By Jack Norris, Executive Director, and Rania Hannan, Research and Assessment Specialist
On August 1, Gallup released a poll in which they asked people whether they were vegetarian and vegan, and then compared the results to the same poll they conducted in 2012 (1). Gallup framed their results as, “Few Americans Vegetarian or Vegan,” but that really depends on your perspective—applying their results to the adult population shows that 7.6 million U.S. adults consider themselves to be vegan and that’s a considerable increase from earlier decades.
Gallup found that while the percentage of vegetarians has remained at 5% since 2012, the percentage of vegans had increased from 2% to 3%—a 50% increase in six years. And if you do the math based on the U.S. adult population from 2011 and 2017—the years they used in their calculations (2)—the number of vegans has increased by an estimated 2.8 million in those six years.
There are two caveats to this poll:
- Unlike the Vegetarian Resource Group’s polls of vegetarians and vegans which ask people what foods they eat, Gallup asked people if they “consider themselves to be” a vegetarian or vegan. The Vegetarian Resource Group’s pollsters estimated there to be 3.7 million adult vegans in the U.S. in 2016 based on food frequency data (3).
- The margin of error for these Gallup polls is wide at ±4%.
That said, the trends point in the right direction and reinforce our experience on the ground—the number of vegans is growing. Thank you to everyone working to spread a vegan lifestyle and end the suffering of farmed animals!
2. Adults U.S. population taken from U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (2011). Accessed August 10, 2018. Found U.S. adult population to be 237,734,073 in 2011 and 252,063,800 in 2017.