Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

How Many Vegans Are In The US? 2024 Updated Numbers

By admin Jun11,2024

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Meat or tofu? That is the question. Vegans are popping up in America faster than a cow goes “Moo.” So, how many vegans are in the US? And is it possible for most of our country to eat less meat? It’s not only possible; it’s probable. 

Nielsen reported that a huge percentage of Americans (39%) want to be vegan and do try to eat more vegetables. Most of the world, places like Europe and Israel, are way ahead of us in our choices for a vegan entree, but we’re doing our best to catch up.

Veganism and vegetarianism are two quite different ways of life. We’ll talk about what that means, along with much more. 

So sit back, get ready to learn, and grab a celery stick with some peanut butter on it. 

Top 9 Most Compelling Stats

Introduction to Plant-Based Living

Veganism – A diet/way of life that consists of eating no meat or animal additives. This is often coupled with a lifestyle that includes wearing no animal protection like leather, fur, etc.

Vegetarianism – A diet that consists of eating no meat. It can include eating dairy and fish, among other things. 

Over 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. But plenty of vegans think veganism is more a lifestyle than a diet. I do. I’m a pescatarian. I don’t eat meat except for fish, but since it’s for moral reasons, saving animals from abuse is a way of life for me.

I also don’t wear any material that only belongs to animals – leather, fur, feathers, etc. – and I only buy cruelty-free products. 

Many vegans eat this way for their health, religion, or for moral reasons. Veganism also helps our planet in plenty of ways, so those who are concerned about climate change join the revolution, too.

But are there lots of people switching steak for veggie burgers? Just how many vegans are there in the US? I’m honored to be the one to fill you in, so let’s go.

How Many Vegans In The US

4% (13.4 Million) of the Population of Americans Are Vegans (Statista)

Statista’s findings indicate a significant rise in plant-based diets, with over 13.4 million, which equates to 4% of vegans in the US. This reflects a shift towards more ethical and sustainable eating habits.

Veganism is skyrocketing across the US and shows no signs of stopping any time soon. 

Vegan and vegetarian share by income

The number of Americans who identify as vegan has increased by more than 3,000 percent over the past 15 years.

A Survey by Gallup Article Suggests People With Lower Income Are More Likely to Be Vegetarian. (Gallup)

vegan demographics

Americans are passionate about lining up their lifestyles with what they believe in – For the climate, animals, or other interests. It doesn’t matter how much money they make.

People in the US who make less than $30,000 a year are more likely to be vegetarians. Nine percent of them say they are vegetarians.

A Study Conducted by Veganuary Suggested that 21% of People Are Vegan Because of Health. (Veganuary)

The major motivation behind 21% of people choosing a vegan lifestyle in the US population is personal health concerns.

reasons why people are vegan

The American public is looking for healthier vegan foods so they can take some healthcare-related issues into their own hands.

Animal Protection Is the Major Motive Behind 40% of Vegans in the US. (Veganuary)

what is the percentage of vegetarians in the world

This statistic highlights the importance of animal welfare and protection as a driving force behind many individuals’ decision to adopt a vegan lifestyle in the United States.

This was my reason in 1995 when I became vegan and still is today as a pescatarian. Lots of animal rights activists are vegan or vegetarian. The two go hand-in-hand.

18% of Vegans Are Concerned about the Environment. (Veganuary)

This is because animal agriculture has been identified as a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution.

There is a fascinating article that explains how veganism helps our environment. It’s one of the most cohesive, truthful articles on the subject I’ve ever read.

Stats for 2023 Show There Are 28,865 Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in the US. (IBIS World)

Both vegan and vegetarian restaurants make a total of 28,865 in the US. Stats for 2020 revealed there are 1,474 vegan restaurants. London, UK alone, has 200 vegan restaurants. Although the above stat shows a paltry amount for a country as large as the US, it’s a start. 

vegan population in us

Stats for 2023 Show There Are 28,865 Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in the US. (IBIS World)

The number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the US has grown by an average of 3.8% per year from 2018 to 2023. California, New York, and Texas have the highest number of these businesses.

The Highest Number of Vegan Restaurants per Capita Are Located in Portland, Oregon. (Statista)

You can be served an entirely vegan meal in Portland from more than 53 all-vegan restaurants. From vegan ice cream to fine dining, Portland’s vegan restaurants and businesses make the city a paradise for herbivores.

US Cities with the most vegan Restaurant

Central LA currently has 61 fully vegan restaurants, 145 vegan businesses of various types, and 652 vegan-friendly listings.

In Online Retail Sales, ‘Plant-based’ Was Listed as the Category of the Year in 2021. (Business Wire)

This shows a 199% YOY (Year Over Year) growth in online retail sales. In 2021, plant-based food sales were 2.5 times faster than in 2018–2020.

The Vegetarian Resource Group Conducted a Poll That Showed 74.82 Million Adults in the US Claim to Eat Vegan Once in a While. (VRG)

There are about 258 million adults in the U.S. Approximately 74.82 million adults always, usually, or sometimes eat vegan meals. The unknown factor is whether they tried it for a day, a week, or a month.

Demographics of Vegans

Women Account for 78% of the Vegans in the US. (Vegan Bits)

I could say that women are wiser than men when it comes to nutritional choices. I could say they’re stronger and more apt to stand by their convictions. But I won’t! 

This stat falls in line with the demographic that is carrying the torch towards the veganism finish line. Females are also more likely to try new diets of any kind.

Males Cover a Total of 22 of the Vegan Population in the US. (Vegan Bits)

Males are getting in on the action, too. As they learn, there’s more than meat protein that keeps a body strong, and about the other health benefits as well, this number will continue to increase.

Vegans Are Most Likely to Be Females under the Age of 35. (Calendar UKCo)

78% of vegans adopted a vegan lifestyle between the ages of 16 and 34, with 52% making the change between 16 and 24.

how many vegans are in the America

Young Adults Aged 18–19 Have the Highest Percentage of Vegans at Around 7%. (Statista)

Veganism is more prevalent among younger age groups in the US. Approximately seven percent of people in the U.S. aged 18 to 19 follow a vegan diet.

This screams that younger generations are more health-conscious and/or more likely to change their lifestyles for a cause.

US citizens aged 20 -29 years have the highest percentage of vegans. (Statista)

how many people are vegan

Many moons ago, when I was 30 years old, I began my no-meat journey. It’s a way of life I’m proud of, and it lines up with this stat.

Between the Age of 40-49 People Adopted a Vegan Lifestyle (Statista)

Between the ages of 40-49, four percent of people in the U.S. adopted a vegan lifestyle, reflecting a shift in meat consumption habits among this age group. Food companies are responding to this trend by offering more plant-based options to cater to the growing number of older adults who are reducing or eliminating meat from their diets.

The Mean Age for Turning Vegan in the US Is 24.1. (Calendar UK.Co)

US vegans & vegetarian population

Progressive, dedicated, and hopeful young people are paving the way for America to follow. Although the most frequent ages for them to go vegan are 19, 20, and 21. Young people around the world are staking their claim that this is a better way of life.

According to Stats of 2022, One-third of Americans Want to Eat More Vegan Food. (Veganuary)

what percentage of the world population is vegan

Since 2014, the website Veganuary has signed up over 2.5 million people who want to try veganism. Their vision is for a vegan world with no slaughterhouses. The current momentum is in their favor, as one-third of Americans want to eat more vegan food.

In the US, a Higher Percentage of People, 39%, Are Not Strictly Vegan, but They Aim to Be. (Nielsen)

This stat is worth reiterating since it shows how many Americans want to try plant-based diets for their own reasons. When it gets down to our health and our planet being in peril, people start to take notice and realize veganism is one way to improve both. 

Is Veganism Growing

number of vegans to reduce animal suffering

The US Retail Sales of Plant-based Meat Are 1.4 Billion. (Plant Based Foods)

The US retail sales of plant-based meat are 1.4 billion, and milk is 2.5 billion dollars. Plant-based meal sales come in at 520 million dollars.

In 2022, Plant-based Food Sales Increased by 6.6%, with a Market Value of $8 Billion. (Plant Based Food Association)

In 2022, plant-based food dollar sales experienced a 6.6% growth, reaching $8 billion. However in 2021, the plant-based food sales grew by 27% (7 billion) and in 2020, refrigerated plant-based meat sales grew 75%. These products were often placed directly beside traditional meat. This form of advertising, or product placement, helped put meat-free products front and center, and consumers responded.

Value of the Plant Based Foods Market in the us

This propelled refrigerated plant-based meat sales, which increased more than twice as fast as frozen plant-based meat sales. 

In 2020, Sales of Plant-Based Food Ingredients in the US Were Evaluated, and Soybeans Were Valued at $587.1 Million. (MRFR, Statista)

In 2020, the pandemic created an abrupt increase in demand for plant-based alternatives around the world. This swell caused some slaughterhouses to close (yay!). Meat-less manufacturers took the opportunity to increase advertising and product offers.

Pea Valued at $417.4. (MRFR)

Healthline reports pea protein powder is a high-quality protein (80%) full of iron, branched-chain amino acids, and arginine. They go on to say, “It’s digested and absorbed well and works with a variety of diets.” 

Extracting protein from yellow peas creates this supplement, which can help in weight loss and muscle growth. 

Examples of products it can be used in:

  1. Meat and dairy alternatives
  2. Nutrition and sports bars
  3. Snacks and baked goods
  4. Beverages  

Soy and Pea Are Expected to Reach $1 Billion and $739 Million, Respectively, by 2030. (MRFR)

plant-based food & meat substitute

The health benefits of soy are arguable, depending on who’s describing them. Some naysayers think soy is overrated. The facts from Harvard University, as well as many other reputable sources, are:

  1. There are 14 grams of protein in one soy patty (burger).
  2. There are 7 grams of protein in one cup of soy milk.
  3. There are 4 grams of protein in one oz. of soy cheese.

I eat all of the above, and these totals are listed on the products themselves. 

In 2021, ‘Plant-based Protein’ Online Searches Were on the Rise by 22% in the US. (Keyword Tool)

vegetarians eating food

Consumers took it to the Internet. Also, in 2021, Google searches for ‘vegan food near me’ had a more than 5000% increase. Searches for recipes, definitions of veganism, and how to go vegan are keeping Google busy.

From 2012 to 2017, the US Sales of Plant-based Milk Increased by 61%. (Mintel)

The consumption of non-dairy milk in the US has increased by 61% from 2012 to 2017. WebMD reports that between 2018-2022, the consumption of cow’s milk dropped by 13%. The global plant-based milk market is projected to reach $36 billion by the end of 2033, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9%.

If the US stays on this trajectory, hopefully, dairy farms will be a thing of the past. They’re highly abusive to the animals, including calves, and should have been closed down long ago. 

The Most Reluctant US State in Following the Veganism Trend Is Mississippi. (Vegconomist)

They’re followed by South Dakota, North Dakota, and Alabama. Poverty, tradition, and location (rural or urban) all have a part to play in this. 

It Is Anticipated That by 2026, the Plant-Based Meat Market Will Register a Compound Growth Rate of 18.9%. (Globe News Wire)

The expected 18.9% growth in the plant-based meat market by 2026 reflects a strong consumer preference for healthy food options.

Top Vegan Food Trends In the USA

what percent of the world is vegan

Americans Have Implemented a 5:2 Vegan Diet, in Which They Eat Vegetables for 5 Days a Week and Meat for 2 Days. (BBC Good Food)

Deciding to be flexitarian is the easiest way to go vegan. It doesn’t ‘shock the system’ so much and gradually introduces a person to veganism. A ‘plant-based’ diet describes one that doesn’t have a large proportion of meat. 

Except for the Health Benefits, Vegan Eggs Have Gained Popularity in the US Because They Require 83% Less Land and 98% Less Water to Produce. (PR Newswire)

JUST eggs surely have revolutionized the vegan food menu list. Sometimes, we don’t think about the production costs of our food when that is the very thing that accelerates climate change. Ag production = Using land and water.

Vegan Nuggets and Burgers Now Have Plant-based Meat with 35% Less Fat. (Forbes)

Since plant-based diets are no longer a fad, companies are responding with what (mostly) women want… Lowfat products

In 2022, a Rise in Mycoprotein Utilization Has Also Been Observed in the US. (Science Direct)

Since 1985, mycoprotein has been a food choice and is the ingredient name for a food-grade protein source. This protein is made from a type of fungus, Fusarium venenatum (PTA 2684). It was developed specifically for the production of food-grade protein.

Potato Milk with Low Saturated Fats and Sugar Has Also Paved Its Path in the US Market in 2022. (Forbes)

There are at least 15 non-dairy milks in the US market, including banana, rice, hazelnut, and my two favorites, soy and almond. Some Americans are realizing the stress and pain inflicted on cows to produce milk; others are making the change for health reasons or allergies.

Statistics on Veganism 

how many vegans in the us

The 2023 valuation for the Global Vegan Chocolate Market was USD 1.33 Billion, expected to reach USD 3.00 Billion by 2030. (Maximize Market)

With an average annual chocolate consumption of just under 2 pounds per person, global chocolate consumption in 2024 has reached 7.5 million tons or 16 billion pounds per year.

The Alternative Protein Industry Garnered $1.6 Billion in Investments in 2023. (Good Food Institute)

The alternative protein industry secured $1.6 billion in investments in 2023 and an additional $299 million in the first quarter of 2024, bringing total investments to $16 billion.

The Livestock Industry Is Estimated To Contribute to 15%–18% of Total Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas Emissions. ((MPRA)

The current practices of meat, egg, and dairy production are not only inefficient but also unsustainable. These practices contribute to climate change, environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, and antibiotic resistance, and it’s crucial to take action to address these issues.

This stat is higher than any influence on the environment by the transport sector.

According to PETA, 91% of the Amazon Rainforest’s Destruction Is Linked to Animal Agriculture. (PETA)

Animal agriculture has caused the destruction of 91% of the Amazon rainforest. Deforestation, the clearing of trees, is largely due to agricultural farming industries to make room for farm animals to graze and to plant food for those animals waiting to be slaughtered. Felled trees emit carbon dioxide, which fuels climate change. 

Among All Packaged Meat Options, Plant-Based Meat Is at 2%. (Science Direct)

In 2019, plant-based meat substitutes in the US generated $939 million in sales, comprising 2% of total retail packaged meat sales.

According to the Plant Based Foods Association, ⅓ of Americans are reducing the amount of meat and dairy in their diets. Flexitarians (those who go vegan sporadically) represent the largest group for growth in plant-based products.

Percentage of Vegetarians In the US

what percent of americans are vegetarian

Almost 10% of Americans Above 18 Years Old Consider Themselves As Either Vegetarian or Vegan. (Alliance for Science)

Eating less meat saves animals. Period. Not to mention the abuse they experience at the hands of some slaughterhouse employees. I won’t link graphic videos here, but I have in other articles. You can find them on the Internet that show, without a doubt, that animal abuse is rampant in factory farming.  

People who don’t consider themselves vegetarian are starting to dip their toes in the water and focus on hybrid meat-veggie foods. It’s a compromise of the two diets.

Companies are beginning to make things like cauliflower and kale mixed with meat for those who don’t particularly like the taste of plant-based foods. Now, there’s a good choice for a skeptic.

According to the Results of a Gallup Poll, Both Vegetarian and Vegan Diets Are Common among Young Individuals Between the Ages of 18 and 29. (Gallup)

vegan options in grocery stores for meat eater

Ethical Globe suggests that research shows when 25% of a population adopts a belief or behavior, it acts as motivation towards the behavior and away from the mainstream. If this is correct, Millennials and Gen Z-ers will be trailblazing the path toward veganism as a way of life.

A Survey Conducted from 2021 to 2022 Revealed That Almost 4% of the People in the US Between the Ages of 30 and 39 Are Vegetarians. (Gallup)

Gallup’s latest Consumption Habits poll reveals that 4% of Americans identify as vegetarian and 1% as vegan. These numbers are consistent with previous Gallup findings from 2012 and 2018.

how many vegetarians & meat eaters in the world

Among the Respondents in the Same Study Between the Ages of 50 and 64, Only 4% Were Vegetarians. (Gallup)

I’m in this age bracket, and it’s rare for me to find another vegan/vegetarian in my age group. We were raised on meat and potatoes and actually had a planet that hadn’t sustained the weight it’s currently being crushed under. Or we weren’t aware of it anyway!

Vegan Facts

percentage of vegetarians in us
  • High-income households are significantly more likely to be omnivorous (75% vs. 67%) compared to low-income households. (Ipsos)
  • A 2018 Oxford University study found that the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact is to avoid animal products. (Oxford)
  • The global plant-based leather market was valued at USD 18.58 billion in 2023, forecasted to grow to USD 44.13 billion by 2032. (Polar Research)
  • The most consistently ‘vegan’ state is Oregon, achieving the highest search value for 12 years out of 15. (Vegconomist)
  • Popular plant-based products are milk, ice cream, cheese, butter, and others. (Allied Market Research)
  • Nowadays, many companies that make plant-based nuggets boast that their product contains only seven ingredients, at just 120 calories but 13g of protein per serving. (Forbes)
  • In recent years, several meat-free fast-food restaurants have opened across the U.S. These include Veggie Grill, Plant Power Fast Food, Monty’s Good Burger, and Amy’s Drive-Thru. (Plant Protein co)
  • Los Angeles offers 19 Thai vegan restaurants, a vegan cheese-dedicated restaurant, a gourmet vegan Japanese restaurant, and so much more. (Total Food Service)
  • Maybe the US is not the leading country in the world when it comes to veganism, but the demand for more vegan and vegetarian-based food is on the rise. (Total Food Service)

FAQs

What Percent of Americans are Vegetarian?

According to Statista, roughly five percent of the U.S. population is vegetarian.

How Hard Is It To Become a Vegan?

Slow and steady wins the race. Going from a complete omnivore to being a vegan or vegetarian in a day or even a week is extremely difficult. Start by going on a meat-free diet for one day a week and slowly work your way to two days, then three, and so on.

As I write, my sister is making the change by starting this way. Her reason for the decision? “I want to make a difference for the better… for our granddaughters’ future. They shouldn’t have to be afraid; there’s not going to be a planet left when they grow up.” She’s 65 years old. 

Where Is Veganism Most Popular in the US?

The states with the most vegans/vegetarians are Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and California.

Conclusion

If I had a magic wand, I’d wave it and wish our entire country were vegans. Animal cruelty in agricultural farming settings would stop. Our planet could begin repairing itself (if it still can). And so many human lives would be saved. 

Eating meat is killing… It’s killing precious animal lives that are sentient yet have no say in the matter. It’s killing precious human lives who have illnesses related to meat consumption. It’s killing our precious planet. Tree by tree.

If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, please think about it. Start eating plant-based foods one day a month and then see how it goes. And if you’re already a vegan or vegetarian, you should be wearing an “S” on your chest because you’re a hero. 

I try hard to be factual with every article I write, and this one was no different. I also become emotional when it comes to this issue. Why? We can stop all the pain and destruction just by putting different foods in our stomachs.

So keep it up, America! We’re going in the right direction, and I have four words for you. Thank you so much!

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