Cuddling With 9, Smooching With 8, Winking At 7

Nine in a hammock. i i
Adam Cole/NPR
Nine in a hammock.
Adam Cole/NPR

British author and math enthusiast Alex Bellos tells me he's got more than 30,000 responses so far to his survey, What's Your Favorite Number and Why? As I said in a recent blog post, people are writing him from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia (Antarcticans, being mostly penguins, have shown little interest).

As of about a week ago (when I last checked), seven is still the global favorite, dominating every class, nationality, gender, religion and age category. (Though this is all very preliminary. The real data mining doesn't begin till the fall.)

Seven isn't a shoe-in. It's being chased by a small pack of prime numbers, especially 11 and 13.

So that's the horserace. But the real fun is in the heart race; why do people choose the numbers they do? From whence comes the love?

Love, of course, can never explain itself, but in the heat of the moment a bunch of you shared your secrets with me, and agreed to let me publish them, so here, as the National Enquirer would say, is my HOT! EXCLUSIVE! SHOCKING! Numerical Love Confessions...straight from actual National Public Radio listener/readers who DARED TO TELL!


1 frank
2 marie
3 john
4 ben
5 dan
6 maria
7 jennifer
8 xando
9 katie
10 thomas
11 fleabite

If you want to participate in the survey, here's how: favouritenumber.net or, if you prefer the American spelling: favoritenumber.net.

And special thanks to Maggie Starbard and Marina Dominguez for this cool design.

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