What Does the Latest Data on Pet Ownership Say?


Pet ownership is still on the rise with no signs of stopping, according to new data released by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).


The 2017-2018 edition of the Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, which provides statistics on pet ownership and related habits, found that over half (57 percent) of households in the U.S. owned a pet at the end of 2016.


“This is a fascinating look into the world of pets, as well as the people and veterinarians who love and care for them,” said AVMA president John de Jong, DVM. “Examining current trends in pet ownership and care provides our members with information they can use to better serve their clients and protect the health and welfare of their pets.”


Dogs lead the pack, with approximately 38 percent of households owning one or more canines—the highest estimated rate of dog ownership since the AVMA started keeping track in 1982. Cats came in second place; about one in four (25 percent) households had a feline resident.


Exotic pets are also more popular than ever, including fish, rodents, reptiles, poultry, livestock and amphibians. Over 13 percent of American households owned a specialty or exotic pet at the end of 2016—a 25 percent increase from just five years earlier.


Americans in rural areas are also more likely to own pets than their urban counterparts. The five states with the highest rates of pet ownership were:

1. Wyoming (72 percent)

2. West Virginia (71 percent)

3. Nebraska (70 percent)

4. Vermont (70 percent)

5. Idaho (70 percent)


The five states with the lowest rates of pet ownership were:

1. Rhode Island (45 percent)

2. South Dakota (46 percent)

3. New Jersey (47 percent)

4. Illinois (49 percent)

5. Maryland (49 percent)


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