Breaking Down TED Talks: Interesting Trends | Exhibit Edge

04/24/18 by EE Team

Breaking Down Ted

Since its foundation in 1984, the TED conference has seen a wealth of great minds from scientists to religious leaders sharing knowledge, discoveries, and wisdom on a global platform inspiring millions.

It’s undeniable that TED Talks have given giving the world free access to some of the greatest thinkers and teachers humanity has to offer, but we were curious about what these speakers have in common and just what the most popular topics spoken about are.

To answer these questions we decided to dig into the data and analyze Ted Talks delivered between 2001 and 2017 with some interesting results.

Since 2001 Ted Talks have generated over 2 billion views with the top 25 talks contributing 25% of this figure – that’s a lot of information shared throughout the world! Male speakers talks have been viewed more than females talks, parrots, however, are the least viewed speakers (yes a parrot did do a Ted Talk, honest!).



Males are out in front at nearly 3:1 when it comes to the male to female speakers ratio however the average age of female speakers tends to be younger than male speakers at 45 years old. Ted talk speakers have a wide range of ages with the youngest being just 13 years old and the oldest being a grand old age of 94. For parrots though you need to live a full life and be at least 30 if you want a shot at that Ted Talk speaking opportunity.

When it comes to the topics people are most interested in, communication ranks number one with technology a close second. A lot of the topics in the top ten are topics which give us tools and skills to help improve our lives so it’s not surprising to see happiness, education, creativity, and motivation in the top ten.


It seems people aren’t too bothered about film, anthropology, peace, or the military with these topics generating low views over the years.


Over the years it looks like we needed some motivation in 2001 and 2016, wanted to feel happier in 2004 and 2005, and then looked to the stars in 2017.


Authors and writers normally have a talent for communication so it’s no surprise that these two professions rank number one and seven in the top ten viewed speaker professions. It’s interesting to see that not one field dominates the top ten ranking with it consisting of a well rounded balance of art, science, medical, business, and social disciplines.


Ask any student and they will tell you that their professor has a lot to say! This rings true with professors taking first place in the amount of talks delivered with a total of 83 talks. It’s been said that a picture can tell a thousand words which is fitting with photographers coming in at number ten here.


When we look at female professions, author’s, businesswomen, and journalists are leading the pack for the number of talks given.


As the majority of Ted Talks are spoken in English it’s no surprise that America and Great Britain top the list of talks given with over 500 talks between them.


Looking at most popular topics by speaker nationality we Americans love our gadgets as do our Canadian neighbours. Across the pond the British like to talk about Health and the French are in love with Art.

So there you have it, Ted Talk speakers are most likely to be in their 40’s, are an author or professor and born in America or Great Britain. If this fits your profile you may very well be speaking at Ted sometime soon!

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