Some 3.2 percent of U.S. adults, or 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian-based diet, according to a poll of 5,050 respondents by Harris Interactive for Vegetarian Times and analyzed by RRC Associates, a research firm in Boulder, Colo. Approximately 0.5 percent, or 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all, according to the “Vegetarianism in America” study. In addition, 10 percent of U.S., adults, or 22.8 million people, say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.
The 2008 study also indicates that of the non-vegetarians surveyed 5.2 percent, or 11.9 million people, are "definitely interested" in following a vegetarian-based diet in the future. Demographic data of vegetarians found 59 percent are female; 41 percent are male; 42 percent are 18-34 years old; 40.7 percent are 35-54; and 17.4 percent are over 55.
The study also indicated that 53 percent of current vegetarians eat a vegetarian diet to improve their overall health; environmental concerns were cited by 47 percent; 39 percent cited "natural approaches to wellness"; 31 percent cited food-safety concerns; 54 percent cited animal welfare; 25 percent cited weight loss; and 24 percent weight maintenance.