Raising Chickens

How Many Chickens Are in the World in 2022? (Chicken Statistics)

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team

Chickens are the most abundant and widespread domestic livestock in the world. The total number of chickens worldwide has tripled since 1990, from 10.6 billion birds to over 34.4 billion in 2022.

The spectacular growth results from the rising global demand for eggs and meat. Unfortunately, this all comes with a price. Chickens are the most abused animals on the planet. Chickens in the poultry industry have short lifecycles and high feed conversion ratios, and there is much to discuss regarding animal welfare.

The coronavirus pandemic has further accelerated the popularity of backyard poultry since 2020. Backyard chickens are ideal for animal companionship and provide an environmentally sustainable way of getting fresh eggs and food.

Here is a summary of what you'll learn in this statistical roundup:

Chicken Population Statistics (Top Picks)

Key Statistics
  • There are over 34.4 billion chickens in the world
  • There are 9.22 billion chickens in the US
  • Roughly 46% of chickens worldwide are in Asia
  • Roughly 28% of chickens worldwide are in the US
  • France has 242 million chickens, the most of all European countries
  • Iowa has 60.1 million chickens, the highest number of chickens in a US state

Evolution of the worldwide chicken population

The total number of chickens worldwide has tripled in 30 years since 1990, from 10.6 billion birds to 33.097 billion chickens in 2020.

The last official estimates by FAO indicate that the global chicken population was roughly 33 billion for the last three years before 2020, with 32.6 billion chickens in 2018, 33.2 billion in 2019, and 33.1 billion chickens in 2020.

Graph of the number of chickens worldwide ranging from 1990 to 2020

Here is the table of the number of chickens worldwide every five years:

YearNumber of Chickens Worldwide
199010.6 billion
199512.8 billion
200014.4 billion
200517.2 billion
201026.9 billion
201528.5 billion
202033.1 billion

The global coronavirus pandemic in 2020 affected 7.79 billion people and made backyard chickens increasingly popular. Before the pandemic, roughly 8% of US households had chickens in the US, which accounted for 10 million backyard flocks.

With backyard poultry on the upswing all over, backyard chicken flocks are estimated to be increased by half as much since 2018 despite a global bird flu crisis.

Currently, there are approximately 34.4 billion chickens in the world.

Source: FAO; USDA; APPA; CBS; data last accessed 11/2022

Top 10 chicken countries ranked by population

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the US has more chickens than any other country, with the last official count of 9.22 billion chickens in 2020.

The combined chicken population located in the top 3 exceeds half of the global population, with 18 billion chickens found in Indonesia, China, and the US.

Graph of the top 10 countries ranked by largest chicken population, with US and China on top

Here's the table of the ten countries with the most chickens, ranked by the number of chickens:

CountryNumber of Chickens
United States9.22 billion
China5.06 billion
Indonesia3.74 billion
Brazil1.48 billion
Pakistan1.44 billion
Iran1.01 billion
India807 million
Mexico592 million
Russia507 million
Vietnam410 million

Source: FAO; data accessed 11/2022

Top 10 chicken states in the US

Iowa has more than 60 million chickens and has the highest number of chickens in the US. Iowa has more than 18 chickens for every living Iowan.

Ohio and Indiana are competing neck-to-neck for the second place, with just over 45 million chickens in 2021, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Ohio has about 4 chickens per Ohioan. Indiana has roughly 7 chickens per Hoosier.

Graph of the top 10 US states ranked by largest chicken population, with Iowa, Ohio and Indiana on top

In October 2022, USDA reported that 373 million chickens in the US are laying hens. That's more than the entire chicken population of France.

Most laying hens produce table eggs, but 62.5 million produce broiler-hatching eggs. These meat chickens are slaughtered after 40 days.

Source: FAO; USDA; data last accessed 11/2022

Top 10 chicken countries in Europe

Europe has 2.35 billion chickens.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, France has more chickens than any other European country, with the last official count of 242.015 million chickens in 2020.

France has roughly half of the Russian chicken population, which is - geographically - also part of Europe. The Russian Federation houses 496.96 million chickens.

Graph of the top 10 European countries ranked by largest chicken population, with France and Ukraine on top

The poultry industry in Ukraine was heavily disrupted when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. With Ukraine also a major wheat, sunflower, corn, and soy producer, this disruption is felt in many other European countries, the Middle East, and North Africa. Poultry production plummeted after major power cuts hit the breadbasket of Europe.

Here's the table of the ten countries in Europe with the most chickens, ranked by the number of chickens in 2020:

CountryNumber of Chickens
France242 million
Ukraine202.5 million
Poland182.5 million
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland172 million
Netherlands101.9 million
Belarus45.9 million
Republic of Moldova40.9 million
Hungary30.8 million
Bosnia and Herzegovina16.6 million
Norway16.4 million

Norway finishes in the top ten with its cold climate and tough winters. Cold-hardy chickens are also kept in other frigid climates like Finland (8.5 million) and Sweden (10.8 million). Even Iceland houses 222 thousand of chickens.

Source: FAO; data accessed 11/2022

Top 10 chicken countries in Asia

Almost half of the world's chicken population is located in Asian countries.

Asia harbors 15.4 billion chickens, which is 46% of all the chickens in the world in 2020.

The combined chicken population located in the top 3 is just short of 10 billion chickens, with a staggering 9.8 billion chickens located in China, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Graph of the top 10 Asian countries ranked by largest chicken population, with China and Indonesia on top

Here's the table of the ten countries in Asia with the most chickens, ranked by the number of chickens:

CountryNumber of Chickens
China4.75 billion
Indonesia3.56 billion
Pakistan1.44 billion
Iran1.01 billion
India791 million
Russian Federation497 million
Vietnam410 million
Türkiye379 million
Myanmar349 million
Japan320 million

Source: FAO; data accessed 11/2022

Top 10 chicken countries in Africa

Africa has a total of 2.07 billion chickens.

The chicken population in Africa is pretty evenly distributed over the African countries. Marocco has 208 million chickens, which is the most of all African countries.

Graph of the top 10 African countries ranked by largest chicken population, with Morocco and South Africa on top

Here's the table of the ten countries in Africa with the most chickens, ranked by the number of chickens:

CountryNumber of Chickens
Morocco207.7 million
South Africa179 million
Egypt167 million
Nigeria166.1 million
Algeria137.3 million
Tunisia96 million
Ghana95.5 million
Senegal88.5 million
Côte d'Ivoire84.4 million
Kenya57.2 million

Senegal has the eighth spot with a scorching climate. Many chicken breeds are heat-hardy and can survive in the hottest climates in Mali (5.2 million chickens) and Burkina Faso (3.98 million chickens).

SourceFAOdata accessed 11/2022

Number of chickens in Oceania

There are 139.15 million chickens in Oceania.

Most chickens are located in Australia and New Zeeland:

  • Australia has 100.8 million chickens
  • New Zeeland has 24.8 million chickens

Next on the list are Fiji (5.48 million chickens) and Papua New Guinea (4.59 million chickens). Kiribati, Vanuatu, Caledonia, and Samoa have roughly half a million chickens.

SourceFAOdata accessed 11/2022

Global Chicken population per continent

About 46% of all chickens in the world are located in Asia.

Graph of the percentage of chickens per continent in the world, with Asia taking 46 percent of the pie and North America 31.6 percent

Here's the table of the number of chickens per continent:

ContinentNumber of chickens
North America10.455 billion
South Amerika2.709 billion
Africa2.073 billion
Asia15.373 billion
Europe2.348 billion
Oceania139.15 million

The value of North America is the combined number of chickens for North America (9.39 billion chickens), the Caribbean (291.4 million chickens), and Central America (769.4 million chickens).

For Oceanea, most chickens are located in Australia and New Zeeland:

  • Australia has 100.8 million chickens
  • New Zeeland has 24.8 million chickens

Next on the list are Fiji (5.48 million chickens) and Papua New Guinea (4.59 million chickens). Kiribati, Vanuatu, Caledonia, and Samoa have roughly half a million chickens.

SourceFAOdata accessed 11/2022

Chicken Distribution and Density

Where there are humans, there are chickens. The distribution of chickens closely follows that of the human population.

There are more than 4 chickens per person on the planet, with 33.097 billion chickens for 7.764 billion persons in 2020.

Regions with densely populated chicken populations have a major environmental impact and play a role in epidemic outbreaks and public health.

Here is a table with the highest chicken concentrations in the world:

Concentration of ChickensDensity
chickens/km2
Regions
Highest concentration> 10.000 Eastern China
Pakistan
India
Western Europe
Populated areas in Southern Brazil
Densely populated500-1000East Coast of the US
African countries facing the Gulf of Guinea Madagascar

Chickens are sparsely distributed in the central and western states of the United States but densely populated on the East Coast.

Source: GLW2 Livestock Density Maps; FAOCAJOTAS; data accessed 11/2022

Number of Chickens Slaughtered per Country

Many broilers and laying hens die daily to provide meat and table eggs.

To maintain a high productivity rate, many egg-laying chickens are slaughtered every day. The lay-per-day rate in the US for January 2022 is 79.3 eggs per 100 egg-laying hens. These chickens are called 'spent' egg-laying hens and are slaughtered when their egg-laying slows down.

The US slaughtered 9.35 billion chickens in 2021, or 25.6 million chickens daily. Of those slaughtered chickens, 9.21 billion were young chickens, 36.3 million were light, mature hens, and less than 1% (78.3 million) were heavy mature chickens.

China slaughtered 9.29 billion chickens in 2021, which is an average of 25.5 million chickens killed daily to maintain high productivity rates.

Number of chickens slaughtered per country every year, with US and China on top

Male chicks are usually slaughtered on their first day in the poultry industry. They are less suitable for meat production than broiler breeds and can't lay eggs*.

Sustainable egg farms like Kipster are rising, keeping roosters alive and raising them for meat. Kipster will open its first US layer farm in Indiana in January 2023.

Here is a table of slaughtered chickens per country for countries that killed more than 1 billion chickens in 2021:

CountryNumber of Slaughtered Chickens
United States9.35 billion
China9.2 billion
Brazil6 billion
Indonesia4.7 billion
India2.63 billion
Russia2.5 billion
Mexico1.96 billion
Iran1.82 billion
Pakistan1.4 billion
Thailand1.27 billion
Myanmar1.22 billion
Poland1.18 billion
United Kingdom1.15 billion
Philippines1.12 billion
Republic of Korea1.06 billion
Colombia1.01 billion
Egypt1.01 billion

* Note that it is difficult to validate whether all countries included spent hens and roosters in their slaughter statistics reported to FAO.

The number of chickens slaughtered has been rising since the sixties and is now tenfold of the 6.58 billion chickens in 1960.

A total of 72.45 billion chickens were slaughtered worldwide in 2019, which is 198.5 million chickens slaughtered daily on average.

Evolution of the number of chickens slaughtered each year since 1960

In 2022, many chickens died due to the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. These numbers will add to the chickens that died, were destroyed, or disappeared for any reason apart from being sold for a few cents per pound.

It will be interesting to see whether slaughter rates have passed the peak in 2020 and will decrease now the FDA has approved the first human food made using animal cell culture technology in November 2022.

Source: FAO; USDA; data last accessed 11/2022

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Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.

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