We propose an empirical law correlating the average number of walls and the average diameter in a population of multi-wall carbon nanotubes grown by catalytic chemical vapor deposition. The relationship and its dispersion are derived from the statistical analysis of a database of TEM images of nanotubes collected from more than 60 publications in literature and from our group in the last years. Considering the nanotubes were grown from independent sources in a variety of conditions and tools, it has general validity. The relationship may find applicability in a wide range of fields as it provides a simple model to quickly estimate the number of walls most likely present in a population of nanotubes from only the measure of their average diameter. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.