I compiled some programming language popularity statistics in April 2009, October 2009, October 2010 and September 2011 . Here’s an update for August 2012:

I made a number of Google searches of the forms below and summed the results (some earlier posts averaged the results):

"implemented in <language>"
  "written in <language>"

Naturally this is of very limited utility, and the numbers are only useful when comparing relatively within the same search since the number of results Google returns can vary greatly over time.

While formatting the table, I noticed there was a fairly natural break into three sections. Languages more popular than FORTRAN, languages between FORTRAN and COBOL and languages less popular than COBOL, so I highlighted the three sections :). I’m curious to see if any languages jump into a higher or lower section next time.

I also switched from HTML to using Emacs org-mode to create a textual table since the latter is so much nicer to deal with.

Update 8/5/12: Someone on the TriFunc mailing list mentioned the omission of Groovy. I don’t feel like updating the table, but I’ll record the total number of results here to allow for a comparison next time. Groovy came in at 460,300 results which puts it above Go and in the middle section.

|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|
|    | Language        |   # Search | Previous | Position | Delta from |
|    |                 |    Results | Position |    Delta |    Apr '09 |
|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|
|  1 | PHP             | 21,120,000 |        2 |        1 |          3 |
|  2 | C               | 15,440,000 |        1 |       -1 |         -1 |
|  3 | Python          | 11,441,000 |        4 |        1 |          2 |
|  4 | C++             |  9,788,000 |        3 |       -1 |         -1 |
|  5 | C#              |  8,319,000 |        5 |        0 |          2 |
|  6 | Java            |  6,020,000 |        6 |        0 |         -4 |
|  7 | Ruby            |  4,784,000 |        9 |        2 |          3 |
|  8 | Perl            |  4,183,000 |        7 |       -1 |         -2 |
|  9 | JavaScript      |  3,117,000 |        8 |       -1 |          0 |
| 10 | Lisp Family (1) |    898,680 |       10 |        0 |         -2 |
|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|
| 11 | FORTRAN         |    795,500 |       11 |        0 |        N/A |
|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|
| 12 | Haskell         |    490,000 |       14 |        2 |          3 |
| 13 | Tcl             |    476,000 |       12 |       -1 |          0 |
| 14 | Go              |    391,100 |      N/A |      N/A |        N/A |
| 15 | ML Family (2)   |    375,780 |       17 |        2 |         -1 |
| 16 | Lisp            |    352,000 |       13 |       -3 |         -4 |
| 17 | Erlang          |    334,000 |       15 |       -2 |         -1 |
| 18 | Lua             |    304,000 |       16 |       -2 |          2 |
| 19 | Common Lisp     |    256,000 |       19 |        0 |         -1 |
| 20 | R               |    221,000 |      N/A |      N/A |        N/A |
| 21 | Scala           |    219,000 |       22 |        1 |          4 |
|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|
| 22 | COBOL           |    218,600 |       18 |       -4 |        N/A |
|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|
| 23 | OCaml           |    181,100 |       20 |       -3 |         -6 |
| 24 | Prolog          |    176,300 |       21 |       -3 |         -5 |
| 25 | Forth           |    168,700 |       27 |        2 |         -2 |
| 26 | (S)ML (3)       |    159,700 |       26 |        0 |         -2 |
| 27 | Scheme          |    135,500 |       23 |       -4 |        -16 |
| 28 | Smalltalk       |    114,500 |       24 |       -4 |         -7 |
| 29 | Clojure         |     74,500 |       25 |       -4 |          0 |
| 30 | CoffeeScript    |     68,660 |      N/A |      N/A |        N/A |
| 31 | Arc             |     40,990 |       30 |       -1 |         -9 |
| 32 | Racket          |     39,690 |      N/A |      N/A |        N/A |
| 33 | Caml            |     34,980 |       28 |       -5 |         -7 |
| 34 | Io              |     23,110 |       29 |       -5 |         -7 |
|----+-----------------+------------+----------+----------+------------|

(1) combines Lisp, Scheme, Common Lisp, Racket, Arc & Clojure
(2) combines OCaml, (S)ML, Caml
(3) summed separate searches for standard ml, sml & ml