The Number of Vegetarians In The World
What's the number of vegetarians living in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere in the world? How many vegans are there? How many raw foodists?
Through polling we can answer these questions to some degree, but it's still hard to get exact figures.
The Number of Vegetarians In The United States
The 2008, "Vegetarianism in America" study (1) published by the Vegetarian Times Magazine, puts the number of U.S. adult vegetarians at 7.3 million, or 3.2 percent of the population.
Of those, 0.5 percent, or 1 million, are vegans who consume no animal products at all. Another 11.9 million, or 5.2 percent of the population, claims to be interested in vegetarian diets. How many in that mix follow a raw food diet?
Likely some small fraction of the vegans are also raw foodists, but the question wasn't asked. The study surveyed 5,050 people from different areas of the country, which is considered a statistically-sound representative sample, but with so few people it may be that none of them were raw foodists.
So is vegetarianism growing or shrinking? A similar poll sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group in 2004 (2) estimated that 2.8 percent of adult Americans consider themselves vegetarians, up from 2.3 percent in their 2000 poll. If these polls are accurate, it's probably fair to say that vegetarianism, and veganism along with it, are increasing.
The Number of Vegetarians in Europe
In England, vegetarianism got a huge boost from the mad cow scare. According to a 2006 Mintel survey (3), 6 percent of the population, or 3.6 million people, are vegetarians, and 10 percent eat no red meat. This likely makes the UK the european country with the largest proportion of its population that is vegetarian.
Sources for the rest of Europe are less than reliable, but according to information gathered from numerous sources by the European Vegetarian Union (excluding estimates and extrapolation
Country: People - Percent of Population
Austria: 243,000 - 3%
Belgium: 204,000 - 2%
Croatia: 166,500 - 3.7%
Czech Republic: 153,000 - 1.5%
Denmark: 81,000 - 1.5%
France: >1,200,000 - >2%
The Netherlands: 700,900 - 4.3%
Norway: 92,000 - 2%
Poland: >386,000 - >1%
Portugal: 30,000 - 0.3%
The Number of Vegetarians In Israel
The EVU (4) also cites a study done by the Israeli Ministry of Health that claims 8.5 percent of the Israeli population, or 595,000 people, are vegetarian, which is an impressive figure. The Israeli Ministry of Health is a legitimate source, but no copy of the survey could be found.
Number of Vegetarians In India
India holds more vegetarians than the rest of the world combined.
A 2006 survey by the Hindu newspaper (5) found that 40 percent of the population, or 399 million people, are vegetarians.
This is mostly driven by class and religious concerns, with the Brahmin class expected to not eat meat, the Hindu religion suggesting vegetarianism and the Jain religion demanding it.