A new Gallup poll on vegetarianism and veganism has brought forth interesting information on plant-based eating in the United States. While the poll provides some insights, it also fails to accurately represent a number of aspects about the plant-based eating movement and vegetarian/vegan community as a whole.
The poll shows a minor decrease in the total number of U.S. vegetarians since 1999 and 2001. Previous polls suggested that about 6 percent of Americans have adopted a plant-based diet, while 5 percent self-reported as vegetarian in this year’s poll.
However, there is one MAJOR caveat! The poll did not include an actual definition of vegetarianism, so it’s possible that varying ideas and opinions about what constitutes being vegetarian influenced the results.
Perhaps the most interesting information gleaned from the poll related to the distribution of vegetarians among various demographics.
Even though the common image of herbivores is hippies, liberals and occupy-types, nearly as many conservatives are vegetarians as liberals (5 percent of conservatives are vegetarian compared to 7 percent of liberals). So apparently health is important to all of us, regardless of political affiliation — go figure!
Education also plays a role in the numbers, but not in the way you might expect. 6 percent of individuals with a high school education or some college self-identified as vegetarian, compared to 3 percent of college graduates and 5 percent of those with a postgraduate degree.
The real discrepancy came from marital status. Single people were considerably more likely to be vegetarian at (8 percent) than those who are married (3 percent).
2 percent of individuals surveyed identified themselves as vegan, although, once again, there was no definition given.
For more statistics and trends on plant-based eating, check out Is There a Market for Vegan Food?