I am sure I remember reading that non-human races in the Forgotten Realms were less common than humans in one of the rule books. Is there an official percentage value for the populations of non-humans anywhere?

Specifically I'm looking at Sword Coast, Forgotten Realms in D&D 5e.

If it doesn't exist in FR for 5e, I'd also be interested in whether these numbers existed in any other previous edition (Sword Coast, Forgotten Realms) so I could convert them to 5e


2 Answers 2


The overall demographics of modern Forgotten Realms, ie. say the last couple centuries, seem not to have changed much over the various editions of the game. Since around -3000DR, when the human archmage Iolaum raised the first enclave of what would become the Netherese Empire, humans have been increasing in influence, while the dwarven and elven empires have declined ("Age of Humanity").

For individual cities, detailed statistics are available in Forgotten Realms Adventures (2e) and Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3e FRCS). Certain locations, like Evermeet or Luiren, are exclusively or mostly non-human (elves and halflings respectively); others are mentioned to have significant non-human populations like Lantan (gnomes). However most of the settlements on the surface of the continent of Faerun are predominantly human. You can get some of these data (even exact percentages) on the FR wiki.

If you are interested not in particular locations, but in the overall percentage, we can say that humans are the dominant species. In order to get data about the whole planet altogether, it would be meaningful to refer to a sourcebook that considers the whole planet as a unit, as it is observed literally from space: In the 2e game accessory Realmspace, the population analysis is summarized (page 18) as follows: "Human and humanoid races most prevalent".

Finally on the RPGnet forums, a poster with the nickname Handigar claims to have added up all the data from FRCS. Quoting from that post:

  • Faerun's total sentient population is about 66 million, roughly comparable to modern Britain or the Roman Empire.
  • Humans are the most common race, at over 80%.
  • After humans, halflings are most common with 3.5 million, followed closely by Dwarves. Elves and Orcs are rare outside their concentrations.

The Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide is the latest book covering the region, but it doesn't go into the kind of detail you're asking about. D&D 3rd Edition did - the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting is probably one of the highest density sources of Realmslore published. The first 75 pages are mostly-useless-to-5E-mechanical stuff (Feats, Prestige Classes, etc), but the rest of the 320-page book is almost pure history and lore (in a small font and tightly typeset), and it includes the kind of population data you're looking for.

You'll have to take into account the various upheavals between the editions. A lot of heavy stuff went down between the Spellplague and the Second Sundering, though a great deal of the Second Sundering was undoing things the Spellplague did. In any case, combining the two sourcebooks, possibly with the 4th Edition equivalent1, should give you decent information to synthesize appropriate values for your campaign.

1It could also turn out to be completely useless - I didn't play D&D4E, and am unfamiliar with the content of the book, but it is a potentially relevant source, so I mention it.


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