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World Wide Populations of Vegetarians

World Wide Populations of Vegetarians

  • June 15, 2022

What do Brad Pitt, Bob Dylan, Pamela Anderson, Martina Navratilova, David Duchovny and Brigitte Bardot have in common? All are vegetarian. With the exception of India, it is estimated that around 1% of the world’s population abstains from meat, poultry and fish and around 0.1% follow a vegan diet and avoid all animal products. However, these numbers mean about 60 million people worldwide, excluding India.

A major 2008 study on vegetarians [Vegetarianism in America, published by Vegetarian Times] shows that 3.2 percent of US adults (7.3 million people) are vegetarian. About 0.5 percent (1 million) of these are vegans who do not consume any animal products. Additionally, 10 percent of US adults (22.8 million people) report a semi-vegetarian diet, which includes the occasional consumption of fish.

This study showed that of the non-vegetarians surveyed, 5.2 percent, or 11.9 million people, are “definitely interested” in going vegetarian in the future. This shows that many people believe that a vegetarian diet is a healthy diet.

The vegetarian study collected data on age, gender, and other demographic factors, which revealed:

– 57.1 percent have been vegetarian for more than 10 years; 18 percent for 5 to 10 years; 10.8 percent for 2 to 5 years, 14.1 percent for less than 2 years.

– 42.0 percent are between 18 and 34 years old; 40.7 percent are 35 to 54; and 17.4 percent are over 55 years old.

– 59 percent are female and 41 percent are male.

The 2008 Vegetarian Study also showed that 53 percent of vegetarians adopt a vegetarian diet to improve their overall health. Environmental factors were cited by 47 percent, 39 percent named “natural approaches to wellness”, 54 percent named animal welfare; Thirty-one percent cited food safety concerns, 25 percent cited weight loss and 24 percent weight maintenance.

In Western Europe, with the exception of the UK, vegetarians range from 2% to 4% of the population according to a 2006 Mintel survey ( The UK has the highest percentage of vegetarians per capita in Western Europe, at 6% of the population. The large number of vegetarians in the UK is due to some extent to health problems related to mad cow disease.

According to Mintel, the number of vegetarians in Eastern Europe varies between 0.3% and 1.9% of the population, which is a much lower percentage compared to Western European countries. For the rest of the world, data is incomplete and estimates vary between 0.2% and 4% vegetarians as a percentage of the population, with the exception of India and Israel.

According to the Israel Ministry of Health, Israel has the second-largest percentage of vegetarians in the world at 8.5%, a remarkable 595,000 residents in such a small country. India has more vegetarians than the rest of the world combined. A 2006 survey by the Hindu newspaper found that 40 percent of the population, or 399 million people, are vegetarians.

It is estimated that more than 400 million Indians are vegetarians today, driven mainly by class and religious concerns, with the Brahmin class being expected not to eat meat, the Hindu religion proposing vegetarianism and the Jain religion demanding it .

The Jain religion does not believe in harming other life forms. With over 7 million members, they ban the consumption of any kind of meat, eggs or honey; root vegetables (which could harm soil insects when harvested); and fruits or vegetables that have been lying on the ground and those older than 3 days (including pickles and canned goods). Water must be boiled before drinking, and all liquids must be strained before consumption, usually with a cloth held over the mouth.

There are different types of vegetarians depending on dietary restrictions. For example, some vegetarians exclude all cooked foods, others may exclude milk or eggs, and so on.

It is interesting to note that when vegetarians are compared to non-vegetarians in the same demographic (same socioeconomic and cultural background), research shows that vegetarians are less healthy. In fact, peer-reviewed research shows that vegetarians are more likely to suffer from cancer, dementia, obesity, heart disease, stroke, eating disorders, infertility, and other ailments.

Thanks to Russell Eaton

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