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Joshua Gillin
By Joshua Gillin January 20, 2017

Just prior to his inauguration, President Donald Trump predicted huge crowds for his ceremony. Estimates are still rolling in about how many actually attended. Photos seem to show it was fewer people than for Barack Obama’s two inaugurations.

But the number of attendees at inaugurations has varied widely throughout the years.

Due to controversies over estimates, the National Park Service no longer releases official estimates for how many people attend events on the National Mall. It stopped after a dispute over the tally of the Million Man March in 1995.

The U.S. Armed Forces Joint Task Force-National Capital Region and the Joint Congressional Committee, which plan and support inaugural proceedings, will not be releasing estimates, either.

Part of the issue is that estimating crowds is not an exact science, and tallies can be inconsistent.

Organizers did initially say they expected between 700,000 and 900,000 people.

It’s not immediately clear how many were in Washington on Friday, although journalists and comedians offered their own views. (We'll update this story when we learn more.) Prior estimates give us an idea of how many people showed up for past inaugurations.

Barack Obama, 2013: 1 million

Barack Obama, 2009: 1.8 million (generally considered a record for people on the National Mall)

George W. Bush, 2005: 400,000

George W. Bush, 2001: 300,000

Bill Clinton, 1997: 250,000

Bill Clinton, 1993: 800,000

George H.W. Bush, 1989: 300,000

Ronald Reagan, 1985: 140,000 tickets sold, but record cold moved the swearing-in ceremony indoors

Ronald Reagan, 1981: 10,000, according to the New York Times. This was the first year the ceremony was performed on the west side of the Capitol.

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