2020 merit badge rankings: A list rewritten by the pandemic

Scouts found safe ways to camp in 2020, helping the Camping merit badge remain in the top 10. But all that time spent at home with families helped a new merit badge become No. 1. (BSA file photo)

The pandemic didn’t stop Scouts from earning merit badges in 2020, but it did cause a dramatic shift in which merit badges Scouts earned most.

Ever since we started publishing merit badge rankings back in 2012, the top of the list has been dominated by merit badges that are both:

  1. On the list of Eagle-required merit badges.
  2. Offered at most council summer camps.

But everything changed in 2020.

With the majority of summer camps not operating, the popularity of those merit badges fell. In their place, we saw an unprecedented rise in the popularity of merit badges that can be earned at home, often with a Scout’s family.

Eagle-required merit badges still dominated, accounting for all 13 of the top 13. But instead of traditional top-of-the-list merit badges like First AidSwimming or Cooking, we had a new No. 1 in 2020.

That was Family Life, which jumped nine spots from its No. 10 ranking last year.

Speaking of newcomers, all three citizenship merit badges (Citizenship in the Nation, Citizenship in the World and Citizenship in the Community) found their way into the top five for the first time, as did Personal Management.

We can also learn a lot from which merit badges saw the biggest jumps in popularity from 2019 to 2020. In a true “sign of the times” moment, the merit badges with the biggest percentage increases were Public Health (up 359%), American Business (up 238%) and Safety (up 97%). The whole list of “ups and downs” is fascinating, so be sure to look for that below.

The other side of the list holds some interesting nuggets, too. The merit badges with the biggest drops in popularity from 2019 to 2020 were Small Boat Sailing (down 76%), Rowing (down 71%) and Lifesaving (down 70%).

More than 1.1 million merit badges were earned in 2020 — and there’s a story behind each one. Let’s look more closely at the numbers.

The actual top 10

Each merit badge in 2020’s top 10 has something in common: it’s required to earn the Eagle Scout award, Scouts BSA’s highest honor.

The BSA didn’t select its Eagle-required badges at random. Together, they represent a set of essential skills for life.

Rank Merit Badge 2020 earned 2019 rank
1 Family Life 48,408 10
2 Citizenship in the Nation 43,247 8
3 Citizenship in the World 42,738 4
4 Citizenship in the Community 41,987 11
5 Personal Management 40,897 7
6 Personal Fitness 40,355 5
7 Communication 36,675 9
8 Cooking 36,473 6
9 First Aid 31,636 1
10 Camping 30,490 3

The alternative top 10

What happens if we eliminate the Eagle-required merit badges from the list?

Typically, we’re left with 10 merit badges commonly offered at summer camp. But not in 2020.

Rank Merit Badge 2020 earned
1 Fingerprinting 18,898
2 Chess 15,454
3 Art 13,953
4 Fishing 13,601
5 Photography 11,618
6 Wilderness Survival 11,604
7 Public Health 11,510
8 Kayaking 11,083
9 Rifle Shooting 11,081
10 Leatherwork 10,855

Notice a trend? These are merit badges Scouts could earn at home, perhaps while spending quality time with their parents and siblings.

The bottom 10

Put an asterisk by these 10, which did nothing to deserve their spots at the bottom of 2020’s rankings. Many of these merit badges will bounce back once the pandemic ends.

Rank Merit Badge 2020 earned 2019 rank
128 Farm Mechanics 1,424 121
129 Landscape Architecture 1,400 130
130 Model Design and Building 1,359 115
131 Scuba Diving 1,323 127
132 Stamp Collecting 1,278 136
133 Water Sports 1,064 116
134 Drafting 1,026 132
135 Composite Materials 1,011 131
136 Surveying 603 135
137 Bugling 476 137

The ups and downs

Some merit badges, like food delivery companies, saw their stock rise during the pandemic. Others were not so fortunate.

These were the top 10 gains and losses from 2019 to 2020.

Top 10 Gains

Merit Badge 2019 2020 Percent change
Public Health 2,507 11,510 359%
American Business 1,468 4,967 238%
Safety 3,208 6,305 97%
Gardening 1,440 2,782 93%
Pets 5,130 8,333 62%
Collections 4,060 6,429 58%
Genealogy 4,096 6,020 47%
American Labor 1,298 1,892 46%
Stamp Collecting 919 1,278 39%
Scholarship 5,442 7,287 34%

Takeaways:

  • Two of the most dominant news stories in 2020 were COVID-19 and its effect on businesses. So we shouldn’t be surprised to see Public Health and American Business on this list.
  • While people have remained at home to avoid spreading the virus, Scouts and their families have been able to take up Gardening, spend more time with their Pets and work on building new Collections.
  • Genealogy was on last year’s list of the Top 10 Drops. It was down 15%, meaning it had quite a rebound in 2020.

Top 10 Drops

Merit Badge 2019 2020 Percent Change
Metalwork 12,586 4,273 -66%
Pottery 8,566 2,842 -67%
Wood Carving 28,599 9,430 -67%
Archery 31,934 10,487 -67%
Rifle Shooting 34,049 11,081 -67%
Motor Boating 8,298 2,638 -68%
Shotgun Shooting 18,576 5,631 -70%
Lifesaving 19,444 5,842 -70%
Rowing 7,189 2,118 -71%
Small Boat Sailing 13,202 3,142 -76%

Takeaways:

  • All 10 of these merit badges are offered at many council camps, which partly explains their decline in popularity last year.
  • That’s two straight years on this list of Top 10 Drops for Rowing and Motor Boating. Boating aficionados, consider this a friendly challenge to become a merit badge counselor and get those numbers up.
  • You know what isn’t on this list? Bugling, which actually saw a modest 5% increase from 2019 to 2020 after years of decline. Buglers, go ahead and toot your own horn.

What’s the source?

The data comes 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 Garfield Murden for supplying the numbers.

The raw data

If you’ve made it this far in the post, you might be looking for the complete rankings. I should warn you that this information is only for the geekiest of geeks like me — people unfazed by line after line of merit badge data.

You’ve been warned. Keep scrolling to find:

  • The complete 2020 rankings
  • Merit badge popularity over the last five years
  • Lifetime rankings from 1911 to 2020
  • Every merit badge ranked by its percent change from 2019 to 2020

The complete 2020 rankings

What the colors mean:

  • Blue: merit badge is required for Eagle
  • Red: merit badge is considered “new” — released in 2015 or later
Rank Merit Badge Earned
1 Family Life 48,408
2 Citizenship in the Nation 43,247
3 Citizenship in the World 42,738
4 Citizenship in the Community 41,987
5 Personal Management 40,897
6 Personal Fitness 40,355
7 Communication 36,675
8 Cooking 36,473
9 First Aid 31,636
10 Camping 30,490
11 Emergency Preparedness 24,733
12 Environmental Science 23,571
13 Swimming 21,220
14 Fingerprinting 18,898
15 Chess 15,454
16 Art 13,953
17 Fishing 13,601
18 Photography 11,618
19 Wilderness Survival 11,604
20 Public Health 11,510
21 Kayaking 11,083
22 Rifle Shooting 11,081
23 Leatherwork 10,855
24 Archery 10,487
25 Music 10,069
26 Canoeing 9,853
27 Wood Carving 9,430
28 Weather 9,215
29 Digital Technology 8,812
30 Space Exploration 8,750
31 Sustainability 8,477
32 Pets 8,333
33 Aviation 8,064
34 Fire Safety 7,918
35 Mammal Study 7,845
36 Engineering 7,800
37 Game Design 7,740
38 Geology 7,484
39 Astronomy 7,474
40 Basketry 7,388
41 Scholarship 7,287
42 Indian Lore 7,240
43 Climbing 7,228
44 Chemistry 7,166
45 Automotive Maintenance 7,108
46 American Heritage 6,700
47 Scouting Heritage 6,517
48 Collections 6,429
49 Disabilities Awareness 6,334
50 Safety 6,305
51 Electricity 6,235
52 Pioneering 6,129
53 Nature 6,056
54 Genealogy 6,020
55 Hiking 5,977
56 Law 5,962
57 Snow Sports 5,860
58 Lifesaving 5,842
59 Geocaching 5,811
60 Moviemaking 5,779
61 Traffic Safety 5,758
62 Reading 5,635
63 Shotgun Shooting 5,631
64 Crime Prevention 5,628
65 Public Speaking 5,570
66 Robotics 5,452
67 Orienteering 5,337
68 Cycling 5,247
69 Salesmanship 5,121
70 Soil and Water Conservation 5,067
71 American Business 4,967
72 Fish & Wildlife Management 4,874
73 Horsemanship 4,798
74 Welding 4,709
75 Coin Collecting 4,639
76 Signs, Signals, and Codes 4,580
77 Programming 4,473
78 Animation 4,445
79 Oceanography 4,442
80 Metalwork 4,273
81 Forestry 4,269
82 Dog Care 4,136
83 Railroading 4,105
84 Search and Rescue 4,082
85 Electronics 4,063
86 Pulp and Paper 4,054
87 Bird Study 3,950
88 Mining in Society 3,789
89 Sports 3,557
90 Radio 3,550
91 Reptile and Amphibian Study 3,526
92 Nuclear Science 3,493
93 Home Repairs 3,442
94 Entrepreneurship 3,284
95 Medicine 3,278
96 Sculpture 3,188
97 Painting 3,163
98 Small Boat Sailing 3,142
99 Woodwork 3,066
100 American Cultures 2,906
101 Pottery 2,842
102 Gardening 2,782
103 Animal Science 2,778
104 Plumbing 2,761
105 Architecture 2,734
106 Archaeology 2,671
107 Motor Boating 2,638
108 Veterinary Medicine 2,552
109 Fly Fishing 2,439
110 Golf 2,369
111 Graphic Arts 2,228
112 Energy 2,162
113 Rowing 2,118
114 Truck Transportation 1,991
115 Textile 1,929
116 Dentistry 1,924
117 American Labor 1,892
118 Inventing 1,833
119 Insect Study 1,734
120 Skating 1,700
121 Plant Science 1,653
122 Backpacking 1,640
123 Theater 1,592
124 Athletics 1,557
125 Journalism 1,516
126 Whitewater 1,508
127 Exploration 1,464
128 Farm Mechanics 1,424
129 Landscape Architecture 1,400
130 Model Design and Building 1,359
131 Scuba Diving 1,323
132 Stamp Collecting 1,278
133 Water Sports 1,064
134 Drafting 1,026
135 Composite Materials 1,011
136 Surveying 603
137 Bugling 476

Merit badge numbers over the last five years

I offer this alphabetically sorted list in case you want to complete your own data analysis. I ask that if you find something interesting, you share it in the comments below!

Merit Badge 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
American Business 627 613 551 1,468 4,967
American Cultures 2,218 2,298 2,519 3,089 2,906
American Heritage 4,952 5,496 5,530 5,454 6,700
American Labor 812 901 1,109 1,298 1,892
Animal Science 3,852 3,848 3,769 4,155 2,778
Animation 4,637 5,462 6,981 7,193 4,445
Archaeology 7,388 6,876 6,056 5,722 2,671
Archery 39,419 35,301 34,487 31,934 10,487
Architecture 3,230 3,654 3,881 4,016 2,734
Art 22,990 21,567 21,793 23,074 13,953
Astronomy 16,355 15,702 15,531 16,473 7,474
Athletics 3,125 2,754 2,808 2,844 1,557
Automotive Maintenance 10,748 10,205 10,360 10,489 7,108
Aviation 14,477 14,347 13,745 14,227 8,064
Backpacking 3,963 3,498 2,295 4,079 1,640
Basketry 15,282 15,406 14,546 14,216 7,388
Bird Study 5,199 4,965 5,101 5,629 3,950
Bugling 479 454 551 453 476
Camping 53,534 50,871 49,893 52,328 30,490
Canoeing 28,288 26,052 26,094 22,734 9,853
Chemistry 10,865 10,248 11,140 11,745 7,166
Chess 27,416 26,919 28,260 25,999 15,454
Cinematography 841 231 1 0 0
Citizenship in the Community 51,975 48,736 49,863 46,750 41,987
Citizenship in the Nation 57,919 52,949 52,944 48,182 43,247
Citizenship in the World 59,363 55,917 55,843 50,700 42,738
Climbing 21,171 18,356 18,911 17,305 7,228
Coin Collecting 4,135 3,930 4,726 4,822 4,639
Collections 3,753 4,140 4,280 4,060 6,429
Communication 53,367 50,503 51,541 48,117 36,675
Composite Materials 1,597 1,407 1,646 1,383 1,011
Computers 354 207 202 72 0
Cooking 55,841 51,004 50,185 49,039 36,473
Crime Prevention 6,178 6,721 6,456 6,517 5,628
Cycling 6,334 5,742 5,671 5,503 5,247
Dentistry 2,910 3,135 3,110 2,433 1,924
Digital Technology 9,344 8,768 7,857 7,096 8,812
Disabilities Awareness 5,833 5,239 5,571 5,933 6,334
Dog Care 2,414 2,661 3,025 3,151 4,136
Drafting 1,168 1,119 1,231 1,364 1,026
Electricity 9,762 9,245 9,979 9,383 6,235
Electronics 7,814 7,524 7,731 7,204 4,063
Emergency Preparedness 47,004 43,351 43,063 39,022 24,733
Energy 2,955 2,749 2,607 2,727 2,162
Engineering 11,429 11,773 12,280 12,184 7,800
Entrepreneurship 3,365 3,473 3,353 3,410 3,284
Environmental Science 60,026 55,703 54,237 46,202 23,571
Exploration 0 2,090 3,351 3,107 1,464
Family Life 50,177 48,774 48,787 47,788 48,408
Farm Mechanics 2,368 2,307 2,226 2,500 1,424
Fingerprinting 40,700 38,989 38,239 36,510 18,898
Fire Safety 12,257 11,746 11,673 11,045 7,918
First Aid 75,256 69,563 69,565 62,352 31,636
Fish & Wildlife Management 12,647 11,615 11,822 10,676 4,874
Fishing 25,256 24,343 24,688 23,589 13,601
Fly Fishing 4,577 4,597 4,872 5,005 2,439
Forestry 12,519 11,456 11,326 10,299 4,269
Game Design 13,689 13,810 16,020 14,424 7,740
Gardening 1,375 1,450 1,428 1,440 2,782
Genealogy 4,570 5,213 4,830 4,096 6,020
Geocaching 15,210 12,604 12,972 11,271 5,811
Geology 18,516 18,674 17,242 16,041 7,484
Golf 3,605 3,248 3,060 2,959 2,369
Graphic Arts 3,251 3,066 3,343 3,178 2,228
Hiking 7,485 7,084 6,362 6,865 5,977
Home Repairs 3,325 3,432 3,579 3,193 3,442
Horsemanship 9,457 8,641 8,837 9,515 4,798
Indian Lore 18,234 17,003 16,003 13,530 7,240
Insect Study 2,341 2,644 2,716 2,392 1,734
Inventing 2,834 3,296 3,494 3,259 1,833
Journalism 970 1,127 1,153 1,283 1,516
Kayaking 33,137 30,466 31,362 28,093 11,083
Landscape Architecture 1,494 1,483 1,495 1,395 1,400
Law 5,226 5,402 5,656 5,681 5,962
Leatherwork 37,920 35,490 33,740 31,397 10,855
Lifesaving 22,382 20,748 20,952 19,444 5,842
Mammal Study 21,303 18,715 17,982 17,799 7,845
Medicine 3,767 3,561 3,878 3,758 3,278
Metalwork 12,639 12,990 12,768 12,586 4,273
Mining in Society 4,224 4,673 4,650 3,929 3,789
Model Design and Building 2,770 2,564 2,674 2,770 1,359
Motor Boating 9,515 9,517 9,697 8,298 2,638
Moviemaking 10,851 9,262 9,416 9,738 5,779
Music 11,689 10,592 11,860 12,882 10,069
Nature 13,635 11,586 12,372 14,150 6,056
Nuclear Science 7,005 6,702 6,678 6,623 3,493
Oceanography 8,499 7,763 9,021 8,460 4,442
Orienteering 13,753 11,742 12,538 12,249 5,337
Painting 3,829 3,222 3,709 4,486 3,163
Personal Fitness 52,079 50,428 49,600 49,802 40,355
Personal Management 50,251 49,287 48,393 48,464 40,897
Pets 4,278 4,289 4,890 5,130 8,333
Photography 15,142 13,550 14,161 14,057 11,618
Pioneering 15,959 13,870 14,099 12,282 6,129
Plant Science 2,363 2,107 2,569 2,041 1,653
Plumbing 4,510 4,398 4,862 4,743 2,761
Pottery 8,230 7,940 7,890 8,566 2,842
Programming 4,085 4,138 4,723 4,717 4,473
Public Health 1,837 1,798 2,382 2,507 11,510
Public Speaking 7,497 7,035 7,250 6,695 5,570
Pulp and Paper 6,081 6,879 5,911 5,973 4,054
Radio 6,442 5,840 5,205 5,519 3,550
Railroading 6,599 6,663 6,728 6,818 4,105
Reading 3,574 3,524 3,873 4,495 5,635
Reptile and Amphibian Study 6,411 6,053 5,786 6,009 3,526
Rifle Shooting 41,444 37,796 37,695 34,049 11,081
Robotics 14,264 15,031 15,285 13,827 5,452
Rowing 9,408 8,239 8,377 7,189 2,118
Safety 4,267 3,280 3,322 3,208 6,305
Salesmanship 6,031 5,908 6,936 6,813 5,121
Scholarship 4,316 4,171 4,433 5,442 7,287
Scouting Heritage 5,266 5,916 5,901 6,285 6,517
Scuba Diving 1,792 1,842 2,036 1,912 1,323
Sculpture 8,900 8,715 8,212 9,383 3,188
Search and Rescue 10,361 10,107 10,107 9,764 4,082
Shotgun Shooting 20,912 19,703 20,241 18,576 5,631
Signs, Signals, and Codes 8,025 7,364 7,178 7,854 4,580
Skating 1,953 1,785 1,898 1,979 1,700
Small Boat Sailing 14,108 14,182 13,886 13,202 3,142
Snow Sports 7,177 7,267 6,961 7,375 5,860
Soil and Water Conservation 10,341 9,484 8,199 8,242 5,067
Space Exploration 20,137 18,994 19,574 18,432 8,750
Sports 7,626 6,556 6,594 6,133 3,557
Stamp Collecting 793 954 836 919 1,278
Surveying 1,028 863 1,065 987 603
Sustainability 6,813 7,295 7,192 7,328 8,477
Swimming 67,446 62,057 62,796 59,074 21,220
Textile 2,480 2,205 2,530 2,523 1,929
Theater 2,543 2,332 2,294 2,745 1,592
Traffic Safety 6,072 5,689 7,100 6,477 5,758
Truck Transportation 2,391 2,466 2,313 2,469 1,991
Veterinary Medicine 2,580 2,451 2,716 3,103 2,552
Water Sports 3,123 2,966 2,937 2,762 1,064
Weather 12,665 12,690 12,430 12,311 9,215
Welding 10,737 10,656 11,981 11,129 4,709
Whitewater 3,476 2,832 3,199 2,890 1,508
Wilderness Survival 35,221 30,814 29,392 25,863 11,604
Wood Carving 34,938 32,943 31,910 28,599 9,430
Woodwork 4,975 5,212 4,939 4,503 3,066

Note: Computers was discontinued in 2014, and Cinematography became Moviemaking in 2013. Scouts who started these merit badges before the change were allowed to finish them as long as they did so before turning 18.

Lifetime rankings from 1911 to 2020

Two notes:

  1. This list includes only merit badges that could be earned in 2020. Sorry, but that means the Taxidermy merit badge (and these other discontinued merit badges) 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. My go-to example of this is the Home Repairs merit badge. It’s No. 18 lifetime but was released in 1943. The Chess merit badge was about 4.5 times more popular in 2020, but it has only been around since 2011.
Rank Merit Badge Lifetime
1 First Aid 7,370,988
2 Swimming 6,659,181
3 Camping 4,954,170
4 Cooking 4,648,594
5 Citizenship in the Community 3,753,138
6 Citizenship in the Nation 3,517,139
7 Canoeing 3,166,116
8 Lifesaving 3,150,759
9 Environmental Science 3,016,109
10 Safety 2,959,333
11 Personal Fitness 2,793,990
12 Fire Safety 2,675,073
13 Leatherwork 2,637,286
14 Citizenship in the World 2,593,491
15 Basketry 2,523,871
16 Pioneering 2,492,888
17 Wood Carving 2,462,368
18 Home Repairs 2,435,429
19 Communication 2,352,069
20 Fishing 2,126,476
21 Personal Management 2,100,383
22 Emergency Preparedness 2,082,381
23 Fingerprinting 1,891,477
24 Wilderness Survival 1,805,803
25 Archery 1,797,351
26 Rowing 1,763,164
27 Nature 1,737,920
28 Public Health 1,539,459
29 Rifle Shooting 1,533,240
30 Reading 1,508,324
31 Family Life 1,455,287
32 Art 1,436,561
33 Music 1,388,218
34 Hiking 1,370,957
35 Scholarship 1,307,274
36 Mammal Study 1,302,419
37 Indian Lore 1,292,119
38 Forestry 1,213,719
39 Metalwork 1,202,235
40 Sports 1,184,127
41 Soil and Water Conservation 1,174,015
42 Athletics 1,081,697
43 Woodwork 999,863
44 Orienteering 888,402
45 Electricity 859,444
46 Geology 747,259
47 Astronomy 727,495
48 Small Boat Sailing 725,921
49 Fish & Wildlife Management 718,006
50 Horsemanship 693,845
51 Pets 690,228
52 Aviation 684,527
53 Public Speaking 684,343
54 Reptile and Amphibian Study 682,587
55 Space Exploration 667,365
56 Weather 651,891
57 Motor Boating 635,883
58 Shotgun Shooting 627,238
59 Bird Study 612,616
60 Cycling 610,301
61 Photography 590,968
62 Painting 584,778
63 Coin Collecting 524,111
64 Computers 521,329
65 Climbing 521,055
66 Snow Sports 493,109
67 Dog Care 449,515
68 Pottery 427,803
69 Plumbing 417,612
70 Chemistry 412,187
71 Gardening 397,570
72 Stamp Collecting 395,283
73 Salesmanship 362,051
74 Sculpture 350,848
75 Oceanography 336,423
76 Railroading 275,919
77 Water Sports 266,295
78 Kayaking 261,710
79 Genealogy 261,683
80 Electronics 259,193
81 Chess 239,164
82 Architecture 237,322
83 Model Design and Building 235,108
84 Farm Mechanics 233,871
85 Backpacking 233,724
86 Drafting 231,905
87 Automotive Maintenance 225,956
88 Law 218,325
89 Engineering 213,737
90 Nuclear Science 210,965
91 Radio 205,747
92 Traffic Safety 194,271
93 American Heritage 192,552
94 Archaeology 192,293
95 Golf 185,837
96 Skating 184,647
97 Insect Study 180,460
98 Crime Prevention 174,749
99 Bugling 172,979
100 Collections 168,524
101 Textile 157,902
102 Surveying 157,073
103 Disabilities Awareness 156,539
104 Dentistry 152,381
105 Truck Transportation 151,364
106 Pulp and Paper 150,884
107 Geocaching 149,929
108 Robotics 123,337
109 Journalism 113,468
110 Cinematography 106,448
111 Whitewater 105,245
112 Theater 97,833
113 Energy 96,783
114 Medicine 94,597
115 Game Design 92,506
116 Veterinary Medicine 92,251
117 Landscape Architecture 90,412
118 Welding 86,233
119 Animal Science 83,893
120 American Cultures 83,032
121 Search and Rescue 79,782
122 Graphic Arts 69,365
123 Scouting Heritage 62,290
124 American Business 61,953
125 Moviemaking 61,305
126 Plant Science 58,456
127 Digital Technology 54,274
128 Fly Fishing 52,650
129 Sustainability 49,748
130 Entrepreneurship 42,254
131 Signs, Signals, and Codes 38,454
132 American Labor 29,926
133 Animation 29,817
134 Mining in Society 29,397
135 Inventing 29,178
136 Programming 29,163
137 Scuba Diving 24,100
138 Composite Materials 22,472
139 Exploration 10,012

Every merit badge ranked by its percent change from 2019 to 2020

Life has its ups and downs. So do merit badges.

Merit Badge 2019 2020 Percent change
Public Health 2,507 11,510 359%
American Business 1,468 4,967 238%
Safety 3,208 6,305 97%
Gardening 1,440 2,782 93%
Pets 5,130 8,333 62%
Collections 4,060 6,429 58%
Genealogy 4,096 6,020 47%
American Labor 1,298 1,892 46%
Stamp Collecting 919 1,278 39%
Scholarship 5,442 7,287 34%
Dog Care 3,151 4,136 31%
Reading 4,495 5,635 25%
Digital Technology 7,096 8,812 24%
American Heritage 5,454 6,700 23%
Journalism 1,283 1,516 18%
Sustainability 7,328 8,477 16%
Home Repairs 3,193 3,442 8%
Disabilities Awareness 5,933 6,334 7%
Bugling 453 476 5%
Law 5,681 5,962 5%
Scouting Heritage 6,285 6,517 4%
Family Life 47,788 48,408 1%
Landscape Architecture 1,395 1,400 0%
Mining in Society 3,929 3,789 -4%
Entrepreneurship 3,410 3,284 -4%
Coin Collecting 4,822 4,639 -4%
Cycling 5,503 5,247 -5%
Programming 4,717 4,473 -5%
American Cultures 3,089 2,906 -6%
Citizenship in the Community 46,750 41,987 -10%
Citizenship in the Nation 48,182 43,247 -10%
Traffic Safety 6,477 5,758 -11%
Medicine 3,758 3,278 -13%
Hiking 6,865 5,977 -13%
Crime Prevention 6,517 5,628 -14%
Skating 1,979 1,700 -14%
Personal Management 48,464 40,897 -16%
Citizenship in the World 50,700 42,738 -16%
Public Speaking 6,695 5,570 -17%
Photography 14,057 11,618 -17%
Veterinary Medicine 3,103 2,552 -18%
Personal Fitness 49,802 40,355 -19%
Plant Science 2,041 1,653 -19%
Truck Transportation 2,469 1,991 -19%
Golf 2,959 2,369 -20%
Snow Sports 7,375 5,860 -21%
Energy 2,727 2,162 -21%
Dentistry 2,433 1,924 -21%
Music 12,882 10,069 -22%
Textile 2,523 1,929 -24%
Communication 48,117 36,675 -24%
Drafting 1,364 1,026 -25%
Salesmanship 6,813 5,121 -25%
Weather 12,311 9,215 -25%
Cooking 49,039 36,473 -26%
Composite Materials 1,383 1,011 -27%
Insect Study 2,392 1,734 -28%
Fire Safety 11,045 7,918 -28%
Painting 4,486 3,163 -29%
Bird Study 5,629 3,950 -30%
Graphic Arts 3,178 2,228 -30%
Scuba Diving 1,912 1,323 -31%
Woodwork 4,503 3,066 -32%
Architecture 4,016 2,734 -32%
Pulp and Paper 5,973 4,054 -32%
Automotive Maintenance 10,489 7,108 -32%
Animal Science 4,155 2,778 -33%
Electricity 9,383 6,235 -34%
Radio 5,519 3,550 -36%
Engineering 12,184 7,800 -36%
Emergency Preparedness 39,022 24,733 -37%
Animation 7,193 4,445 -38%
Soil and Water Conservation 8,242 5,067 -39%
Surveying 987 603 -39%
Chemistry 11,745 7,166 -39%
Art 23,074 13,953 -40%
Railroading 6,818 4,105 -40%
Chess 25,999 15,454 -41%
Moviemaking 9,738 5,779 -41%
Reptile and Amphibian Study 6,009 3,526 -41%
Signs, Signals, and Codes 7,854 4,580 -42%
Camping 52,328 30,490 -42%
Plumbing 4,743 2,761 -42%
Sports 6,133 3,557 -42%
Theater 2,745 1,592 -42%
Fishing 23,589 13,601 -42%
Farm Mechanics 2,500 1,424 -43%
Aviation 14,227 8,064 -43%
Electronics 7,204 4,063 -44%
Inventing 3,259 1,833 -44%
Athletics 2,844 1,557 -45%
Game Design 14,424 7,740 -46%
Indian Lore 13,530 7,240 -46%
Nuclear Science 6,623 3,493 -47%
Oceanography 8,460 4,442 -47%
Whitewater 2,890 1,508 -48%
Basketry 14,216 7,388 -48%
Fingerprinting 36,510 18,898 -48%
Geocaching 11,271 5,811 -48%
Environmental Science 46,202 23,571 -49%
First Aid 62,352 31,636 -49%
Horsemanship 9,515 4,798 -50%
Pioneering 12,282 6,129 -50%
Model Design and Building 2,770 1,359 -51%
Fly Fishing 5,005 2,439 -51%
Space Exploration 18,432 8,750 -53%
Exploration 3,107 1,464 -53%
Archaeology 5,722 2,671 -53%
Geology 16,041 7,484 -53%
Fish & Wildlife Management 10,676 4,874 -54%
Astronomy 16,473 7,474 -55%
Wilderness Survival 25,863 11,604 -55%
Mammal Study 17,799 7,845 -56%
Orienteering 12,249 5,337 -56%
Canoeing 22,734 9,853 -57%
Nature 14,150 6,056 -57%
Welding 11,129 4,709 -58%
Search and Rescue 9,764 4,082 -58%
Climbing 17,305 7,228 -58%
Forestry 10,299 4,269 -59%
Backpacking 4,079 1,640 -60%
Kayaking 28,093 11,083 -61%
Robotics 13,827 5,452 -61%
Water Sports 2,762 1,064 -61%
Swimming 59,074 21,220 -64%
Leatherwork 31,397 10,855 -65%
Sculpture 9,383 3,188 -66%
Metalwork 12,586 4,273 -66%
Pottery 8,566 2,842 -67%
Wood Carving 28,599 9,430 -67%
Archery 31,934 10,487 -67%
Rifle Shooting 34,049 11,081 -67%
Motor Boating 8,298 2,638 -68%
Shotgun Shooting 18,576 5,631 -70%
Lifesaving 19,444 5,842 -70%
Rowing 7,189 2,118 -71%
Small Boat Sailing 13,202 3,142 -76%

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About Bryan Wendell 3201 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.