The 89117 zip code in Las Vegas holds the most registered hobbyist drone users in the country.
Researchers at the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College combed through a database by the Federal Aviation Administration of every drone registration up to Oct. 31 to determine the areas with the most number of registered drones.
As of Oct. 31, there were 836,796 hobbyist users and 106,739 nonhobbyist drones registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, according to the analysis by Bard College.
The FAA implemented a rule in December 2015 requiring that anybody operating a drone weighing more than 250 grams in U.S. airspace must register with the agency and pay a $5 fee.
The 10 states with the largest number of registered non-hobbyist drone systems are California, Texas, Florida, New York, North Carolina, Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Collectively, these states are home to 55 percent of all registered non-hobbyist drones. California alone accounts for nearly 20 percent of all registered non-hobbyist drones.
The 10 states with the fewest registered users are Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Wyoming, South Dakota, West Virginia, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Maine, and Alaska. The five states with the greatest number of non-hobbyist drones per capita are, in descending order, Alaska (71 drones per 100,000 residents), Idaho (71 per 100,000), North Dakota (64 per 100,000), Colorado (61 per 100,000), and Montana (59 per 100,000). Together, these states account for 5.4 percent of all drones, even though they only make up about three percent of the U.S. population. Washington, D.C. has more than 98 drones per 100,000 residents, even though the city falls within restricted airspace where drone operations are prohibited without a special permission.
The five states with the fewest drones per capita are New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, Missouri, and Rhode Island. These states have between 18 and 21 registered non-hobbyist drones per 100,000 people. Together, these states' share of total drone registrations is about six times smaller than their share of the U.S. population.
States with a low population density appear to have more non-hobbyist drones per capita than densely populated states. In Alaska, the population density is one person per square mile. In North Dakota, there are 10 people per square mile. Meanwhile, in New York and New Jersey, which both ranked poorly in terms of per capita non-hobbyist drones, there are 420 and 1,218 people per square mile, respectively. The average population density for the top 25 states with the most registered non-hobbyist drones per capita is about 110 people per square mile, while the average population density for the 25 states with the fewest registered drones per capita is 287 people per square mile. Some states grew more than the national average in 2017.
The five states with the largest increase in non-hobbyist registrations this year relative to 2016 are Nebraska (185 percent more registrations than the previous year), Wyoming (164 percent), and Idaho. The five states with the lowest growth are Vermont (58 percent), Rhode Island (56 percent), New Mexico (55 percent), Delaware (43 percent), and Alabama (39 percent).
There are 16,075 U.S. zip codes with registered non-hobbyist drones, meaning that around 37 percent of zip codes in the U.S. have a registered non-hobbyist drone (there are approximately 43,000 zip codes in the U.S.). The individual zip codes with the greatest number of non-hobbyist drones are 94043 (Mountain View, California), 94025 (Menlo Park, California), 32114 (Daytona Beach, Florida), 36112 (Montgomery, Alabama), 27615 (Raleigh, North Carolina).
The individual zip codes with the highest number of drones per capita are 33122 (Doral, Florida), 90095 (Los Angeles, California), 36112 (Montgomery, Alabama), 82801 (Sheridan, Wyoming), and 81612 (Aspen, Colorado). There are 147 zip codes where there is at least one non-hobbyist drone per 100 residents. There are 933 non-hobbyist drones registered in 76 countries and territories outside the U.S.
The non-U.S. countries with the most registered drones are Canada (207), the U.K. (112), Germany (72), Australia (52), France (46), and Israel (41).