According to the latest Gallup Consumption Habits poll update published on 24th August 2023, 4% of Americans say they are vegetarian and 1% that they are vegan as far as their diets are concerned. As the poll only asked about diets, we cannot conclude that all those that said were vegans actually are, so it would be more accurate to describe them as at least plant-based. 

These latest figures are similar to what Gallup has found previously, including in 2012 and 2018. The July 3-27 poll update suggests there may have been a slight decline in vegetarianism compared with the earliest readings in 1999 and 2001 when 6% identified following a vegetarian diet, but this may be because some turned vegan.

In this and older reports, Gallup found that political liberals and lower-income adults were among the subgroups most likely to be vegetarian (9% of liberals today are vegetarian, higher than in any other key subgroup Gallup analysed, and three times the rate of political moderates and conservatives). Additionally, 6% of women are more likely than men (2%) to say they eat a vegetarian diet. In some previous surveys, Gallup found significant age and racial group differences in vegetarian eating preferences, but not in the current survey.

In all key subgroups, the percentage who are vegan is in the 1% to 3% range, but as the percentage of vegans remains very small, it is difficult to have enough data to identify statistically significant demographic differences.

In 2019, Gallup found that half of Americans were familiar with plant-based imitations of meat, and four in 10 had tried them. Americans who reported a reduction in their meat consumption typically cited health and environmental reasons for doing so, which suggests that it may be more accurate to describe them as plant-based, as many may continue to support animal exploitation unrelated to food.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.