USCF Demographics

An interesting thread on the USCF Forum caught my eye, “Chess and the 2010 Census”, by nolan on Fri May 23, 2014 11:24 am (
In this thread one can find the number of people who, “Participated in Chess in the last 12 months,” for example. The total given is 6,896,000. There are other breakdowns as well. This PDF is included: (
I found the statistics Nolan included in his next post several hours later most interesting. It is “…the breakdown from the latest age group report.” From this we learn the 32,783 adults are outnumbered by the 34,463 prepubescent “12/below” group. Back in the day before the scholastic movement most members paid a full membership fee. Since the prepubescent group pays less than a “regular” member, it would seem the USCF is taking in less money, relatively speaking. I have heard a question asked numerous times by many different members, Since it is not the children who pay but their parents, who are adults, why should membership cost less for them?
The other divisions shown are: 13-15 (8497); 16-19 (5554); 20-24 (2180). Before going on, I would like to point out the sharp decline within these age groups. The total of the three age groups above is 16,231, which is less than half of the prepubescent group. I wonder why adults are considered 20+ by the USCF. It would make more sense to consider an adult as 18+. Therefore, I would like to see a breakdown of three years, as the given 13-15 age group, by 16-18 and 19-21, then 22-24, which would seem to make more sense.
The next group is from 25-64, comprised of 22581 members. This group makes me think of the coveted age group of TV viewers, which is something like 18-49. A group with these age limits would seem to make more sense here because a member is eligible to play in the USCF Senior chess tournament upon turning 50. Why is a 50+ group not shown? I could understand a 50-64 age group, because a player must be 65 to play in the FIDE Senior.
As it is the numbers given tell us something, but more numbers with a better breakdown would bring greater elucidation. I am reminded of the quote Mark Twain attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, a British Conservative politician, writer and aristocrat, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” This is another example of a myth becoming legend. For example, see ( “Further background on this quote is provided by Stephen Goranson who writes on the Mark Twain Forum in a post dated 31 July 2002: Twain’s Autobiography attribution of a remark about lies and statistics to Disraeli is generally not accepted. Evidence is now available to conclude that the phrase originally appeared in 1895 in an article by Leonard H. Courtney. So Disraeli is not the source, nor any pre-1895 person; merely Courtney. The 1895 article is now available online at: Courtney may have read Carlyle on statistics (also quoted at this site); certainly, misuse of statistics was complained about before 1895.”

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