Who Is More Famous Than Jesus?

by | May 14, 2019


Who is more famous than Jesus? Clue: It’s not the Beatles.

The MIT Media Lab, via a project named Pantheon, has analyzed Wikipedia pages and number of page views to determine the most famous people in history. As a threshold, to be considered famous enough to be ranked by Pantheon an individual must have a Wikipedia page in at least 25 different languages. This consists of 11,341 people as of May 2013 (last time data set was run). From there, Pantheon uses various factors in an algorithm to calculate relative popularity rank.

The MIT Pantheon website is pretty cool, you can slice and dice data in all sorts of ways: MIT Pantheon Website. Below are some interesting results from Pantheon.

25 Most Famous People

  1. Aristotle
  2. Plato
  3. Jesus Christ
  4. Socrates
  5. Alexander the Great
  6. Leonardo da Vinci
  7. Confucius
  8. Julius Caesar
  9. Homer
  10. Pythagoras
  11. Archimedes
  12. Moses
  13. Muhammad
  14. Abraham
  15. Adolf Hitler
  16. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  17. Charlemagne
  18. William Shakespeare
  19. Michelangelo
  20. Augustus
  21. Napoleon Bonaparte
  22. Isaac Newton
  23. Albert Einstein
  24. Christopher Columbus
  25. Johann Sebastian Bach

10 Most Common Domains (Professions)

  1. Politician
  2. Actor
  3. Writer
  4. Soccer Player
  5. Religious Figure
  6. Singer
  7. Musician
  8. Philosopher
  9. Physicist
  10. Composer

Top Birth Countries For Famous People

  1. United States
  2. United Kingdom
  3. France
  4. Italy
  5. Germany
  6. Russia
  7. Spain
  8. Turkey
  9. Poland
  10. The Netherlands
  11. Greece
  12. Austria
  13. Japan
  14. Sweden
  15. India
  16. Brazil
  17. Ukraine

Most Famous Americans

  1. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  2. Elvis Presley
  3. Marilyn Monroe
  4. Walt Disney
  5. Benjamin Franklin
  6. Edgar Allen Poe
  7. George Washington
  8. Thomas Edison
  9. Abraham Lincoln
  10. Jimi Hendrix

Most Famous St. Louisians

  1. Miles Davis
  2. Chuck Berry
  3. T. S. Eliot
  4. Josephine Baker
  5. William S. Burroughs
  6. Vincent Price
  7. William Holden
  8. Shelley Winters
  9. Roger D. Kornberg
  10. Kevin Kline

Most Famous Musicians

  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Bob Marley
  3. Bob Dylan
  4. John Lennon
  5. Louis Armstrong
  6. Paul McCartney
  7. Niccolo Paganini
  8. Franz Liszt
  9. Eric Clapton
  10. Ray Charles

Various Most Famous

Cyclist: Eddy Merckx

Golfer: Tiger Woods

Baseball Player: Babe Ruth

Economist: Karl Marx

Astronomer: Galileo

Computer Scientist: Alan Turing

Model: Twiggy

Writer: Homer

Architect: Imhotep


  1. Roger Kornberg? How do we claim him? What of the 12 or so other Nobel Prize winners that lived AND were educated in St Louis? What of Joseph Pulitzer, Ellie Klemper, John Hamm, Sterling Brown, karlie Kloss, Jonathan Franzen etc?


    • Get point. The MIT list is by birth city.

  2. The Lindy effect seems to apply to fame.

    Siri gave this list:

    4-William Shakespeare
    5-Abraham Lincoln
    6-George Washington
    7-Adolf Hitler
    9-Alexander the Great
    10-Thomas Jefferson

    Jesus seems to have an unfair advantage with more than 5 billion Bibles in print.

    • Yes! The rankings totally reflect the Lindy Effect. Longevity is one of the factors. And think – who is more likely to be famous in 1000 years Jesus and Plato or Jimi Hendrix and Donald Trump?


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Subscribe To The IFOD

Get the Interesting Fact of the Day delivered twice a week. Plus, sign up today and get Chapter 2 of John's book The Uncertainty Solution to not only Think Better, but Live Better. Don't miss a single post!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This
%d bloggers like this: