January 22nd, 2009
04:34 PM ET
4 years ago

Official Inauguration crowd estimate: 1.8 million

1.8 million were on hand to witness Obama's Inauguration.

1.8 million were on hand to witness Obama's Inauguration.

(CNN) –A record crowd lined the National Mall and parade route on Inauguration Day, Washington officials said Thursday.

About 1.8 million came to the city for the day’s inaugural events, according Leslie Kershaw, a spokeswoman for Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty. That estimate — 50 percent higher than the previous record - came from local and federal agencies in the Joint Operations Command Center, which was responsible for managing the crowd.

The National Park Service, which was banned by Congress from releasing crowd estimates after controversy over its count of participants in the Million Man March in 1995, said it would not challenge the 1.8 million figure, according to the Washington Post.

The figure far surpasses the 400,000 former President George Bush drew in 2005 and 800,000 former President Bill Clinton drew in 1993.

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soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. No incumbetns 2010

    Largest Crowd and he was only second to President Ronald Reagan in TV ratings.

    January 22, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. An American

    1.8 million hey. Whoopie doo!!! I wonder how many of them will be losing their jobs soon. They might be back with picket signs. I mean come on, who cares about that silly stuff when there are so many more important things. The election is over, the historical part is done. Please lets move on already.

    January 22, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Pam

    Jon in CA January 22nd, 2009 5:38 pm ET
    Wow – how amazing!
    A black man's inauguration in Washington DC brought out more supporters than a white man's inauguration in Washington DC.
    How SHOCKING!!
    (eyes rolling)
    Not at all shocking, actually, Jon !!!!!!!!! What else did you expect from black America?

    January 22, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Stephanie

    Now the real question is how much money did the Washington, D.C. make?

    January 22, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  5. Bill Charlotte, NC

    The most amazing thing was not just the number but the behavior. When has 1.8 million people been so gracious, patient, celebratory and "neighborly?" It shows we can do it when we try... or have the right motivational leadership.

    January 22, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  6. ETHO


    January 22, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  7. Leilani

    I am so proud to be an American. Let's hope the honeymoon doesn't end too quickly.

    January 22, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Joyce in Indiana

    Jon, you have posted an ugly comment on nearly every story on the ticker. If you have to comment, please at least make it substantive. The racist one-liners make you seem foolish.

    People came in great numbers, I believe, for two reasons. One is the historical nature of this inauguration and the other is because this president is educated, thoughtful, and willing to listen to and learn from others, which is everything his predecessor was not.

    January 22, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. shoegazer

    And notice how well behaved this crowd was,much better than the crowd that gave Shrubs limo an egg-wash last time around.

    January 22, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. mel

    why the eyes rolling – don't get it unless you are saying because dc is mostly black population – crowd came from all over usa.

    January 22, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Simmy

    President Obama is genuine and likable. That's why malcontents hate him.

    January 22, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  12. Simmy

    Jon in CA,

    Are those your eyes rolling down 1600 Penn. Ave.? Better go catch 'em! LOL!

    January 22, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. Joel

    white or not, black or not, no person is a 2/3 of a person. If those who went were in DC, the geography favoured them.......I just think we don't have to disect all that!!

    January 22, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. Mike

    Its amazing.. the last 8 years the liberals spread hate speech and personally attacked Bush for anything he did right or wrong. Stores were full of hate bumper stickers , t shirts , etc , calling Bush every name in the book. They drove their hippie mobiles all over the place with hate filled attacts ( personally) on bumpers.. yet , if you question the new Christ Obama you get reation like the last comment from "Simmy" ..calling them "malcontents"..typical of the hate and censorship thatr comes from the left.. Then you have people like Chris who call them crimnals when Obama has already appointed and surrounded himself with biggots, terrorists , and Chicago thug politicos

    January 22, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  15. Darin

    I would think there were more than that (like possibly more than 2 million); especially since the crowd stretched from the capitol, substantially past the Washington Monument; and all along the streets of the Mall.

    January 22, 2009 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. Sydo

    Well to eyes rolling Clinton had more than bush in 1993 and Lyndon Johnson had over a million in 1964 when the US population was about half of what it is, so your argument is flawed.

    January 22, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. kayla


    January 22, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Dylan from MN

    It was an amazing day. The country and the world needed it.

    January 22, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. Joanna

    Hey its been a long time since we have had actually honest intelligence in the white house. Were pretty jazzed.

    January 22, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. Seth

    CNN (not surprisingly) fails to point out that Reagan had a larger television audience, oh well, I'm sure we're in for 4 years of this. Oh, and if Obama wasn't half black, his speech would have been panned, the content certainly wasn't historic.

    January 22, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  21. Shannelle Marshall in DC

    Jon in CA….Your insinuation should shame your mother. If she didn't teach you better…shame on her too!!

    In actuality, the crowd was more white than anything…and predominately out-of-towners.

    Also, there were more than that. A LARGE number where not allowed onto the mall and some were steaked out on the parade route in order to get a good spot.

    If you have a problem with OBAMA and you can't come to grips with it….you are going to have a rough 4-8 years!!!!!!

    January 22, 2009 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Proud American

    Jon in Ca- Your a complete Idiot what does color have to do with anything? Or should a white person draw larger crowds than black? Stop rolling your eyes and focus them in a book, it would do someone like you alot of good.

    January 22, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Can

    Bush- 400,000
    Clinton- 800,00
    Obama 1.8 million in person +
    " 2.5 millionby online,
    " 38.5 million by TV
    ---– + by radio broadcast?
    42.8 million
    Globally ?

    January 22, 2009 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. Jon in CA


    In the 2000 Census, African Americans comprised over 34 million of the total US population. The Top 10 cities of African-American popluations include District of Columbia, Baltimore – MD, and Richmond – VA – all a short distance from the Capital.

    Gosh – I'm SURE the greater interest in Obama's inauguration had NOTHING to do with the significant African American population centralized in that region of the country and the 97%+ of African Americans voting for Obama.

    (eyes rolling even more)

    January 22, 2009 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. would have been fun

    Wish I had been there. Then again, I had a front row seat on CNN in my 70 degree house, snacks and bathrooms handy.

    Either way, it was a great day.

    January 22, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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