Wikipedia develops at a rate of 1.9 edits per second. English Wikipedia alone includes more than 6 million articles and averages nearly 600 new articles per day.
How popular is Wikipedia?
Whether you call Wikipedia an encyclopedia, a website, or a community, one thing’s for sure: it’s impressively massive. Wikipedia, created in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, is the biggest online encyclopedia. However, its size and the number of people who read and edit it are even more impressive.
While some scholarly folk might discuss the accuracy of a user-edited encyclopedia, there’s no denying Wikipedia’s popularity, especially considering it has more than 32 million Wikipedia editors, versions in 321 different languages, and an average of 600 new articles a day added to English Wikipedia alone. In fact, Wikipedia is the 8th-ranked website in the United States in traffic and engagement and 13th globally.
Wikipedia is popular because it was one of the first online encyclopedias where people can add information. Its prevalence is global and undeniable, which leads to some interesting Wikipedia statistics and facts.
There's a Wikipedia article about interesting Wikipedia statistics, which goes well with the many articles about facts and stats found online. To put the best of that information in one place, here’s your big fat guide to Wikipedia statistics and facts.
The most edited Wikipedia articles
In data taken between 2005-2015, George W. Bush had the most Wikipedia article edits of all time with more than 46,000 edits. The former President of the United States also held the record for the most edited entry in a single year with nearly 21,000 edits in 2005.
For a more recent snapshot of statistics about Wikipedia’s most popular articles, here are the most visited Wikipedia articles in March 2020.
The many languages of Wikipedia
Wikipedia currently has pages in 321 different languages. English Wikipedia currently has the most articles with 6,313,539, and the languages Herero and Kanuri have the least amount with zero articles besides their main article. Interestingly, Cebuano — a language native to the Philippines — has the second most Wikipedia articles. German, French, Russian, Italian, and Spanish are all also in the top 10.
Why don’t women edit Wikipedia as much as men?
A 2008 survey revealed that less than 13% of Wikipedia contributors worldwide were women. That number trended down even further from there, as a follow-up survey in 2011 saw that number fall to 9%. In the U.S., the percentage was a bit higher at 15%. But, it is strange that the surveys found no difference in how many men and women read, yet men edit more.
The trend has continued in recent years. Despite launching several initiatives, Wikipedia failed to meet its goal to increase women’s participation to at least 25% by 2015. In direct response to the editor community’s gender ratio, co-founder Jimmy Wales has been quoted as saying “The biggest issue is editor diversity.”
So why don't women contribute to Wikipedia as much as men?
Well, two professors, one from Stony Brook University’s College of Business and one from Carnegie Mellon University, analyzed survey data in 2008 and found that women reported feeling less confident about their expertise and, therefore, more reluctant to edit others’ work. The study also found that women, who can be less confrontational than men, avoid Wikipedia edits because editing the work of others can sometimes engender conflict.
Whether these postulates prove accurate or not, many believe Wikipedia’s ability to grow and thrive in the future relies on its ability to recruit more women editors moving forward.
Does Wikipedia have a liberal lean?
Some conservative-leaning people in the U.S. believe Wikipedia leans toward the left, and as a result, started an alternative Wikipedia called Conservapedia.
Wikipedia describes Conservapedia as “an English-language wiki-based online encyclopedia project written from a self-described American conservative and fundamentalist Christian point of view.”
There’s little solid evidence that Wikipedia as a company has a liberal bias, but liberal-leaning editors can be found in abundance.
Reputation X works with Wikipedia editors to balance the information about companies online. But doing so is often like kicking a hornet's nest. For example, if a company had done wrong in the past, but they've turned things around, it is tough to get Wikipedia editors to allow adding new positive information to the company's Wikipedia article even though the information meets every Wikipedia guideline.
Some Wikipedia editors believe that it is "whitewashing," but in reality, it is an attempt to make the article more neutral. This neutrality is crucial to Wikipedia, although it is disliked by certain influential editors.
At the end of the day, Wikipedia is about the collective viewpoints of its strongest editors. And like all humans, Wikipedia editors have their own biases. This is nearly impossible for Wikipedia to manage effectively which is one of the reasons some people believe Wikipedia is not the best reference available.
Other impressive, crazy, and surprising Wikipedia stats and facts
- Wikipedia’s official theme song is The Eagles’ 1976 hit Hotel California.
- There’s a pool to guess what the topic of the last Wikipedia article ever written will be.
- Wikipedia archives some of its weirdest articles and labels them as “DAFTs,” or “deleted articles with freaky titles.”
- Wikipedia stood up to Congress by banning congresspeople for a week. In July 2014, Wikipedia banned people with a U.S. Congress IP address for 10 days. This was because many congresspeople were editing articles, including ones about conspiracy theories and the moon landing.
- Wikipedia’s birthday — January 15 — is recognized as “Wikipedia Day” and it includes online and offline celebrations.
- Wikipedia’s most viewed article is always its Main article, but some of the other most viewed articles include Facebook, YouTube, the United States, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama.
- As of March 2016, the non-bot Wikipedia user with the most edits is a Wikipedian (what they call Wikipedia users) named Ser Amantio di Nicolao, who has approximately 1.6 million edits to their name. But even his score can’t compare to that of the top bot user, which has produced more than 5.1 million edits since March 2016.
- Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has the most visited article on a single day with 7.4 million views on Oct. 6, 2011, the day after he died. The next most-viewed article on a single day is Donald Trump’s after he won the presidential election on Nov. 9, 2016. The former President of the United States article received 6.1 million views on that day.
Wikipedia statistics FAQs
How popular is Wikipedia?
With 321 different language versions, more than 32 million active editors, and an average of 600 new articles a day on English Wikipedia alone, Wikipedia is massively popular. Wikipedia is the 8th-ranked website in the United States in traffic and engagement and 13th in the world.
How many languages have Wikipedia articles?
Wikipedia has articles in 321 languages. English Wikipedia has the most articles with 6,313,539. Cebuano, a language from the Philippines, has the second most articles. German, French, Russian, Italian, and Spanish are also in the top 10. Herero and Kanuri have no articles except for their main article.
What are the most popular Wikipedia articles?
From 2005-2015, a 10-year data sample reveals that current events and famous people are usually the most popular articles on Wikipedia. From 2005-2015, a 10-year data sample shows that current events and famous people are the most popular articles on Wikipedia.
The popularity of these articles is influenced by constant editing and an abundance of information on Wikipedia. Additionally, the happenings in the world during that time also play a role in their popularity. For example, in March 2020, the most visited Wikipedia articles were almost all COVID-19 pandemic-related or election-related.
About the author
Kent Campbell is the chief strategist for Reputation X, an award-winning online reputation management agency. He has over 15 years of experience with SEO, Wikipedia editing, review management, and online reputation strategy. Kent has helped celebrities, leaders, executives, and marketing professionals improve the way they are seen online. Kent writes about reputation, SEO, Wikipedia, and PR-related topics, and is an expert witness for reputation-related legal matters.