This has been a good year for vegans and vegetarians. In July, Gallup asked Americans if they were vegan for the first time ever in a poll gauging American diet trends.
While only 2 percent responded that they were vegan, that amounts to about 6 million people in the U.S. alone. Five percent – or about 15 million – responded that they were vegetarian, which proves that meat is no longer the sole protein source in the American diet.
More proof that meat is on its way out? A survey administered by the Vegetarian Research Group, the Vegetarian Times and Harris Interactive Service Bureau revealed a whole new set of statistics regarding vegetarianism, and things are looking up.
Not only did a total of 8.3 million people verify that their diet was absent of meat, the survey gained a clearer understanding of exactly who makes up this health-conscious demographic.
As reported by Statistic Brain, 7.3 million Americans reported that they were vegetarian and 1 million reported being vegan. More encouraging was that nearly 23 million reported following a “vegetarian-inclined diet,” likely meaning that they follow a vegetarian diet most of the time, which has been a growing trend with the help of movements like Meatless Mondays.
The survey also found that 5.2 percent of participants were “definitely interested” in following a vegetarian diet in the future, while 10 percent already considered themselves committed vegetarians.
Of that group, the survey found 59 percent were female and 41 percent were male. In addition, 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 over the age of 55.
Perhaps more encouraging were the numbers concerning how long individuals had been following a meat-free diet. According to the survey, 57.1 percent reported 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 14.1 percent had been meat-free for less than two years.
While there are a variety of reasons people opt for going vegetarian, the survey gave a bit more insight as to why people actually make dietary changes like going meat-free. With that in mind, 53 percent cited “improve overall health” as a major reason for being vegetarian, 47 percent reported it was for environmental concerns, 39 percent said it was a natural approach to wellness, and 31 percent answered it was for food safety concerns. Another 54 percent answered animal welfare, 25 percent answered weight loss, and 24 percent answered weight maintenance as leading reasons for making the switch.
The survey also provided a snapshot at which U.S. cities are considered the most vegetarian-friendly – a statistic based on the number of vegetarian restaurants in the area. It’s no surprise that Portland, Oregon came it at number one with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eateries on nearly every block. But check out this list to see what stand-outs rounded out the top 10 veg-friendly cities.
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
Portland also recently ranked as the number one city to live in for healthy skin, proving it’s an ideal location for vegans, vegetarians and beauty queens alike.