilities Awareness           144,272
106 Pulp and Paper           140,857
107 Geocaching           132,847
108 Journalism           110,669
109 Cinematography           106,448
110 Robotics           104,058
111 Whitewater           100,847
112 Theater             93,496
113 Energy             91,894
114 Landscape Architecture             87,617
115 Medicine             87,561
116 Veterinary Medicine             86,596
117 American Cultures             77,037
118 Animal Science             76,960
119 Welding             70,395
120 Game Design             70,342
121 Search and Rescue             65,936
122 Graphic Arts             63,959
123 American Business             55,518
124 Plant Science             54,762
125 Scouting Heritage             49,488
126 Moviemaking             45,788
127 Fly Fishing             45,207
128 Digital Technology             38,366
129 Entrepreneurship             35,560
130 Sustainability ****             33,943
131 American Labor             26,736
132 Signs, Signals and Codes             26,020
133 Inventing             24,086
134 Mining in Society             21,679
135 Scuba Diving             20,865
136 Composite Materials             20,078
137 Programming             19,973
138 Animation             18,179
139 Exploration               5,441

Every merit badge ranked by its percent change from 2017 to 2018

 

Merit Badge 2017 2018 Rise/Fall
Exploration           2,090           3,351 60.3%
Public Health           1,798           2,382 32.5%
Animation           5,462           6,981 27.8%
Traffic Safety           5,689           7,100 24.8%
Surveying              863           1,065 23.4%
American Labor              901           1,109 23.1%
Plant Science           2,107           2,569 21.9%
Bugling              454              551 21.4%
Coin Collecting           3,930           4,726 20.3%
Salesmanship           5,908           6,936 17.4%
Composite Materials           1,407           1,646 17.0%
Oceanography           7,763           9,021 16.2%
Game Design         13,810         16,020 16.0%
Painting           3,222           3,709 15.1%
Textile           2,205           2,530 14.7%
Programming           4,138           4,723 14.1%
Pets           4,289           4,890 14.0%
Dog Care           2,661           3,025 13.7%
Whitewater           2,832           3,199 13.0%
Welding         10,656         11,981 12.4%
Music         10,592         11,860 12.0%
Veterinary Medicine           2,451           2,716 10.8%
Plumbing           4,398           4,862 10.6%
Scuba Diving           1,842           2,036 10.5%
Drafting           1,119           1,231 10.0%
Reading           3,524           3,873 9.9%
American Cultures           2,298           2,519 9.6%
Graphic Arts           3,066           3,343 9.0%
Medicine           3,561           3,878 8.9%
Chemistry         10,248         11,140 8.7%
Electricity           9,245           9,979 7.9%
Nature         11,586         12,372 6.8%
Orienteering         11,742         12,538 6.8%
Disabilities Awareness           5,239           5,571 6.3%
Skating           1,785           1,898 6.3%
Scholarship           4,171           4,433 6.3%
Architecture           3,654           3,881 6.2%
Inventing           3,296           3,494 6.0%
Fly Fishing           4,597           4,873 6.0%
Chess         26,919         28,260 5.0%
Law           5,402           5,656 4.7%
Photography         13,550         14,161 4.5%
Engineering         11,773         12,280 4.3%
Model Design and Building           2,564           2,674 4.3%
Home Repairs           3,432           3,579 4.3%
Collections           4,140           4,280 3.4%
Public Speaking           7,035           7,250 3.1%
Space Exploration         18,994         19,574 3.1%
Climbing         18,356         18,911 3.0%
Kayaking         30,466         31,362 2.9%
Geocaching         12,604         12,972 2.9%
Electronics           7,524           7,731 2.8%
Bird Study           4,965           5,101 2.7%
Shotgun Shooting         19,703         20,241 2.7%
Insect Study           2,644           2,716 2.7%
Citizenship in the Community*         48,736         49,863 2.3%
Journalism           1,127           1,153 2.3%
Horsemanship           8,641           8,837 2.3%
Communication*         50,503         51,541 2.1%
Athletics           2,754           2,808 2.0%
Motor Boating           9,517           9,697 1.9%
Fish & Wildlife Management         11,615         11,822 1.8%
Robotics         15,031         15,285 1.7%
Rowing           8,239           8,377 1.7%
Moviemaking           9,262           9,416 1.7%
Pioneering         13,870         14,099 1.7%
Automotive Maintenance         10,205         10,360 1.5%
Fishing         24,343         24,688 1.4%
Safety           3,280           3,322 1.3%
Swimming**         62,057         62,796 1.2%
Art         21,567         21,793 1.0%
Lifesaving***         20,748         20,952 1.0%
Railroading           6,663           6,728 1.0%
Landscape Architecture           1,483           1,495 0.8%
American Heritage           5,496           5,530 0.6%
Sports           6,556           6,594 0.6%
Canoeing         26,052         26,094 0.2%
Family Life*         48,774         48,787 0.0%
First Aid*         69,563         69,565 0.0%
Search and Rescue         10,107         10,107 0.0%
Citizenship in the Nation*         52,949         52,944 0.0%
Citizenship in the World*         55,917         55,843 -0.1%
Scouting Heritage           5,916           5,901 -0.3%
Rifle Shooting         37,796         37,695 -0.3%
Nuclear Science           6,702           6,678 -0.4%
Mining in Society           4,673           4,650 -0.5%
Fire Safety         11,746         11,673 -0.6%
Pottery           7,940           7,890 -0.6%
Emergency Preparedness***         43,351         43,063 -0.7%
Dentistry           3,135           3,110 -0.8%
Water Sports           2,966           2,937 -1.0%
Astronomy         15,702         15,531 -1.1%
Forestry         11,456         11,326 -1.1%
Cycling**           5,742           5,671 -1.2%
Sustainability ****           7,295           7,192 -1.4%
Gardening           1,450           1,428 -1.5%
Cooking*         51,004         50,185 -1.6%
Theater           2,332           2,294 -1.6%
Personal Fitness*         50,428         49,600 -1.6%
Metalwork         12,990         12,768 -1.7%
Personal Management*         49,287         48,393 -1.8%
Camping*         50,871         49,893 -1.9%
Fingerprinting         38,989         38,239 -1.9%
Weather         12,690         12,430 -2.0%
Animal Science           3,848           3,769 -2.1%
Small Boat Sailing         14,182         13,886 -2.1%
Archery         35,301         34,487 -2.3%
Computers              207              202 -2.4%
Signs, Signals and Codes           7,364           7,178 -2.5%
Environmental Science****         55,703         54,237 -2.6%
Wood Carving         32,943         31,910 -3.1%
Entrepreneurship           3,473           3,353 -3.5%
Farm Mechanics           2,307           2,226 -3.5%
Mammal Study         18,715         17,982 -3.9%
Crime Prevention           6,721           6,456 -3.9%
Aviation         14,347         13,745 -4.2%
Snow Sports           7,267           6,961 -4.2%
Reptile and Amphibian Study           6,053           5,786 -4.4%
Wilderness Survival         30,814         29,392 -4.6%
Leatherwork         35,490         33,740 -4.9%
Energy           2,749           2,607 -5.2%
Woodwork           5,212           4,939 -5.2%
Basketry         15,406         14,546 -5.6%
Sculpture           8,715           8,212 -5.8%
Golf           3,248           3,060 -5.8%
Indian Lore         17,003         16,003 -5.9%
Truck Transportation           2,466           2,313 -6.2%
Genealogy           5,213           4,830 -7.3%
Geology         18,674         17,242 -7.7%
American Business              613              551 -10.1%
Hiking**           7,084           6,362 -10.2%
Radio           5,840           5,205 -10.9%
Archaeology           6,876           6,056 -11.9%
Stamp Collecting              954              836 -12.4%
Soil and Water Conservation           9,484           8,199 -13.5%
Pulp and Paper           6,879           5,911 -14.1%
Backpacking           3,498           2,295 -34.4%
About Bryan Wendell 2891 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.