You may not have woken up this morning and thought, “How many vegans are in the world?” but the way of life has certainly gained interest since the 2010s. When you learn about everything our animals live through and die from due to the meat industry, veganism may not be so “I would never!” to you.
I can hear some of you omnivores saying, “No way!” but look at this article to learn more about these space creatures known as vegans.
(I can say that and get away with it since I was one for 15 years and am currently a pescatarian. I still live a vegan lifestyle, but we’ll get to that later.)
Let’s take a look at the entire world to see where vegans live and who has the most of them. Bet you don’t know what Veganuary is, so we’ll talk about that, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll slip some more veggies into your diet. Just some food for thought.
Top 10 Most Inspiring Stats
- There Are Approximately 88 Million Vegans in the World
- Three-Quarters of the Vegan Population Is Covered by Females
- In India, 9% of the People Are Vegans
- Almost 2 Million People in the UK Are Vegans
- In the US, there are more than 15.5 Million Vegans
- Almost 1–2% of the World’s Population Is Vegan
- Dairy Alternatives Are Used by 48% of Consumers
- The Vegan Food Market Is Expected To Increase by $31.4 Billion in 2026
- More Than 629,000 People Signed Up for the Veganuary Campaign in 2022
- A Vegan Diet Is Lower in Cholesterol and Higher in Fiber
The State of Veganism Around the World
Would you buy a shirt if you knew you’d be paying for it with “drug money” or purchase something from a known criminal? I wouldn’t, and that’s a large part of why I became vegan.
I didn’t want to eat animals treated so inhumanely that you would have nightmares about it if you saw what happens to them in a video.
As a former founder/director of an animal sanctuary, I also knew I couldn’t eat animals and try to find loving homes for them simultaneously. It just wasn’t right. And so started my journey.
We’ll start with the basics. “Us vegans/vegetarians/pescatarians and there’s more(!) are accustomed to people rolling their eyes when we say what our diets are. But if you could think about it this way…It’s part of who I am. I strongly believe in the way of life I’ve chosen, and that’s what veganism is: A way of life.
So let’s begin with the basics and learn what the heck these words mean:
OMNIVORE – “feeding on food of both plant and animal origin.” (It’s easy to think humans are carnivorous when, in reality, we’re omnivores.)
CARNIVORE – “an animal that feeds on flesh.” (No human, except for my Uncle Brutus, eats only meat, and it’s why the definition pertains to an animal.)
VEGAN – “a person who does not eat any food derived from animals and who typically does not use other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.” (Products made from leather, feathers, fur, etc., and products tested on animals are off-limits for vegans/non-meat eaters – For me as well.)
VEGETARIAN – “a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons.”
PESCATARIAN – “a person who does not eat meat but does eat fish.” (Fish IS meat, but some don’t see it as such.)
FLEXITARIAN – “a person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish.”
Although veganism doesn’t have fans in a frenzy lining up at the door to become one, it has gained popularity in the last ten years. In the ’60s, only a couple of hundred vegans were in the UK.
And in the 70s, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting an American’s home who was having meatloaf for dinner.
Questions like “How are creatures being treated before they reach my plate?” largely weren’t thought about. In the 80s and 90s, vegans and vegetarians were scoffed at and laughed at. (They still are, but not to the same extent.)
In the last ten years, people have begun to scratch their heads and say, ‘Wait a minute. There could be something to this vegan thing.’ And with good reason. Meat, with its additives, preservatives, bacteria, parts of animals, random organs, excrement, and such (I wish I were kidding), is not very good for humans.
And some more bad news… (I hope you’re not eating breakfast.) You’d think salmonella would be such a toxic bacteria that if people found it in their meat, someone would need to pay the price. Truth is, they don’t.
The USDA actually allows poultry producers to sell meat that may be contaminated with salmonella. That’s not an embellishment.
So, what are vegan products made of? They’re made with soy protein, mushrooms, rice, lentils, and wheat gluten and treated with flavor additives, which makes a finished product that mimics real meat and can be used as meat alternatives.
A person might choose to go vegan for several reasons:
- To stop giving the meat industry money while meanwhile, they’re slaughtering our farmed animals in horrific ways (My reason)
- For their health (Eating meat can lead to heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.)
- To help save the environment (Factory farming is one of the biggest reasons for climate warming.)
- Having concerns about what meat consists of due to additives/chemicals (Most of us don’t even know what they put in there.)
- And then there are always those who do it because everybody else is doing it.
Before we continue, we want you to know the purpose of this article is not to influence you to become vegan. I’ve never even asked someone to change their diet to something better for them. We’re providing this article so you can be aware of the facts.
So here we go – Let’s expand our world a bit and see just who is doing what, when, and where.
How Many Vegans Are in the World
Finding the exact number of vegans in the world is tricky. A 2018 Ipsos survey estimated about 230 million people, or 3% of the world, are vegan. However, the VOU suggests a much lower number; it states that 88 million, or 1% of the world population, is vegan.
According to Stats of 2023, There Are Approximately 88 Million Vegans in the World. (The VOU)
Since there were over 8 billion people in the world in December 2022, that’s around 1.1%. It was sort of a drop in the bucket, but it was hopeful.
It suggests that these individuals can serve as a source of inspiration and catalysts for broader shifts in attitudes and behaviors. Over time, the impact of their actions and their ability to influence others may lead to more significant changes and a greater collective impact.
Three-quarters of the Vegan Population Is Covered by Females. (The Healthy Journal)
Hopefully, this doesn’t sound archaic, but men have been meat-eaters since the beginning of time. How often do you see a man getting the salad and a woman getting the steak at a restaurant?
I think it’s also based on how morals intertwine with food consumption. More women than men see it as a perfectly reasonable thing to do for the farmed animals, for the planet or both. Also, males are significantly more likely to be omnivorous (72%).
Almost 2 Million People in the UK Are Vegans. (Viva)
In 2019, a newspaper article from the UK was uncovered that described a family who lived as vegans. The writer of the original article said, “[It was] the staple diet of one Hitchin couple, Mr. and Mrs. F. Howard, who are among the country’s few hundred vegans.”
The article wasn’t dated, but suffice it to say, it was probably written in the late 60s or 70s since it says the couple met in the early 60s. So, the vegan population has increased literally by millions in the UK. It has taken 50 years, but they’re still way ahead of the US.
In Canada, Almost 850,000 People Are Vegan. People Under 35 (Younger Adults) Are More Likely To Be Vegan Than Older Ones. (Statista Global Consumer Survey)
Younger generations are always learning new and better ways to do something. It’s the way of the world. Older generations have lived a certain way for a longer period of time, so it’s more difficult to change directions. Of Canadian adults, 10% are vegan.
In India, 9% of the People Are Vegans. (Hartman Group)
India is the market that stands out the most when it comes to a person’s chosen diet. Nine (9) percent follow vegan diets. It’s the second most common diet in India. Both diets are significantly higher than all other areas of the world.
NOTE: There are percentages that differ regarding veganism in India. Some say the UK has more number of vegans than India; however, India was consistently listed as number one.
In 2022, India Showed the Highest Percentage of Share of Vegans in Selected Countries. (Statista Consumer Insights)
Vegetarianism/Veganism is strongly linked to dietary restrictions and the number of practicing religions in India, including Jainism (less than 1%), Hinduism (80%), and Buddhism (1%).
Jainism promotes strict vegetarianism and non-violence, with a significant number of Jains following a vegan lifestyle. Hinduism, the majority religion in India, also encourages vegetarianism as a means of practicing ahimsa (non-violence) and respecting all forms of life.
Buddhism, another significant religion in India, often promotes vegetarianism as a compassionate way of living.
The Vegan Share of China in Selected Countries in 2022 Was 6%. (Statista Consumer Insights)
There are steadily more people in China getting on the vegan bandwagon. The current worth of their plant-based food industry is $1.44 billion. The percentage of China that’s rural, where it may be hard to be vegan, is 34.4%.
By 2040, It Is Anticipated That Only 40% of the World Population Will Consume Meat. (Kearney)
New research indicates that the rise of meat alternatives will significantly impact the agricultural and food sectors, leading to a projected 33% reduction in the consumption of traditional meat by 2040.
By 2030, the global plant-based meat market will reach $18.42 billion globally. The world is beginning to believe the facts – That meat and its production are killing us and our environment, and we must make major changes in order to stop it.
How Many Vegans in the USA
According to Latest Research, There are More than 15.5 Million Vegans in the US (The VOU)
Around 6% of US consumers are vegan, which suggests more than 15.5 million vegans. A recent survey of 11,000 individuals aged 17 and older found that 2% are vegetarian, with a quarter of them being vegan, making up 0.5% of the total population.
This number is expected to grow exponentially in the next decade. Plant-based foods have gained popularity; in 2018, $3.3 billion was spent on them in the US.
The research firm Nielsen reported that a huge percentage of Americans (39%) want to be vegan and try to integrate more plant-based foods into their diets.
Washington, DC, has the highest number of vegan restaurants per capita.
In 2017, the US consumption of plant-based milk increased by 61% as the consumption of cow’s milk declined by 22%.
In Percentage, 6% of the People in the US Are Vegans (Plant Proteins)
This is a 500% increase from 2014, when it was only 1%. There’s no denying it – For whatever reason, more Americans are changing their diets to veganism. The Economist magazine named 2019 “The Year of the Vegan.”
The Vegan Share of the US in Selected Countries in 2022 Was 4%. (Statista Consumer Insights)
As developed a nation as the US, we should be leading the way towards eating a plant-based diet. I can only hope we’ll catch up with the world’s “Indias” and “Europes.”
From a Total Vegan Population, Females Cover 79% of the US. (Vegan Bits)
As mentioned above, women are more likely to be vegan than men. Studies have also shown that vegetarians/vegans in the US lean towards liberal politics, with 52% identifying as liberal and 14% identifying as conservative. Also, vegetarians/vegans are hesitant to say whether they do or don’t practice a religion.
Males Cover a Total of 22 of the Vegan Population in the US. (Vegan Bits)
Men and women are much more likely to cite health reasons as the number one reason for going vegan. Some male celebrities like Joaquin Phoenix, Moby, Woody Harrelson, and Paul McCartney have been vegan for decades.
What Percentage of the World Is Vegan
Almost 1–2 Percent of the World’s Population Is Vegan. (The Vegan Society)
A study by the University of Oxford in 2016 noted the following if the world went vegan:
- By 2050, 8 million human lives could be saved.
- It could reduce 2/3 of greenhouse gas emissions due to factory farming, which would lead to healthcare-related savings.
- It could save climate damages of $1.5 trillion.
A Survey in 2021 Revealed That 3.4% of Europeans Are Vegans. (Euromonitor International)
Europe is usually ahead of the curve when it comes to social issues. They will continue to be the leaders of the vegan movement as time goes on.
The UK Alone Has 5 Vegan Cities. (The Vegan Word)
London has the most vegan restaurants in the world, with 200 of them. In 2022, Brighton and Hove were given the moniker “Vegan capital of the world.”
According to Stats for 2022, Around 3% of Belgium’s Population Is Vegan. (iVOX)
Plant-based diets/Flexitarianism have/has been recognized in Belgium for the last few years. In a Belgium survey, 3% of the people identified as vegans, and 5% of people responded they were almost vegetarian.
According to Stats for 2019, the Combined Percentage of Pescatarians Vegan and Vegetarians in Australia Is 10%. (ABC)
New market research studies have shown Australians are decreasing their meat intake. And that the momentum is rising for plant-based alternatives.
More Than 5% of Israel’s Population Is Vegan. (Truly Experiences)
In 2022, fifteen hundred (1,500) Israeli restaurants and 6,500 products had the Vegan-Friendly logo. Approximately 1 of every 18 soldiers is vegan, making them the world’s most vegan army.
In Austria, 1.45% of the Population Is Vegan. (Truly Experiences)
Austria, along with the rest of the world, is also moving towards a more vegan diet and less meat consumption. Between 2018-2020, plant-based food sales surged by 60%. By 2026, the plant-based food industry will be worth more than $30 billion.
In 2019, the Meat-Free Diet Increased in New Zealand by 15%. (Ourarchive.Otago)
In 2019, the stat was 10%, and in 2017, it was 7%. The Primary Industries Minister stated, “…there are many opportunities in terms of cropping, and I’m sure of the raw materials of plant-based protein alternative.”
Almost 1–2% of the People in Brazil, China, and Mexico Are Vegans. (Statista Global Consumer Survey)
China’s current population – Around 1.5 billion
Brazil’s current population – Almost 217 million
Mexico’s current population – Close to 135 million.
Of these numbers, only 1-2% of people follow vegan and vegetarian diets, but the number is rising. A vegan restaurant in Mexico City called Viko is located in an underground tunnel.
The Most Vegan-Friendly Canadian Province Is British Columbia, With the Most Number of Vegans Per Capita. (Dalhousie University; Food in Canada; Statista estimates)
According to Statista estimates, around 8.6% in British Columbia are vegetarian, and about 3.9% are vegan. The Canadian government is investing $153 million in the research and development of plant-based proteins.
The private sector is going to match that amount. Plant Proteins Canada is working with the government to grow the plant protein market and vegan food sales.
A Recent Global Survey From Rakuten Insights Revealed a Higher Percentage of a Veganism Trend. (Rakuten Insights)
Health is the number one reason why people anywhere in the world are choosing to go vegan. The next reason is animal activism and preventing animal cruelty.
Plant-Based Milk Was Tried by 81% of the Consumers. (Rakuten Insights)
I have only drunk soy milk for the last 25 years. To me, it tastes infinitely better than milk (although I was never a big milk drinker). There are numerous types of soy milk (vegan milk) to choose from, including almond-flavored, low-fat, or nonfat.
Dairy Alternatives Are Used by 48% of Consumers. (Rakuten Insights)
On the other hand, every vegan cheese I’ve ever tried has been, how can I put it lightly…unappetizing. Someone in the world needs to create delicious and affordable vegan cheese.
44% Tried Vegan or Plant-Based Meat Alternative. (Rakuten Insights)
When Burger King launched the Incredible Burger, I could hear the angels singing. It’s absolutely delicious, and I encourage every reader to try one (they also sell them at grocery stores) to decide for themselves.
The Incredible Burger has no hormones or antibiotics. Currently, their products are accessible in countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, and the US.
25% Tried Vegan Egg Substitutes. (Rakuten Insights)
Um…Houston. We have a problem. Obviously, it’s extremely difficult to create these plant-based alternatives. Hopefully, sometime in the near future, we’ll have a solution.
The UK Was the Leading Source of Searches About Veganism, Followed by Australia and Israel in 2020. (Chef’s Pencil, Google Trends)
As you’ve seen from the numbers above, this all makes sense. People are searching for information on plant-based diets/vegetarian alternatives.
You can also check out vegetarian statistics to know more about the shifting attitude of people.
In 2020, the Alternative Protein Industry Raised $3.1 Billion in Investments. (Good Food Institute)
This surge in capital investment reached a record high, surpassing the amount raised in 2019 by threefold and exceeding the 2018 figure by 4.5 times.
If you want a surefire winner, I’d bet on plant-based diet alternatives. The world’s statistics prove the industry is only getting more popular.
In 2018, the Vegan Food Market Was Worth $14.2 Billion and Is Expected To Increase by $31.4 Billion in 2026. (Allied Market Research)
By 2030, the vegan food market size is forecast to reach $36.3 billion. Who knows – By 2050, the world may be eating more soy than meat.
Currently, the Vegan Beauty Product Industry Has a Value of $15.1 Billion, Predicted To Increase by $21 Billion in 2027. (Allied Market Research)
Girls, there’s absolutely no reason to continue using beauty products that are tested on animals or contain animal matter. There are too many options to choose from since women have pressed the beauty industry to make it so for many years.
A 2020 Report by Infinium Global Research Revealed by 2025, the Vegan Leather Market Will Be Worth $90 Billion. (Vegconomist)
According to this report, the vegan leather market is projected to attain a value of $89.6 billion by 2025, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of 49.9% during the forecast period (2019-2025).
I don’t wear any material that is supposed to cover an animal and not me. There’s horrific abuse in those industries, and it’s too easy to buy vegan alternatives. I also don’t eat honey since our bees are continuing to disappear.
Vegan Population Growth
From 2004 to 2019, a 30-fold Increase in the Vegan Population Has Been Observed in the US. (Ipsos, RetailNext)
Although millions of Americans know what the catastrophic results can be from eating an omnivorous diet, yet don’t change; people are coming around.
The Number of People Recognized As Vegans in 2016 Has Increased by 360% in the UK. (The Telegraph)
Within 10 years, the number of vegans has increased by 360% in the UK. In 2021, both major and smaller businesses started doing more to offer Brits options for plant-based products or vegan foods.
The Trend of Eating Vegan Food Products in Australia Has Increased by 92%. (Mintel GNDP)
From 2014 to 2016, Australia experienced a 92% surge in the introduction of food items with a vegan label and an 8% rise in products labeled as vegetarian.
Several celebrity chefs have introduced vegan restaurants there, and society has taken notice. New South Wales and Victoria have seen a recent uptick of 28% and 26%, respectively.
Due to Vegan Population Growth, the Vegan Food Market Has Expanded From $14.44 Billion in 2020 to $15.77 Billion in 2021. (BRC, Statista)
The worldwide market for vegan food is projected to exceed $22 billion in value by 2025. In the year 2021, the market was nearly $16 billion in size. Allied Market Research data shows the market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 10.5 through 2026.
When people start making money due to a diet change, you can know the benefits of a plant-based diet are real.
From 2015–2019, the Advent of Vegan and Plant-Based Food in the Global Food and Beverage Industry Has Increased Annual Growth by 22% and 57%, respectively. (Innova Market Insights)
From 2015 to 2019, plant-based claims in the F&B sector saw remarkable global growth at a 57% CAGR, surpassing vegetarian claims at 13% and vegan positioning at 22%.
The vegan world wants good (tasty) food and beverage choices in their own backyards. Innova’s related global survey discovered that 2/3 of respondents expressed a desire to try plant-based versions of traditional, local cuisines.
The Veganuary website inspires people to “Join the Plant-Based Revolution” every January (and beyond). Over 2.5 million people have tried veganism since 2014 with their support. Their mission? To have a vegan world and, you can also check out the list of the most Vegetarian Countries leading the way to sustainable & healthy eating.
From 228 Countries, More Than 629,000 People Signed Up for the Veganuary Campaign in January 2022. (Veganuary)
Around 44% of participants cited animals as their primary motivation for adopting a vegan lifestyle, followed by personal health (21%) and environmental concerns (19%).
I’ll be signing up to go vegan with them in January 2024, which will be quite a change from my vegetarian diet, but I’ll do just about anything for the animals. Won’t you join me?
In Just a 1-Month Span, These Countries Spared 2.16 Million Animals From Suffering. (Veganuary)
There are no exact numbers for how many animals a vegan saves, but even if it saves one a month, it’s so worth it.
In a Single Month, a Minimum of 1,561 New Vegan Products Were Launched Globally. (Veganuary)
People should be jumping on the bandwagon. It’s a profitable one, and the demand is there already.
Over 4,351 Veganuary Stories Were Published by International Media. (Veganuary)
I’ll admit, fewer people look at me like I’m a circus freak now when I say I’m a vegetarian. People are open to learning about ways to go meatless via traditional and social media.
A Global Survey Suggested that 68.1% of Vegans Are Motivated by Animals (Animal Welfare), and Around 17% Adopt a Vegan Lifestyle Because of Health Concerns. (VOMAD)
There were 12,814 participants who took part in this survey in total from 97 different countries. In America, the reasons are switched. People go vegan for 1) Health and 2) Animal welfare, among other reasons.
There Are More Than 65,000 Products Registered With the Vegan Society, Among Which 30,000 Are Cosmetic Products. (The Vegan Society)
These products are registered across 2,500 companies worldwide. Except for cosmetics, it also includes 18,000 food and beverage items. Major cosmetics companies, like Cover Girl, are now cruelty-free as well.
Among All Packaged Meat Options, Plant-Based Meat Alternatives Equaled 2% of Sales. (Science Direct)
This means there was –
“$939 million worth of US plant-based meat substitutes sold in the US in 2019, accounting for 2% of all retail packaged meat sales…” –Science Direct
In Terms of Access to Vegan Food, London, New York, Berlin, Los Angeles, and Toronto Are the Top Vegan Cities. (Redefine Meat)
These are culturally-progressive areas, so why they’re leading the way toward veganism is understandable. According to TripAdvisor data, there are more than 1,400 restaurants and food venues with vegan dishes in NYC.
A Vegan Diet Is Lower in Cholesterol and Higher in Fiber. (NCBI)
This stat is from a government source. Who wouldn’t benefit from less cholesterol and more fiber from following a vegan or vegetarian diet? Common sense urges us to go plant-based.
A Study Conducted in 2013 Revealed That Vegans and Vegetarians Experienced a 32% Less Chance of Cardiovascular Diseases Than Meat Eaters. (NCBI)
Eating a plant-based diet improves the health of your gut. It acts so you can absorb more nutrients from food. Going meat-free can also reduce inflammation.
How Many People Are Vegans?
Currently, in 2023, the vegan population worldwide will be approximately 88 million.
Is Being Vegan Better for the Environment?
Absolutely. In fact, if the world went vegan, even part-time, there would be millions of trees saved, which is infinitely better for our planet.
How Much Protein Is Needed by an Adult?
According to the Mayo Clinic, 10% to 35% of your calories should come from protein. So, if you need to eat 2,000 calories, that’s 200–700 calories from protein. (50–175 grams.)
Why Is Veganism on the Rise?
The short answer is that people have become clearer about what animal agriculture/farming (i.e., the meat and dairy industry) does to our animals and the planet. They realize the benefits of eating a primarily plant-based diet.
What Are Vegan Products?
A vegan product does not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients. This includes honey, beeswax, gelatin, and many other ingredients. And remember, “vegan” and “cruelty-free” don’t mean the same thing.
What Country Has the Most Vegans?
India has the most number of vegans, with 9% of the Indian population being vegan.
What Is the Difference Between a Vegetarian and a Vegan?
A vegan eats no meat products at all. A vegetarian eats no meat but may eat dairy products and other animal products.
I have been made to feel quite uncomfortable, even shamed, at meals either out and about or in someone’s home. Restaurant servers, family members, and even strangers have been the culprits.
I’ve also been verbally attacked by a stranger when in line with him at a restaurant (just imagine a mean Barney Fife) and told snidely by my ex-mother-in-law repeatedly that she had no idea what to cook for me if I didn’t eat meat.
Having said that, I’m proud to be a pescatarian since I’m contributing to the solution and not the problem that permeates the meat industry.
If you’d like to watch a documentary about our situation, check out Food Inc., Cowspiracy, or Earthlings – These films show the uncomfortable truth about agricultural farming and exactly what it does to our world. Forewarning: There are extremely graphic scenes/images. Use discretion.
If you’d like to become a vegan for the free-living animals, your health, or just for the heck of it, research it and learn everything you can about it. (The reason I’m not vegan anymore is my doctor suggested I needed to eat fish.)
Check with your doctor or, if possible, a nutritionist to see if it’s the right move for you. And hopefully, I’ll see you in Veganuary!