We present a determination of the distributions of the photon spectral index and gamma-ray flux—the so-called log N–log S relation—for the 352 blazars detected with a greater than approximately 7σ detection threshold and located above ±20◦ Galactic latitude by the Large Area Telescope of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in its first year catalog. Because the flux detection threshold depends on the photon index, the observed raw distributions do not provide the true log N–log S counts or the true distribution of the photon index. We use the non-parametric methods developed by Efron and Petrosian to reconstruct the intrinsic distributions from the observed ones which account for the data truncations introduced by observational bias and includes the effects of the possible correlation between the two variables. We demonstrate the robustness of our procedures using a simulated data set of blazars and then apply these to the real data and find that for the population as a whole the intrinsic flux distribution can be represented by a broken power law with high and low indices of −2.37 ± 0.13 and −1.70 ± 0.26, respectively, and the intrinsic photon index distribution can be represented by a Gaussian with mean of 2.41±0.13 and width of 0.25± 0.03. We also find the intrinsic distributions for the sub-populations of BL Lac and flat spectrum radio quasar type blazars separately. We then calculate the contribution of Fermi blazars to the diffuse extragalactic gamma-ray background radiation. Under the assumption that the flux distribution of blazars continues to arbitrarily low fluxes, we calculate the best-fit contribution of all blazars to the total extragalactic gamma-ray output to be 60%, with a large uncertainty.

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Copyright © 2012 The American Astronomical Society This article first appeared in The Astrophysical Journal 753, no. 1 (2012): 45. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/753/1/45.

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