Numbers Festival

The aim of the Numbers Festival is to promote a greater understanding of mathematics in the North East and the role of Newcastle University in encouraging and facilitating engagement and interaction with mathematics in its broadest sense.

A theme running throughout the festival will be the question "What is your favourite number and why?" This theme is designed to be engaging, accessible to a wide range of people, and it is hoped that it will capture people's imagination in the North East to think a little more about numbers and how these influence their lives.

Mathematical skills and an awareness of 'number' is a skill that can be taken for granted or even a skill that maybe people don't think they have. The festival question "what is your favourite number and why?" serves to remind us of the important role of 'number' in all our lives.

Favourite number results

The question that was asked to the north east during the "Numbers Festival" which ran from the 27th June – 5th July was "what is your favourite number and why?"

Overall Results for all 442 inputs

Favourite number

% of those choosing the number













Why did people pick 7?

A lot of people expressed an interest in number 7 for a variety of reasons and not just because it was considered lucky. A number of people said they had no idea why they liked it.

Surprisingly with 9 you may have thought this could have been because of Alan Shearer, but the main reason was people's birthdays on the 9th.  It also didn't feature in the top three male numbers. It was joint second favourite for women.

Regarding number 8 there was an expression of liking the shape of the number itself.

The distribution of numbers seemed to fall in the lower categories 60% picked a number equal or below 13, 71% picked a number equal or below 21 and 81% chose a number equal or below 31.

Age ranges

7 is the most popular with all of the age ranges from primary school children to OAPs.


The minimum number chosen by men was -1 (n=3).  No female chose a negative number.

Male favourite number (n=205)

% of males choosing the number








Female favourite number (n=238)

% of female choosing the number



4 and 9

7.1% each

3 and 13

5% each

The distribution of numbers is less for women where 85% chose a number less than 30 compared to 85% of men choosing numbers less than 64.

Odd and Even Numbers

In the whole group there are 58% odd and 42% even numbers. Males pick 55% odd numbers 45% even numbers and for females 60% odd numbers and 40% even numbers. This goes against certain beliefs about odd and even numbers such as in Pythagorean of ancient Greece and Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang where numbers were viewed as possessing gender – odd numbers to be masculine and even numbers feminine.