Vegetarian Journal 2009 Issue 2, Online Supplement with Poll Results

Note from the Coordinators

The Latest Vegetarian Resource Group Survey:

Who Answered?

Since 1994, The Vegetarian Resource Group has been conducting national polls on the number of vegetarians and vegans in the United States. (See These are undertaken by national polling organizations and are the same types of polls done for presidential campaigns cited in the media.

Recently, there was publicity about the number of vegetarians reported by the Centers for Disease Control. Their numbers were lower than ours, partially because they were counting people who were vegetarian only for health reasons. Not surprising to us, approximately the same number of people reported following the Atkins diet as a vegetarian diet for health considerations. Reed Mangels will be reporting on this interesting study in a future Vegetarian Journal.

Periodically, we do less scientific surveys of our members. These are not ‘random samples’ and only tell us about the people who responded, not the general population or even all our members. However, they give us information about the readers most interested in responding, which may be of use to students and businesses. Here is some data from the survey of vegetarians we printed in Issue 1, 2006 of Vegetarian Journal. Whether so many of our members are vegan is questionable. Nevertheless, many who do respond appear to be the activists or the‘loud mouths,’ the people most likely to spread the word about products and the ones marketers need to reach.

Total Responses 276 Vegetarian and vegan (Does not eat meat, fish, or fowl) 84%
Sent in reply from Vegetarian Journal 200 Vegan 20%
Surveys collected at a booth or meeting 76 Vegan except honey 38%
    Not vegetarian 16%

  Reason(s) for Becoming Vegan* Reason(s) for Becoming Vegetarian* Have Been Vegetarian for 30+ Years
Total Respondents 55 232 57
Health 16% 24% 12%
Ethics 24% 28% 25%
Animal Rights 58% 47% 28%
Weight Loss 4% 2% 2%
Environment 7% 9% 4%
Spirituality 11% 13% 26%
Family/Friends 0% 3% 7%
World Hunger 4% 4% 0%
*Main reason for becoming vegetarian, but some people chose more than one answer. Therefore, totals may equal more than 100 percent.

Respondents Were Interested in Vegetarianism Because
(Will total more than 100% since respondents were allowed to give more than one answer)
Total Responses 276 Environment 82% Politics 23%
Health 85% Religion 8% World Hunger 50%
Ethics 86% Spirituality 49% Taste 33%
Animal Rights 87% Family/Friends 12%    
Weight Loss 21% Save Money 8%    

Total Responses 276 California Resident 11%
Member of an Animal Rights Group 46% Illinois 8%
Member of a Vegetarian Group 47% Maryland 12%
Subscribe to a vegetarian magazine 68% Pennsylvania 6%
    Washington 7%
Approximately 15 percent of the people responding to this survey who said they are vegetarians also said that they eat fish, while about five percent who said they were vegan said they eat fish. We suspect this would be a much higher number in the general population. We define vegetarian as not eating meat, fish, or poultry.

Respondents Who Sent in Survey From Vegetarian Journal
Total Responses 200 40-49 16% Female 80%
Ages 20-29 16% 50-59 27% Male 20%
Ages 30-39 18% 60-69 13%    

Debra Wasserman & Charles Stahler
Coordinators of The Vegetarian Resource Group

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PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203
(410) 366-8343 Email:

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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