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Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S.


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Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S. 



Facing growing pet populations and an aging human population, the pet industry may do well by looking to U.S. Hispanic consumers as the source of growth opportunities and diversification regarding pet ownership trends in the coming years.

Pet populations analyses, pet demographics, and other expertly detailed insights can be found in Packaged Facts' report, Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S. Recognized as the leader in pet market research publishing, Packaged Facts offers authoritative data, analysis, and perspective on how U.S. pet populations are diversifying and growing, and where the pet industry is headed in the future.

Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S. offers comprehensive analysis of Hispanic pet owners - a crucial pet market segment - to the future health of the pet industry and the growing pet populations in the United States. Hispanic consumers are disproportionately important to the pet industry, particularly as bird owners. Hispanic pet owners have also made significant contributions to maintaining ownership rates among dog and cat owners.

These emerging pet ownership trends are especially important, because in the last five years the growth of pet ownership has plateaued; there are more than 200 million pets of all species that reside in about 65 million households in the U.S., with the dog population in the U.S. remaining the most commonly owned pet population (in 45 million households), followed by cats (30 million households) and other pets.

But maintaining robust pet populations requires a robust and healthy human population, and here’s the trouble spot. In between 2015 and 2020, as the baby boomer sector keeps shifting into their late 60s and further, the number of Americans inside the 65+ age sector is projected to grow about four times faster than the growth in the overall adult population. This quick growth in the aging of the U.S population has signaled an alarm in the pet industry due to pet ownership trends generally falling off with pet owners' increasing age. There are 53% of 65 to 69 year old individuals that are pet owners, yet only 34% of Americans falling inside the 70+ age group actually own a pet. One of the most important questions within the pet industry is if baby boomers will continue in the paths created by other older generations or if, as usual, they will develop their own rules and continue to own pets well into their older years in life.

Another important question that Pet Population and Ownership trends in the U.S. considers: Why are Hispanic consumers key drivers in buttressing pet ownership rates, and consequently pet populations in the U.S., in the future? Packaged Facts expects that as U.S.-born generations of Latinos grow in numbers, the dog population in the U.S. will increase dramatically along with the Latino demographic. As Hispanic consumers become more acculturated, their pet ownership trends have been found to be more likely to own dogs. The most acculturated Hispanics (those who have relatively low attachment to their original culture and who are English-dominant or bi-lingual) are even more likely than U.S. adults on average to be dog owners (43% vs. 41%), and are becoming the most prominent drivers of the dog population in the U.S. 

Pet Population and Ownership Trends in the U.S. takes an in-depth look at these emerging pet ownership trends and other trends affecting the future of the pet industry. Included within the report are detailed estimates of the size of pet populations in the U.S. today, as well as projected growth totals in the dog and cat populations. Also contained within the report are demographic and attitudinal profiles of owners of dogs, cats and other pets, such as fish, birds and reptiles.

Scope and Methodology


Pet Population and Ownership Trends analyzes trends in the growth of the pet population and highlights the demographic and psychographic characteristics of pet owners. The report is based on two primary data sources. The first source of data is compiled from Packaged Facts National Online Consumer Surveys conducted in January/February, April/May and July/August 2014. These surveys reflect a panel of 2,000 U.S. adults (age 18+) balanced to the national population on the primary demographic measures of gender, age bracket, race/ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, presence or absence of children in the household and household income.

The other source of primary data is Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) for Spring 2014 from Experian Marketing Services. This survey was fielded from April 2013 through June 2014. (The report uses the Spring 2004 NCS in the case of 10-year-trend tables and figures and Spring 2009 for 5-year-trend tables and figures.) Experian Marketing Services regularly conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers (approximately 25,000 for each 12-month survey compilation) who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population. The report is also based on a review of industry sources.

The report is organized in terms of the categorization of pet population data collected by Simmons NCS. In addition to capturing information on dog and cat ownership, Simmons NCS asks respondents to identify the number of pets they own in the following categories: fish, birds, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters and other pets. Small animals such as gerbils, ferrets and guinea pigs are the primary pets accounted for in the other category. Other pets also include animals ranging from horses to poultry.


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope and Methodology
    • Topline Trends and Insights
      • Pet Population and Ownership Trends
        • Table Number of Households and Adults with Pets and Pet Population by Type of Pet, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Demographic Highlights of Pet Owners
      • Consumer Highlights
      • Looking to the Future
    • Dog Population and Ownership Trends
      • Selected Characteristics of the Dog Population
      • Demographic Characteristics of Dog Owners
      • Consumer Profile of Dog Owners
    • Cat Population and Ownership Trends
      • Selected Characteristics of the Cat Population
      • Demographic Highlights of Cat Owners
      • Consumer Profile of Cat Owners
    • Pet Population and Ownership Trends: Other Pets
      • Demographic Profile of Owners of Other Pets
      • Where Owners of Other Pets Buy Pet Supplies
  • Topline Trends and Insights
    • The Pet Population and Pet Ownership Today
      • 65 Million Households Enjoy the Company of Tens of Millions of Pets
        • Table Number of Households with Pets by Type of Pet, 2014 (in thousands)
      • 57% of Americans Own at Least One Pet
        • Table Number of Pet Owners by Category of Pet, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Dogs Represent Largest Share of Pet Population
        • Table Pet Population by Category, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Dog and Cat Owners Less Likely to Own Other Kinds of Pets
        • Table Cross-Ownership of Pets by Type of Pet Owned, 2014
    • Overview of Pet Population and Ownership Trends
      • Pet Ownership Levels Off
        • Table Percent of Households Owning Pets by Type of Pet, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Number of Households Owning Pets by Type of Pet, 2004-2014 (in millions)
      • Pet Reptile Population Experiences Highest Growth Rate
        • Table Number of Households with Pets by Type of Pet, 2009-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Pet Population by Type of Pet, 2009-2014 (in thousands)
      • Owners of Multiple Pets Drive Growth
        • Table Number of Households with Pets by Number and Type of Pets, 2009-2014 (in thousands)
    • Demographic and Consumer Highlights
      • Different Pets for Different Folks
        • Table Demographic Profile of Pet Owners by Type of Pet Owned, 2014
      • Pets Important to Mental Health
        • Table Percent of Dog and Cat Owners Who Consider Their Cats or Dogs to Be Important to Their Mental Health, 2014
      • Dog Owners Spending More on Dog Food and Supplies
        • Table Trends in Spending by Dog and Cat Owners on Pet Food and Supplies, 2014
      • Buying Patterns Differ by Type of Pet Owned
        • Table Where Pet Owners Buy Pet Supplies by Type of Pet Owned
    • Looking to the Future
      • Will Boomers Continue to Save the Day?
        • Table Projected Growth of the Adult Population by Age Group, 2015-2020 (in thousands)
        • Table Pet Ownership by Selected Age Group, 2014
      • Highly Acculturated and Affluent Latinos Offer Bright Spot on Horizon
        • Table Projected Population Growth 2015-2020, Hispanics vs. Non-Hispanics (in thousands)
      • Cultural Factors and the Human-Animal Bond Will Help Buoy Pet Population
  • Dog Population and Ownership Trends
    • Topline Insights
      • Dog Ownership Trends
      • Selected Characteristics of the Dog Population
      • Demographic Characteristics of Dog Owners
      • Consumer Profile of Dog Owners
    • Size and Growth of the Dog Population
      • 82 Million Dogs in 45 Million Households
        • Table Number of Households with Dogs by Number of Dogs in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Size of Dog Population by Number of Dogs in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Dog Population Increased by Nearly 25 Million in Last Decade
        • Table Dog Population by Number of Dogs in Household, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Nearly Half of Dog Owners Have Multiple Dogs
        • Table Dog Population by Number of Dogs in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Growth in Dog-Owning Households Outpaces Overall Household Growth
        • Table Growth in Number of Households with Dogs vs. Households without Dogs, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • 95 Million Adults Now Own Dogs
        • Table Growth in Number of Dog Owners, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Number of Dog Owners by Number of Dogs in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
      • New Dog Owners Continuously Join the Fold
      • More Households Choose to Own Multiple Dogs
        • Table Growth in Number of Households with Dogs by Number of Dogs in Household, 2004 vs. 2014 (in thousands)
      • Boomers Help Drive Growth in Dog Owners
        • Table Growth in the Population of Dog Owners by Age Group, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Multicultural Dog Owners Come to the Fore
        • Table Growth in the Population of Dog Owners by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Dog Ownership Plummets in Rural Areas
        • Table Growth in the Population of Dog Owners by Region and Place of Residence, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Higher Income Trend to Dog Ownership
        • Table Growth in the Population of Dog Owners by Educational Attainment and Household Income, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • More Dogs Now Living in Smaller Households
        • Table Growth in the Population of Dog Owners by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
    • Characteristics of the Dog Population
      • Dog Population Evenly Divided Across Age Segments
        • Table Age of Dogs Owned, 2014
      • Large Breeds Make a Comeback
        • Table Size of Dogs Owned, 2014
      • Age and Gender of Owners Have Little Relationship to Size of Dog Owned
        • Table Size of Dog Owned by Age of Owner, 2014
        • Table Size of Dog Owned by Gender of Owner, 2014
      • Urbanites Like Smaller Dogs, Country Folks Go For Big Dogs
        • Table Size of Dog Owned by Place of Residence, 2014
      • Large Dogs Less Likely to Be Found in Households with Children
        • Table Size of Dog Owned by Presence of Children in Household, 2014
      • Owners More Likely to Rescue a Dog than Buy from Breeders
      • Most Dogs Live Inside
        • Table Percent Keeping Dogs Inside or Outside, 2014
    • Demographic Characteristics of Dog Owners
      • Dog Owners a Distinctive Segment of Population
        • Table Key Demographic Differences between Dog Owners and Non-Dog Owners, 2014
      • Ownership of Dogs Drops Sharply in 65+ Age Group
        • Table Ownership of Dogs by Age Group, 2014
      • Non-Hispanic Whites Still Overwhelming Majority of Dog Owners
        • Table Ownership of Dogs by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Dogs Remain More Common in Rural Areas
        • Table Ownership of Dogs by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Affluence Key to Dog Ownership
        • Table Ownership of Dogs by Household Income, 2014
      • Married-with-Children Demographic More Likely to Own Dogs
        • Table Ownership of Dogs by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2014
      • Apartment Living Rules Out Dog Ownership
        • Table Ownership of Dogs by Kind of Residence, 2014
      • Owners of Multiple Dogs Have Distinctive Profile
        • Table Demographic Profile of Dog Owners by Number of Dogs Owned, 2014
    • Profile of Latino Dog Owners
      • Latino Households Own 10 Million Dogs
        • Table Number of Latino Households with Dogs by Number of Dogs in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Size of Dog Population Owned by Latinos by Number of Dogs in Household, 2014 (in thousands
      • Latinos Prefer Smaller Dogs
        • Table Size of Dogs Owned by Hispanics, 2014
      • Acculturation Leads to Dog Ownership
        • Table Hispanic Ownership of Dogs by Degree of Identification with Original Culture and Language Use, 2014
      • Mexicans More Likely to Be Dog Owners
        • Table Hispanic Ownership of Dogs by National Heritage, 2014
        • Table Hispanic Ownership of Dogs by Selected Geographic Area, 2014
      • Demographic Profile of Hispanic Dog Owners
        • Table Demographic Profile, Hispanic vs. All Dog Owners, 2014
    • Consumer Profile of Dog Owners
      • Most Dog Owners View Their Dogs as Key to Mental Health
      • Even Less Affluent Dog Owners Spending More on Dog Food
        • Table Spending Patterns of Dog Owners by Household Income, 2014
      • Dog Owners More Likely to Use Mobile Technology for Shopping
        • Table Use of Mobile Technology for Shopping by Dog Owners, 2014
      • Social Media Attract Dog Owners
        • Table Use of Social Media by Dog Owners, 2014
      • Online Purchases More Common for Dog Owners
  • Cat Population and Ownership Trends
    • Topline Insights
      • Cat Ownership Trends
      • Selected Characteristics of the Cat Population
      • Demographic Highlights of Cat Owners
      • Consumer Profile of Cat Owners
    • Size and Growth of the Cat Population
      • 65 Million Cats in 30 Million Households
        • Table Number of Households with Cats by Number of Cats in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Number of Cat Owners by Number of Cats in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Size of Cat Population by Number of Cats in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Number of Households with Cats Increased 11% in Last Decade
        • Table Households with Cats by Number of Cats in Household, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Percent of Households with Cats by Number of Cats in Household, 2004 vs. 2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Growth in Number of Households with Cats vs. Households without Cats, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Fewer Households Own Four or More Cats
        • Table Cat Population by Number of Cats in Household, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Cat Owners Decline in Relative Importance
        • Table Growth in Number of Cat Owners, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Percent of Adults Owning Cats by Number of Cats in Household, 2004 vs. 2014 (in thousands)
      • One in Four Cat Owners New to the Experience
      • 55+ Age Group Most Responsible for Growth in Cat Population
        • Table Growth in the Population of Cat Owners by Age and Gender, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Latinos Set the Pace
        • Table Growth in Cat Ownership by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Cat Ownership in Rural Areas Falls Off Dramatically
        • Table Growth in Cat Ownership by Region, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Growth in Cat Ownership by Place of Residence, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • Number of Affluent Cat Owners on the Rise
        • Table Growth in the Population of Cat Owners by Educational Attainment, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Growth in the Population of Cat Owners by Household Income, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
      • High Growth in Cat Ownership in Smaller Households without Children
        • Table Growth in the Population of Cat Owners by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2004-2014 (in thousands)
    • Characteristics of the Cat Population
      • Most Cats Are More than Four Years Old
        • Table Age of Cats Owned, 2014
      • Domestic Short Hair Cats Predominate
        • Table Breed of Cats Owned, 2014
      • Stray Cats Get Warm Welcome from Many Cat Owners
        • Table Where Owners Acquired Cats and Dogs, 2014
      • Few Cat Owners Use Online Pet Finding Services
        • Table Where/How Acquired Most Recently Acquired Cat, 2014
      • Country Cats Run Wild
        • Table Percent of Cat Owners Keeping Cats Inside or Outside by Place of Residence, 2014
      • Women More Likely to View Their Cats as Overweight
    • Demographic Characteristics of Cat Owners
      • Ownership of Cats Peaks Among 45- to 54-Year-Olds
        • Table Ownership of Cats by Age Group, 2014
      • Vast Majority of Cat Owners Are Non-Hispanic White
        • Table Ownership of Cats by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Cats Remain Important to Rural Residents
        • Table Ownership of Cats by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Middle-Income Households Most Likely to Own Cats
        • Table Ownership of Cats by Education and Household Income, 2014
      • Households with Children Less Likely to Have Cats
        • Table Ownership of Cats by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2014
      • Cats Scarce in Apartments
        • Table Ownership of Cats by Kind of Residence, 2014
      • Demographics of Owners of Multiple Cats
        • Table Demographic Profile of Cat Owners by Number of Cats Owned, 2014
    • Profile of Latino Cat Owners
      • Number of Latino Cat Owners Tops 5 Million
        • Table Number of Latino Households with Cats by Number of Cats in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Number of Latino Cat Owners by Number of Cats in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Cat Population in Latino Households Tops 4 Million
        • Table Size of Cat Population Owned by Latinos by Number of Cats in Household, 2014 (in thousands)
      • English Dominant Hispanics Far More Likely to Own Cats
        • Table Hispanic Ownership of Cats by Degree of Identification with Original Culture and Language Use, 2014
      • Cubans Most Likely to Have Cats
      • Geographic Differences in Cat Ownership by Hispanics
        • Table Hispanic Ownership of Cats by Selected Geographic Area, 2014
      • Latino Cat Owners Compared
        • Table Demographic Profile, Hispanic vs. All Cat Owners, 2014
    • Consumer Profile of Cat Owners
      • Huge Majority View Cats as Part of the Family
        • Table Attitudes of Cat Owners toward Their Cats, 2014
      • Cat Owners Like to Pamper Their Cats
      • Cat Owners Feel Financial Pressure Taking Care of Their Cats' Health
        • Table Percent of Cat Owners Concerned about Affordability of Veterinary Care, 2014
      • Many Cat Owners Spending More on Cat Food
      • Younger Owners Set the Pace in Spending on Their Cats
        • Table Spending Patterns of Cat Owners by Demographic Category, 2014
      • Many Cat Owners Are Big Online Spenders
        • Table Amount Spent on Cat Products Online in Last 30 Days by Those Personally Buying Cat Products, 2014
      • Social Media Engage Cat Owners
        • Table Use of Social Media by Cat Owners, 2014
      • Cat Owners Turn to Their Smartphones for Shopping
        • Table Use of Mobile Technology for Shopping by Cat Owners, 2014
  • Pet Population and Ownership Trends: Other Pets
    • Topline Insights
      • Pet Population Trends: Other Pets
      • Demographic Profile of Owners of Other Pets
      • Where Owners of Other Pets Buy Pet Supplies
    • Pet Population Trends: Other Pets
      • Millions of Households Have All Kinds of Non-Canine and Non-Feline Pets
        • Table Number of Households with Other Pets by Category, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Population of Other Pets Totals 87 Million
        • Table Population of Other Pets by Category, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Population of Other Pets Dropped 11% in Last Five Years
        • Table Number of Households with Other Pets by Type of Pet, 2009-2014 (in thousands)
        • Table Other Pet Population by Type of Pet, 2009-2014 (in thousands)
      • Reptiles All the Rage
      • Drop in Number of Households with Multiple Pets Has Outsize Impact
        • Table Number of Households with Other Pets by Number and Type of Pets, 2009-2014 (in thousands)
    • Demographic Profile of Owners of Other Pets
      • 32 Million Adults Own Pets Other than Dogs or Cats
        • Table Number of Adults with Other Pets by Category, 2014 (in thousands)
      • Reptile Owners More Likely to Be Under 35
        • Table Owners of Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits or Hamsters by Age, 2014
        • Table Owners of Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits or Hamsters by Gender, 2014
      • Latinos More Likely to Own Birds
        • Table Owners of Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits or Hamsters by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Pet Fish and Rabbits Less Popular in the Southeast
        • Table Owners of Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits or Hamsters by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Other Pets Live in Affluent Households
        • Table Owners of Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits or Hamsters by Educational Attainment and Household Income, 2014
      • Kids Drive Ownership of Birds, Fish and Other Pets
        • Table Owners of Birds, Fish, Reptiles and Rabbits or Hamsters by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2014
    • Pet Population and Ownership Trends: Fish
      • Fish Ownership Stable
      • Pet Fish Ownership Peaks Among Gen-Xers
        • Table Ownership of Pet Fish by Age, Gender and Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Owners of Pet Fish Cluster in Pacific Region and Smaller Cities
        • Table Ownership of Pet Fish by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Fish Swim in Affluent Households
        • Table Ownership of Pet Fish by Household Income, 2014
      • Households with Kids Favor Fish
        • Table Ownership of Fish by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2014
      • Petsmart and Supermarkets Main Sources for Pet Fish Supplies
        • Table Where Owners of Pet Fish Buy Pet Supplies, 2014
    • Pet Population and Ownership Trends: Birds
      • Ownership of Pet Birds on the Decline
      • Women More Likely to Own Pet Birds
        • Table Ownership of Birds by Age Group, 2014
      • Latinos Keen on Birds
        • Table Ownership of Birds by Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Relatively Few Pet Birds in Northeast
        • Table Ownership of Birds by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Both Moderate-Income and Relatively Affluent Households Have Birds
        • Table Ownership of Birds by Household Income, 2014
      • Large Households a Hallmark of Bird Owners
        • Table Ownership of Birds by Household Structure, 2014
      • Bird Owners Turn to Vets and Independent Pet Stores for Supplies
        • Table Where Owners of Pet Birds Buy Pet Supplies, 2014
    • Pet Population and Ownership Trends: Reptiles
      • Ownership of Reptiles Takes Off
      • Owners of Pet Reptiles More Likely to Be Male or Non-Hispanic White
        • Table Ownership of Pet Reptiles by Age, Gender and Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Pet Reptiles Most Prevalent in the Southeast
        • Table Ownership of Pet Reptiles by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Affluent Consumers More Likely to Own Reptiles
        • Table Ownership of Pet Reptiles by Household Income, 2014
      • Reptiles Most Likely to Be in Households with Kids
        • Table Ownership of Pet Reptiles by Marital Status and Household Structure, 2014
      • Petco and Petsmart Fail to Attract Reptile Owners
        • Table Where Owners of Pet Reptiles Buy Pet Supplies, 2014
    • Pet Population and Ownership Trends: Rabbits and Hamsters
      • Rabbit and Hamster Populations Experience Ups and Downs
      • Owners of Rabbits or Hamsters Tend to Be Female and 25- to 44-Years Old
        • Table Ownership of Rabbits or Hamsters by Age, Gender and Race and Hispanic Origin, 2014
      • Southwest and Southeast Regions Don't Favor Rabbits and Hamsters
        • Table Ownership of Rabbits or Hamsters by Region and Place of Residence, 2014
      • Rabbits and Hamsters Live in Financially Comfortable Homes
        • Table Ownership of Rabbits or Hamsters by Household Income, 2014
      • Kids Drawn to Rabbits and Hamsters
        • Table Ownership of Rabbits or Hamsters by Presence of Children, 2014
      • Owners of Rabbits or Hamsters Go Online for Pet Supplies
        • Table Where Owners of Rabbits or Hamsters Buy Pet Supplies

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