Gallup Asks Americans if They’re Vegan for the First Time

In a July 2012 Gallup poll, Americans were questioned about whether or not their diets included animal and dairy products, and 2 percent of the population responded that they were vegan. This amounts to about 6 million people in the U.S. alone, an impressive number for the diet’s relatively recent prominence.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the poll also asked if respondents were vegetarian, and 5 percent (or 15 million) reported positively. This figure is down 1 percent from 2001, however, overall the number of people reporting themselves as vegetarian has remained steady over the past 13 years.

More surprising, perhaps, than the overall numbers of vegetarians or vegans was the self-reported demographics of those choosing a meatless diet. Stereotypes of typical vegetarians seem to have little basis in fact, as nearly all segments of the population reported similar percentages.

Slightly more women (7 percent) than men (3 percent) said they were vegetarian, while vegetarian individuals were more likely to be unmarried (8 percent) than married (3 percent).

Instances of vegetarianism were very similar whether a person considered themselves politically conservative, moderate, or liberal. This was also the case regardless of what level of education they’d completed. Additionally, older Americans were more likely to be vegetarian than younger adults, although the percentages were close.

More than 1,000 Americans were polled by telephone in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In a larger 2008 study conducted by Vegetarian Times and carried out by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau, 3 percent of the population said they followed vegetarian diets. Of those, 0.5 percent considered themselves vegan.

Do these figures mean more people are choosing a diet free of animal products? Perhaps, although polls always have margins of error. More than anything, the questions about the kind of people choosing vegetarianism show us that there is not a characteristic type of person choosing a meatless diet, but people from all walks of life have embraced it.

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By Sarah Shultz for Diets In Review | photo via istock

36 comments

Niharika M.
Niharika M.2 years ago

Good news for this planet :)

Briony Coote
Briony C.2 years ago

I'm not sure if I'd go vegan - I love eggs and cheese too much. But I don't buy battery farm eggs.

Natasha Salgado
natasha salgado3 years ago

Very interesting!!! I'd like to know these stats for many other countries covering all continents...Thank you.

Nimue Pendragon

I'm vegan, but not American. I don't know how many vegans there are in Australia.

Nimue Pendragon

6 Million US vegans, that is impressive :)

Dale Overall

..."the kind of people choosing vegetarianism show us that there is not a characteristic type of person choosing a meatless diet, but people from all walks of life have embraced it."

Intriguing, however one could say exactly the same about omnivores which comprises a large majority in much of the world. One person commented that "vegans rule." Hardly. Unless there is a minority rules situation where the bulk of the populace is ruled by a tiny minority. Since meat is not illegal or Meat Rehab Centres haven't been set up along with Re-Education Camps, vegan rule is unlikely. Thankfully. Whatever, if one follows a balanced diet with organic non GMO foods be it meat/veggie/fruit/legumes or veggies/fruit/legumes only... all is well and healthy.

Victoria S.
Victoria S.3 years ago

Very interresting

Ryder W.
Ryder W.4 years ago

these statistics are incredibly flawed. the July 2012 Gallup poll only surveyed 1,014 adults. the "larger 2008 study conducted by Vegetarian Times" only surveyed 5,050 people. that does not provide an accurate base from which population trends can be assessed.
the actual number of vegetarians has increased substantially since 2001, not decreased.

Sheri P.
Sheri P.4 years ago

interesting statistics...

Sue H.
Sue H.4 years ago

Thanks for sharing.