2017 Women’s March Crowd Size in Washington, DC

The Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017.

Update: This article will be updated with 2017 ridership numbers including that from President Trump’s Inauguration when WMATA’s site goes back up. 

One of the most objective measures of crowd sizes at rallies and events held in Washington, DC is metro ridership data from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). They have released daily ridership data every day since 2004.

For this analysis, we are looking at changes in ridership data on a given weekday. The highest ridership day in WMATA history was for Obama’s first inauguration on Tuesday 1/20/2009. On that day WMATA saw 1,120,000 rides, an increase of 363,000 vs. the previous Tuesday.

The Women’s March on Washington and many other protests were held on 1/21/2017.  At the writing of this article the WMATA data site was down and data from 2017 was unavailable. However, on 1/22/2017, WMATA tweeted the ridership data for The Women’s March as 1,001,616 rides . The highest ridership on a Saturday in January 2016 (1/30/2016) was 270,000 rides. If we use 270k rides as a baseline, the Women’s March saw an increase of 731,616 rides.

Table 1: Highest recorded ridership numbers on WMATA on a given day. President Obama’s First inauguration had the highest number of total rides.

Date Total Rides Event
1/20/2009 1,120,000 Obama’s First Inauguration
1/21/2017 1,001,616 Women’s March
6/23/2010 894,000
4/2/2010 876,000
4/10/2013 872,000
1/19/2009 867,000
4/1/2010 867,000
4/7/2010 857,000

 

Table 2: Day of week averages from 2004-2016. Wednesday tends to have the highest numbers of riders.

Day of Week Average Rides
Sunday 209,655
Monday 619,587
Tuesday 699,001
Wednesday 708,027
Thursday 699,165
Friday 682,712
Saturday 314,340

 

Table 3: Highest ridership numbers compared to averages for each weekday from 2004-2016. The Women’s March had the highest deviation from average ridership.

Date Total Rides Deviation from Average Event
1/21/2017 1,001,616 689,083 Women’s March
10/30/2010 788,000 475,467 Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
1/20/2009 1,120,000 420,999 Obama’s First Inauguration
1/18/2009 594,000 384,345
4/4/2009 694,000 381,467
4/11/2015 683,000 370,467
7/4/2010 562,000 352,345
4/3/2010 641,000 328,467
4/12/2014 638,000 325,467
7/4/2009 613,000 300,467
3/29/2008 569,000 256,467
4/13/2013 563,000 250,467