Camino de Santiago – 2014 Statistics

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the data they collect in the Pilgrim’s accreditation office? Once aggregated, it gets published by the Cathedral, and then websites like us can bring you the most interesting results!

Update: As of April 2016 we’ve updated the Statistics and published to an interactive dashboard here:
(Latest Camino Statistics)

Demographics

Firstly, a little about the type of people who walk the Camino. In total 237,886 people made the Camino and registered in the accreditation office in 2014. Of those, there was a very wide spread of ages, with just under 39,000 aged over 60’s.

age-pilgrims

 

There’s a fairly even split between men and women as well, with slightly more men. Along with the age demographics, this is testament to the openness of the Camino, for if you have the will, you can do it!

pilgrim-gender

Given the visibility of the route in Spain, its no surprise that the largest contingent of walkers are Spanish, nearly 48%! In total last year, people from 139 countries around the world took part, including places like Somalia, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Mongolia. These are the top 15 most common nationalities, excluding the 114,000 Spanish to avoid skewing the chart.

most-popular-nationalities

How they got there

Almost everyone made the journey on foot or by bicycle. Of the 1% of people who went by other means – 1,520 went on horseback and 98 people on wheelchair.

method-of-travel-camino

 

The Camino Francés was the most popular route by far with almost 7 in 10 pilgrims travelling this way. Included in the ‘Other’ routes in purple below are the Via de la plata, Camino Primitivo and Camino Inglés all with between 7,000 and 8,500 people.

most-popular-pilgrimage-routes

 

Almost 25% of people began their Camino in Sarria – the last point where you can walk 100km and therefore collect a Compostela. As you can imagine, for those walking the Camino from far away and used to less people, it gets pretty busy from here on!

map-camino-most-popular-starting-points

  1. Sarria – 58,554 (24.6%). Very popular as the last place to walk 100km to obtain a Compostela on the Camino Francés.
  2. St. Jean Pied de Port – 29,344 (12.3%). The start of the Camino Francés. Just 4 weeks and 770km to Santiago!
  3. Tui – 11,575 (4.9%). This is popular for the same reason as Sarria, but instead it is the last place to walk 100km from the Portuguese side on the Camino Portugués.
  4. León – 11,410 (4.8%)
  5. Oporto [Porto] – 10,636 (4.5%)

What is more interesting than the most popular starting points… is the least popular starting points! Pilgrims have walked months from Russia, Greece, Jerusalem, England, Denmark, Ireland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and a incredible 30 people in total from Poland!

Motivations for walking the Camino

The most ambiguous question from the pilgrims accreditation office is the motivation question. People come for the widest range of reasons, but to have to narrow it down to one of ‘Religious’, ‘Religious and Other’ or ‘Non Religious’ can be difficult.

motivation-to-walk-camino-de-santiago

There’s one thing these motivation statistics don’t take into account. When I made the Camino, I was told that by answering ‘Religious’ you would receive the Compostela in Latin, but by answering ‘Non Religious’ you would receive it in English. The consensus was that Latin is much more interesting, so it’s best to answer ‘Religious’ regardless. In practice, after making the Camino two times and answering ‘Religious’ on both occasions, I got one Compostela in English and the other in Latin, so it must just depend on luck on the day!

Other interesting facts

We’ve covered most of the data but there are a couple of interesting points that we couldn’t fit in nicely above:

  • 19% of Pilgrims are students
  • 1% of Pilgrims are religious (i.e. Nuns, Ordained) with 0.6% of all Pilgrims priests.
  • Over 9% of people come from the Madrid region. If it was a country, it would be the most popular after Spain itself!

If you want to look at the detail in more detail you can find it on the official Santiago de Compostela Cathedral website here (link in Spanish).