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# of Vegans more than doubles since 2009
Iron Clad Ben Posted at 2011/12/08 3:31pm reply to

Iron Clad Ben
Posts: 189
Pretty cool news.

From college cafeterias to celebrity kitchens, enthusiasm for cruelty-free cuisine has never been greater - prompting more and more restaurateurs and major foodservice companies to expand their vegetarian meal offerings. According to industry reports, per capita meat consumption in the United States has been steadily declining for the past six years and can be at least partially credited to continued media exposure of animal welfare issues.

Now, the results of a national poll offer further proof that plant-based eating is going mainstream. Commissioned by the Vegetarian Resource Group earlier this year, a Harris Interactive poll has revealed that about one third of Americans eat vegetarian fare a significant amount of the time and about 7.5 million people in the United States are vegan. That's more than double the number of vegans in the United States since 2009!

Whether you're interested in plant-based eating out of concern for animals, the environment, or your health, you're certainly in good company. Be sure to check out for many delicious recipes and helpful tips on transitioning to a healthy and humane way of living.
weigand Posted at 2011/12/09 12:41am reply to

Posts: 539
I'm not sure I agree that the number of vegans or vegetarians has actually been increasing. And I know for sure that the number of vegans hasn't doubled in less than 2 years!

It's not as simple as looking at a single poll to see how many people are vegetarian or vegan. I've been seeing polls on this subject since I became a vegetarian in 1996. I have yet to see polls that agree with each other on this subject.

Most polling data I've seen shows that vegetarians and vegans remain a fixed percentage of the population, neither increasing nor decreasing. The population rises steadily, but the percentages remain the same. At least from what I gather. Maybe recently things have ticked upwards, but I doubt it.

Another thing to keep in mind is that polls often indicate a rather high margin of error in determining the amount of people that are "vegan". The margin of error is pretty high for those that are "vegetarian" also, but not typically as high as it is for "vegans".

There are a number of reasons for this. Mostly, vegans are such a small segment of the population that the sample size would have to be rather large to determine it very accurately. Yet, polling usually doesn't involve more than a small percentage of that threshold. So basically, they don't poll enough people.

As for this particular poll... This poll only uses about 1000 people in the poll. And their polling results show about 5% of those people in the sample are vegetarian (which includes vegans). They calculate a margin of error of +/- 3%. In other words, extrapolating this to the entire U.S. would mean that vegetarians (including vegans) are between 2% and 8% of the population.

Also, since 2% of the sample identified as vegan and 3% identified as vegetarian but not vegan (a total of 5%), that means that we can only say that the number of vegans in the U.S. is between 0% and 5%. If I recall correctly, most other polls indicate it's somewhere between 0.5% and 1%, I believe. I could be mistaken. But 0.5% to 1% does fall in that range, so there is agreement.

So I see no reason to believe there's been any real increase since the last poll. The margin of error is too high to say that.

Oh, and another problem I see pretty often is that every poll will define "vegetarian" and "vegan" in slightly different ways. Some may rely on a person simply labeling him/herself as a vegetarian, whereas others will avoid self-identification and stick to the facts about what they eat. It can make comparisons between polls difficult.

- Steve
ErickSM Posted at 2011/12/09 10:09am reply to

Posts: 44
You know I can agree with this. I remember watching an Oprah episode with my wife where she was attempting to go Vegan. She was also attempting to turn her entire staff at the studio onto a vegan diet and such.
I remember talking to my wife about it saying that it was cool but that many of those people might not stick with it since it was more of a forced change or change by popularity or fad rather than their own personal reasons to change their lifestyles.

From personal experience, as I am sure most everyone else on here has had, I became vegan for my own reasons which have much to do with the environment as well as animal treatment and mass production and slaughtering of animals for human consumption, but a personal reason none the less. That's not to say that everyone who changed because of say the oprah episode or because it was the latest fad will stick with it. I just believe that if they have an authentic reason to become vegan then they will and want to remain vegan.
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