How many people see and report UFOs?

If you’ve been to any UFO conventions or conferences no doubt, you’ve seen the exercise where the speaker will ask the audience a question. How many people have seen a UFO-UAP? The response is usually, a majority of the audience’s hands goes up.

Then the speaker will ask. How many reported your sighting? At this point, most the hands drop, and typically about 10 % of the hands remain up.

This type of exercise has propagated the UFO Community Folk wisdom that “1 in 10 persons report what they see.”

However, this exercise begs the question; that in the USA, we have 254 million adult persons. So 10% would be 25.4 million. So do we have 25.4 million UFO Sighting reports? Not by a long shot! The sum of NUFORC and MUFON data from 2001 thru 2018 total is only 146,801 sighting reports.

MUFON sighting form
The Mutual UFO Network’s UFO sighting reporting form.

I recently got into a long thread conversation in a Facebook group. The consensus of the wisdom shared with me was that 1 in 10 adult persons see UFOs-UAPS, but only 1 in 10 of those persons reports what they see.

Ok, again in the USA we have 254 million adult persons. So 10% of the adult USA population would be 25.4 million. 10% of the 25.4 million observers would be 2.54 million persons. So do we have 2.54 million UFO Sighting reports? Nope, not even close.

The 10% model and the; 10% of 10% model are both burdened with issues. Asking an audience at a UFO event the sight and reporting question is effectively preaching to the choir. Of course, you’re going to get a strong response. The other problem as I see it from a statistical viewpoint is the tiny sample size and no published measurements.

During that Facebook conversation I mentioned, someone told me about their dentist who asked all his patients about what they’d seen and reported. Again I was informed in no uncertain terms that the 10% measurement was golden. However, without published data, statistically speaking, it’s all hearsay.

What I needed was a “real” measured statistic on which to base some calculations. Then I remembered a Poll commissioned by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment back in July of 2017.

The Fox pictures poll statistic said 16.74% of adult people say they saw a UFO. If we divide the percentage into one, we get 5.97 or rounded, 1 in 6 USA adult persons saw a UFO.

The USA adult population is 254,000,000 x .1674 we arrive at 42,519,600 USA adults say they saw a UFO.

The combined NUFORC and MUFON 2001-2018 UFO sighting reports total 146,801. Sighting reports 146,800 divided by Adult observers 42,519,600 we arrive at .003452 or .3452%.

Again if we divide that percentage into one, 1/.003452 we arrive at 289.68 or rounded 1 in 290 of those USA adult UFO-UAP observers, who saw a UFO, actually reported it.

NUFORC UFO reporting form
The National UFO Reporting Center’s UFO sighting form.

Caveats: Yes, I know some people report sightings to smaller, less well-known reporting services or on Facebook groups. I estimate that about to be about another 5% or an estimated 7700 sightings for an estimated total of 154,501 possible reported sighting reports.

Again if we take the estimated sighting reports; 154,501 divided by Adult observers 42,519,600 we arrive at .0036336 or .36336%. 1/.0036336, we arrive at 1 in 275 person’s reports what they see. The calculation amounts to a minor difference of about 15 persons in the scheme of things.

Of course, as the saying goes, “your mileage may vary.” This model might not accurately reflect state and local UFO sighting report ratios without polling data for your state.

In the final analysis, paradigm of “10% reports what they see” and the “10% of 10% reports what they see” models do not reflect anything close to reality in terms of UFO sightings vs. UFO sighting reports.

2 comments
  1. You will find that in hot-spot areas of regular UFO activity, the local populous becomes inured to sighting events which become commonplace and almost normal to the residents. Having lived and intensively investigated well over a thousand actual UFO reports in the San Luis Valley in SoCO from 1992-2002, I can assure you that the ratio between sightings and reports is many times lower than “10%”. In fact, I would estimate the ratio to be 1 in 50 sightings being reported, the number may even be higher! Sightings are so commonplace that they have become a part of the everyday landscape, in the SLV and probably elsewhere. I admire and applaud the immense amount of work you are doing Cheryl, but (as I’ve illustrated) at least in the SLV, tubers of actual reports in no way represent the amount of witnessed activity that has been occurring since at least the late 1940s. See the SLV Event log I’ve provided you…

  2. Using the USA national Say-They-Saw ratio of .1674 as a baseline statistic.
    Colorado Pop: 5,696,000
    Colorado Reported Sightings NUFORC & MUFON 2001-2018 = 4021
    5,696,000 X .1674 = Est 953,510 Colorado residents might have seen a UFO.
    Reported/Saw-pop= ratio 4021/953,510 =.004217 1/.004217 = 237
    1 in 237 Colorado Residents, who saw a UFO, reported it.

    San Luis Valley Pop: 47,950
    San Luis Valley Reported Sightings NUFORC & MUFON 2001-2018 = 71
    47,950 X .1674 = Est. 8,026 San Luis Valley residents might have seen a UFO.
    Reported/Saw-pop= ratio 71/8,026= .008845 1/.008845 = 113
    1 in 113 San Luis Valley Residents, who saw a UFO, reported it.
    Those are the numbers based on the past 18 years of reported sighting data, based on my formula.
    Respectfully – Cheryl

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