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 10 Most Compelling Stats
- 6% of the US Population Is Vegan
- Almost One-third of Americans Want To Eat More Vegan Food
- Vegans Are Most Likely To Be Females Under the Age of 35
- A Survey Suggests Younger People With Lower Income Are More Likely To Be Vegetarian
- A Study Suggested 69% of People Are Vegan Because of Health
- A Record of $3.1 Billion Was Invested in Alternative Proteins in 2020
- Americans Have Implemented a 5:2 Vegan Diet
- In 2021, Plant-Based Food Sales Increased by 27%
- As per Surveys, 5 to 8% of US Adults Consider Themselves To Be Vegetarians
- A Rise in Veganism Will Have a Positive Impact on the Environment
Introduction to Plant-Based Living
You might think green things are all vegan eats, but you’d be way off-base. I was a vegan for 15 years and ate much more than vegetables. A menu for a vegan might look like this:
- Breakfast – Oatmeal, toast, and a protein smoothie
- Lunch – Smashed Chickpea and Avocado Salad Sandwich
- Dinner – Beans and rice quesadilla and apple sauce
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, it’s 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.
Vegans In The US
According to Ipsos, there are more than 9.7 million vegetarians in the US, with 1 million of the population completely following a vegan diet. (Global Market Research Company Ipsos, Vegetarian Times)
Ipsos’ findings indicate a significant rise in plant-based diets, with over 9.7 million vegetarians and 1 million vegans in the US. This reflects a shift towards more ethical and sustainable eating habits.
The number of Americans who identify as vegan has increased by more than 3,000 percent over the past 15 years.
The Income of Vegans in the US Varies Greatly. (Huffpost, Vegan Bits)
The median household income in the US is about $54,000, so by comparison:
- 7% – People in the less than $50,000 range are vegetarian or vegan.
- 2% – People in the $50,000-$75,000…
- 1% – $75,000-$100,000…
- 2% – Over $100,000…
A Survey by Huffington Post Article Suggests Younger People With Lower Income Are More Likely to Be Vegetarian. (Huffington Post)
Young 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.
Vegetarians who were between ages 18 and 34 made up 6% of Huffington Post’s survey respondents. Only 2% were over age 55.
A Study Conducted in the US in 2016 Suggested that 69% of People Are Vegan Because of Health. (Faunalytics)
People are taking healthcare into their own hands. The latest Gallup poll, conducted in Dec 2022 on health and healthcare, confirms the following:
- The latest excellent/good rating for US healthcare quality is two percentage points lower than in 2021.
- But it is far below the 62% high point twice recorded in the early 2010s.
- It’s also behind the average 55% reading since 2001.
The American public is looking for healthier diets so they can take some healthcare-related issues into their own hands.
Animal Protection Is the Major Motive Behind 68% of Vegans in the US. (Faunalytics)
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.
63% of the People Adopted a Vegan Lifestyle Because They Feel Disgusted about Animal Products Such as Meat. (Faunalytics)
If people knew what was in meat – the excrement, additives, viruses, etc. – a lot more of us would be on the “disgusted bandwagon.” But I’ve also heard people say, “I don’t want to know what’s in it. I just want to eat it.”
59% of Vegans Are Concerned about the Environment. (Faunalytics)
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.
52% of People Are Vegans Because of Taste Preferences. (Faunalytics)
This statistic surprised me. Now, I know a large percentage of people enjoy fruits, vegetables, and legumes more than meat and dairy. Good to know!
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.
The Highest Number of Vegan Restaurants per Capita Are Located in Washington, DC. (Health Iq)
Washington, DC, has 15 restaurants for 1 million people. In 2021, Veg News reported there are a number of animal-rights organizations and vegan health groups like Compassion Over Killing, Animal Welfare Institute, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine within the city.
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 50.8 Million Adults in the US Claim to Eat Vegan Once in a While. (VRG)
Seldom or often, 50.8 million people in the US eat vegan food. So, around 15% of the entire country has at least tried veganism. The unknown factor is if they tried it for a day, a week, or a month.
Portland, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Are among the Top Most Vegan-friendly Cities in the US. (Forbes)
You can be served an entirely vegan meal in Portland from more than 50 different restaurants. There are 200 purely vegan and around 300 vegan/vegetarian places to go in Los Angeles. San Francisco, a city of over 3 million people, has over 450 vegan listings to go meatless.
What Percent of Americans Are Vegans
6% of the US Population Is Vegan. (PR Newswire)
6% of the US population claims to be vegan. This was a 500% (five hundred!) percent – or 6x the amount – increase from 2014 when it was 1%. Veganism is skyrocketing across the US and shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Women Account for 74 – 78% of the Vegans in the US. (Faunalytics)
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!
Males Cover a Total of 22 – 26% of the Vegan Population in the US. (Faunalytics)
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. According to Calendar-UK, a study following nearly 61,000 adults found it’s one of the best ways to stay fit and lean.
According to Stats of 2022, One-third of Americans Want to Eat More Vegan Food. (Veganuary)
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.
Demographics of Vegans
Vegans Are Most Likely to Be Females under the Age of 35. (Calendar UK.Co)
Between the Age of 25 – 34, the Percentage of Us Vegans Is 44%. (Calendar UK.Co)
This screams that younger generations are more health-conscious and/or more likely to change their lifestyles for a cause. Out of the mouths of babes…
78% of People Adopted a Vegan Lifestyle Between the Ages of 16 – 34. (Calendar UK.Co)
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 16 – 24, 52% of People Adopted a Vegan Lifestyle. (Calendar UK.Co)
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.
The Mean Age for Turning Vegan in the US Is 24.1. (Calendar UK.Co)
In 2022, about four percent of 20 to 29-year-olds in the UK stated they followed a vegan diet. Young people around the world are staking their claim that this is a better way of life.
Statistics on Veganism
Among All Packaged Meat Options, Plant-based Meat Is 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.
A Record of $3.1 Billion Was Invested in Alternative Proteins in 2020. (Good Food Institute)
The US Retail Sales of Plant-based Meat Are 1.4 Billion. (Plant Based Foods)
In 2022, the Net Sale of Plant-based Foods in the US Reached $8 Billion. (GFI)
The latest stats from 2022 show the total sale of plant-based foods in the US reached $8 billion. In 2020, refrigerated plant-based meat sales grew 75%. Sixty-three percent of US shoppers are high-repeat customers.
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.
A Rise in Veganism Will Have a Positive Impact on the Environment, as 15.4% of Greenhouse Gas Emission Is Caused by Animal Agriculture. (FFAC)
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.
Top Vegan Food Trends in the USA in 2022
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.
The Global Vegan Chocolate Market Size Will Be Worth $1.4 Billion by 2028, Hence Getting Immensely Popular among Americans. (Grand View Research)
Cadbury introduced its dairy-free version of their candy bar in 2021 in the UK. Accompanying it included a letter that read in part, “Sorry it’s taken this long. Sorry it seemed like we weren’t listening to your calls … And sorry for all the other chocolate you’ve had to eat while you waited. We simply wanted it to be perfect.”
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.
Veganism on the Rise
In 2021, Plant-based Food Sales Increased by 27%, with a Market Value of $7 Billion. (Plant Based Food Association)
In 2021, the plant-based food sales grew by 27%. 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.
This propelled refrigerated plant-based meat sales, which increased more than twice as fast as frozen plant-based meat sales.
It Is Anticipated 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.
Manufacturers stay busy to keep up with the demand and expand their retail presence through physical stores. Example: Subway and Beyond Meat collaborated to add pea protein options to their menu and created the Beyond Meatball Marinara sub sandwich.
In 2021, Plant-based Food Sales Increased at a Rate of More than Double. (The Vegan Society)
…which equaled 7.4 billion dollars worth of sales. And in 2022, the Good Food Institute reported that plant-based food sales are growing 3 times faster than total food sales.
In 2021, ‘plant-based Protein’ Online Searches Were on the Rise by 22% in the US. (Keyword Tool)
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.
In 2020, Sales of Plant-based Food Ingredients in the US Were Evaluated with Soy 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:
- Meat and dairy alternatives
- Nutrition and sports bars
- Snacks and baked goods
Soy and Pea Are Expected to Reach $1 Billion and $739 Million, Respectively, by 2030. (MRFR)
I’ve been eating soy since I became, at first, a vegan. The soy products of that era were not the soy products of today. Due to demand, manufacturers have scrambled to create better-tasting soy and, in many ways, have succeeded in doing so.
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:
- There are 14 grams of protein in one soy patty (burger).
- There are 7 grams of protein in one cup of soy milk.
- 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.
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%. 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.
How Many Vegetarians in the USA
According to Different Surveys, 5 to 8% of US Adults Consider Themselves to Be Vegetarians. (GALLUP, Forbes)
For those who don’t particularly like the taste of plant-based foods, companies are beginning to make things like cauliflower and kale mixed with meat. Now, there’s a good choice for a skeptic.
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.
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)
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 7% of the People in the US Between the Ages of 20 and 29 Are Vegetarians. (Statista Research Department)
According to Statista research department, 7% of the people between the ages of 20 and 29 are vegetarians. Ethical Globe goes on to say that a study from 2021 with respondents being 10,000 young people in 10 countries revealed their feelings about climate change:
- Very or extremely worried
- 50% felt powerless, angry, and afraid.
- Thirty-eight percent of 18-24 year olds say they’re worried about the environmental impact of keeping and killing non-human animals for food.
Just 20% of people over age 55 worry about this issue.
They actually have a name for the feelings created by climate change. It’s called “climate anxiety.”
Among the Respondents in the Same Study Between the Ages of 50 and 59, Only 2% Were Vegetarians. (Statista Research Department)
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 being crushed under currently. Or we weren’t aware of it anyway.
- 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. (Plantproteins.co)
- The market for vegan leather will reach up to $89.6 billion by 2025. (Vegconomist)
- 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.
- 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)
Is Veganism Growing?
Swiftly. You’ve seen the numbers. They’re not trickling in but growing exponentially.
Who Are Partial Vegetarians?
Flexitarians eat meat sometimes and a plant-based diet at other times.
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.
Can You Raise Children Vegan?
Absolutely. I raised my daughter as a vegan during her formative years. It’s tough due to societal pressures, but worth it!
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!