Frequently Asked Questions

Section 7.1 - Barrel of Fun Index (BFI):

The BFI is determined by counting the total number of barrels in circulation in the United States and its territories in a given month and calculating the percentile of barrels that fall under the category of “fun.” The criterion for this index is as follows:

  • Barrel resides in the United States or a territory under the jurisdiction of the United States and;
  • Barrel contains a living clown residing in the barrel for a period of no less than 14 days, or;
  • Barrel contains one or more monkeys.

Due to revised government safety standards for fun, barrels containing expired clowns are not measured by the BFI and are instead included in the Food Barrel Index (FBI). The United States is currently a leading exporter of expired clown barrels to the developing world.

Although cracker barrels are considered fun in some parts of the country, federal regulations stipulate that they be omitted from the BFI. Barrels of fish are not included, even if used for gaming purposes. The Bureau of Barrel Statistics has no way of verifying that the fish are not on the protected species list and were caught with valid fishing licenses during designated fishing seasons. Thus fish barrel figures are omitted from the BFI due to potential illegalities. Finally, the BFI does not chart recreational barrel usage or barrels used in lieu of clothing. Because there is no way to gather accurate or even meaningful statistics, activities such as riding barrels down waterfalls or wearing a barrel around your person are not factored into the index.

The BFI primarily charts two distinct barrel statistics. Clowns per Barrel (CPB) and Monkeys per Barrel (MPB) are used to show the respective percentages of barrels containing clowns and monkeys in circulation. In regards to the MPB, the percentage is not to be used as the total number of monkeys existing inside of barrels, but rather the percentage of barrels that contain at least one monkey. Some barrels contain multiple monkeys. The MPB does not take this into account.


There is overlap with the Barrel of Fun Index and the Explosive Barrel Index, as barrels containing clowns are known to explode when handled improperly. Clown barrels are thus a key component of both indexes.


The BFI has undergone considerable changes since it was created in 1968 at the behest of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who learned that the Bureau of Barrel Statistics lacked numbers concerning barrel related fun. At first, the BFI tracked a myriad of fun barrel uses, including midgets per barrel, puppies per barrel, and candy per barrel. The practice of storing midgets in barrels was outlawed in 1976 when midgets were granted equal rights, so the BFI began tracking Monkeys per Barrel figures instead. From 1982-1984 the BFI tracked barrels containing escape artists. However the Escapist per Barrel (EPB) figures were highly unreliable due to market instability and a high level of fraud.

The BFI has thus been downsized to report only essential figures with values of use to governments and private business.

In 2004 the European Union launched L'Index Joyeux de Baril to provide Western Europe with similar barrel statistics. Currently it tracks both CPB and MPB, though the figures are dubious at best due to the inclusion of invisible barrels used by mimes.


Premium membership to the Bureau of Barrel Statistics is free to all U.S. residents. Services include real time SMS updates of all barrel statistics tracked, including BFI figures. For more information, visit the Premium Membership site.

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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