Figures indicate that the world’s equid population continues to mount.

According to, the Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT) of the United Nations estimates that the population of horses in the world is up to 58,832,221.

To arrive at this figure, the UN uses a combination of countries’ officially reported figures and their own estimates as necessary. But there is no single standard among UN countries reporting their own populations. For example, some were likely to include recreational animals while others did not. Consequently, there is ample room for error.

In 2015, the European Union released, “Removing the Blinkers: The Health and Welfare of European Union Equidae,” which estimates the equine population at 1.5 million more than that stated by FAOSTAT, only a year after last reported FAOSTAT data for equid populations.

Part of the difference between the two reports is easily explained. The EU’s report includes figures of donkeys and mules, while FAOSTAT is supposed to count them separately. However, some of the differences appear too significant to only account for donkeys and mules. For example, the FAOSTAT records Belgium’s horse population as 33,000, while the EU’s figure is 535,897.

Given the differences, reports that FAOSTAT’s figure is likely an underestimate. Further work is required to gain an accurate picture of the world’s changing population of horses.