Survey Reveals New Trends in Vegan & Vegetarian Diets

It’s easy to look around your social circles and point out a friend or family member here and there that is either vegan or vegetarian. But it’s often more difficult to gauge how many people in your community, your state, and the broader U.S. are actually going meat-free or animal product-free.

Thanks to a recent survey from the Vegetarian Research Group, The Vegetarian Times and Harris Interactive Service Bureau, we have a whole new set of statistics on vegans and vegetarians, including how old they are, where they live, and why they choose to eat and live the way they do. It’s this kind of information that makes it easier to decipher who among us is most likely to be meat-free and why.

As reported by Statistic Brain, a total of 7.3 million people verified that their diet was strictly vegetarian while 1 million reported that they were strictly vegan. Furthermore, around 23 million respondents reported that they follow a “vegetarian-inclined diet,” which most likely means that they loosely follow a vegetarian or vegan diet most of the time. This “flexitarian” approach has been a growing trend thanks to convincing documentaries like “Forks Over Knives,” as well as movements like Meatless Mondays.

On an even more encouraging note, the survey – which was issued earlier this year – found that more than 5 percent of respondents were “definitely interested” in following a vegetarian diet in the future. This positive statistic points even more to the fact that Americans no longer see meat and animal products as necessary sources of protein in their diets.

Among the vegetarian respondents, 59 percent were female and 41 percent were male. As for how old these meat-free eaters are, 42 percent were between the age of 18 and 34, about 40 percent were between the age of 35 and 54, and around 17 percent were 55 or older. In addition, 57.1 percent reported that they’d been following a vegetarian diet for more than 10 years, 18 percent had done so for 5-10 years, 10.8 percent for 2-5 years, and about 14 percent had been meat-free for two years or less.

Whether you follow a special diet or not, it’s becoming more apparent that people opt for a vegan or vegetarian diet for a wide variety of reasons, be it animal maltreatment, cost, or health. The survey results provided some telling insight as to why people actually make the dietary changes they do. Fifty-three percent claimed “improve overall health” as a major reasons for going vegetarian, 47 percent claimed environmental concerns, 39 percent said it was because it’s a natural approach to wellness, and 31 percent claimed it was for food safety concerns. Not surprisingly, 54 percent answered animal welfare, 25 percent answered weight loss, and 24 percent answered weight maintenance as leading reasons for going meat- or animal product-free.

The survey also generated a list of the top 10 most vegetarian-friendly cities in the U.S., a statistic based on the number of vegetarian restaurants in the area. Did your city make the list?

1. Portland, Oregon
2. Seattle, Washington
3. San Francisco, California
4. New York, New York
5. Atlanta, Georgia
6. Washington, D.C.
7. Minneapolis, Minnesota
8. Austin, Texas
9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10. Chicago, Illinois

What we wouldn’t give to move to Portland, Seattle, or San Francisco just for the amazing food options! It’s no wonder so many health-conscious people flock to these cities – the availability of vegan and vegetarian eateries are abundant. Would you move to a new area just for the sake of having more healthy food options? We’re not ashamed to say we absolutely would and have in the past. Perhaps the next survey on American diets should include statistics on this up-and-coming trend.

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By Dana Shultz for Diets In Review


Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra5 years ago

Thank you Brandi, for Sharing this!

Sarah M.
Sarah M5 years ago


Carrie Anne Brown

interesting article, thanks for sharing :)

mitchell dawes
mitchell dawes5 years ago

Go to Oregon!

galina m.
galina Med5 years ago

I've been a vegetarian since 1991. I've come to a conclusion that to be a vegan (but I used to be)is а trial and doesn't suit for all and may be dangerous for health. For a short while it's quite all right.

Laalamani N.
Laalamani N5 years ago

Mary L, I have heard about this. Can you point me in the direction of some evidence? I was a vegetarian for a while and then went vegan a little more than a year ago. I have never felt this strong and healthy, I have never looked better, and I have never gone this long without a sniffle. Besides the many toxic ingredients that find their way into factory-farmed, genetically modified animal products and all the antibiotics and hormones, I do think that consuming animal products is not what our bodies are built for, even if the animals in question were healthy and happy. But we need all the evidence we can get to make people reconsider, because too many voices have been shouting lies too loudly for too long now.

Giana Peranio-paz

It looks like a global trend - here in Haifa so many people are turning to a vegetarian diet.

Kirsten B.
Past Member 5 years ago


Dianne D.
Dianne D5 years ago

Need to get the Doctors on board to teach their patients how to eat - meaning a vegan diet. It doesn't make sense to me that a Doctor doesn't have to take nutrition classes before they can start practicing. I'm really amazed when I hear a Doctor tell a women to drink more milk. Over 50% of the population is lactose intolerant, so milk isn't good. 'Milk is good for you' is an advertisement campaign and Doctors bought into it. They are as gullible as the rest of us.

Spirit Spider
Spirit Spider5 years ago

Encouraging statistics - thank you!