Sustainable Living

This Is How Many Vegans Are In The World Right Now (2021 Update)

Mandy Meyer
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How many vegans are in the world right now, in 2021?

For the last sixty years, veganism has been the minority of another minority; vegetarianism.

But, for the last four years, we’ve seen these ‘minorities’ taking over the world.

In this article you’ll find out:

  • The definition of ‘veganism’.
  • Top vegan countries in the world right now.
  • The total percentage of vegans in the world, in 2021.

Without further ado….

…What is Veganism?

The term ‘vegan’ was coined in 1944 by Donald Watson, co-founder of ‘the Vegan Society’.

Initially, the term was used to describe ‘non-dairy vegetarians’.

However, in 1951 the Vegan Society has updated the definition to:…“exclude all forms of animal exploitation…”

The definition of veganism.

The definition of VEGANISM according to the ‘Vegan Society’.

Nowadays, the term vegan encapsulates several variations around animal exploitation and the consumption of animal-based products (food, fashion, etc.)

For more details on that, see the end of the article.

From Vegetarian To Vegan

The transition from vegetarians to vegans has been accelerated by global movements such as ‘Veganuary’.

The movement encourages people to try vegan products for ‘January and beyond’ and has grown five times since its launch in 2014.

nr of vegan people in the world in 2020

The number of people signing to ‘Veganuary’ campaign. Source: BBC.

Similarly, Google search for ‘veganism’ has seen an increase of 580 percent, over the last five years.

The term has received, at the end of 2019, almost five times more interest than the ‘vegetarian’ and ‘cruelty-free’ searches combined.

nr of vegans in the world - wtvox.com

The term ‘vegan’ is 5 times up when compared to similar terms.

According to The Economist’, only 3.4 percent of Americans were vegetarian in 2015.

From those, only 0.4 percent were vegans.

A similar survey run in Japan in 2014 showed that 4.7 percent of the population was vegetarian.

However, only 2.7 percent identified as vegans.




The transition from vegetarians to vegans has been so profound that last year (2019), was declared by The Economist ‘The Year of the Vegan’.

Right now, the total number of vegans, vegetarians, and all related categories, is close to 14 percent of the world population.

Before we look at the total number of vegans in the world, let’s see their distribution in the US, UK, India, and Australia.

Number Of Vegans In The US

In the US, the number of vegans went up 0.4 percent to almost 3.5 percent in the last two years or so.

According to the ‘Vegetarianism in America’ study published by Vegetarian Times Magazine, the percentage of vegans in the US is rising fast.

Number of vegetarians in the US

7.3 million Americans are vegetarians.

Right now, there are about 9.7 million people in the US following a vegetarian-based diet.

However, only 1 million of them – that’s approximately 0.5 percent – lead a purely vegan lifestyle.

Number of Vegans In UK 2020

Similarly, the number of vegans in the U.K. has quadrupled over the last five years.

According to the ‘The Food & You’ survey run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the National Centre for Social Science Research, there were 150,000 vegans in 2014.

veganism search in the UK

The number of searches for the ‘veganism’ topic in the UK, over the last five years.

Right now, there are around 720,000 vegans in the U.K. counting as almost 1.2 percent of the country’s total population.

Number of Vegans In India

According to a UN FAO report, Indian has the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world, thanks to its religion (Hinduism).

With a total population of 1.2 billion people, the Hindus make for the majority at nearly 44 percent.

Number of vegetarians in India

Indian vegetarians (percentage distribution) according to the National Family Health Survey of 2019.




As such, there are around 500 million vegetarians in India, in 2020.

However, only 1 percent of Hindus are strict vegans, so the total number of vegans in India is approx 5 million.

Number of Vegans In Australia

According to an ‘ABC Australia Talks’ National Survey, only 1 percent of Australians identify as vegans.

From the total number of 25,788 people who participated in the survey, 3 percent stated they’re vegetarian.

Percentage of vegans in Australia

Only 1 percent of Australians are vegans, according to a 2019 study by ABC Radio.

However, an overwhelming 89 percent of the national survey’s respondents said they were meat-eaters.

Other Countries With Large Numbers of Vegans

To understand Bette the vegan population growth, we must look at how vegans spread across other ‘representative’ countries.

The following figures were compiled from local reports and studies, and include both, diet and ethical vegans.

  • Austria in 2013 – according to a report conducted by the Kurier, there were 0.5 percent estimated vegans.
  • Canada 2018 – a Canadian survey has estimated that 2.1 percent of Canadian adults were considering themselves vegans.
  • Germany 2016 – a study run by the German Nutrition Society has estimated that almost 1 percent of the population (a bit over 810,000) were vegans.
  • Israel 2015 – according to a survey conducted by Globes and Israel’s Channel 2 News, 5 percent of Israelis were following a vegan lifestyle.
  • Italy 2016 – According to the Italian Research Institute, Euripses, 1 percent of the Italian population was vegan that year. Since then, the number has decreased.
  • Sweden 2014 – A poll run by Demoskop showed that 4 percent (that’s 1 in 10) of respondents were vegan.
  • Switzerland 2017 – according to research run by DemoSCOPE, 3 percent of the population was estimated to be vegan.

Number of Vegans In The World 2020

Based on the above figures – adjusted with the speed of growth and other comparative statistics – the approximate number of vegans in the world is less than 1 percent of the world population.

Based on the most recent United Nations estimates the world population in 2021 is 7.9 billion.

Therefore, as of January 2021, the total number of vegans in the world is approx 79 million.

Are Vegans Taking Over?

Current data shows that the number of vegans continues to rise, at an accelerated rate.

veganism adverts in London underground

  • The number of vegans in the U.S. grew by 600 percent from 4 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2018.
  • Between 2011 and 2016, Italy had the fastest-growing vegan population with a growth of 94.4 percent.
  • According to Google Trends, the U.K. was the country most interested in ‘veganism’ in 2019, followed by Australia, and New Zealand.

However, to ‘take over the world’, the vegan growth we’ve seen over the last four-five years will have to continue for at least three decades.

Different Kinds Of Vegans?

In simple terms, a vegan is a person that abstains from using any animal-based products.

But, the advent of veganism into fashion has split vegans into:

Vegans by DIET and vegans by LIFESTYLE

vegan fashion week

Vegan Fashion Week catwalk, 2019.

Vegans by diet are also known as dietary vegans or strict vegetarians.

Their main concern is the avoidance of animal-derived products such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, from their diet.

The lifestyle vegans are also known as ethical vegans or moral vegetarians.




They extend the vegan philosophy beyond diets, into as many as possible areas of their lives.

Vegan fashion, in particular, has become very important to this segment of vegans.

Conclusion

Regardless of classification criteria, reasons, or types, the number of vegans in the world is on the rise.

We see significant pro-veganism movements in Western countries, Eastern Europe, Australia, and Israel.

Moreover, as cultures and landscapes change for the better, veganism has started to gain momentum in Latin America, Asia, and Africa as well.

Finally, if the movement maintains the current rate of growth, over the next ten years, at least 1 in 10 people will be vegan.

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  1. Why did The Economist, call 2019 is the year of the vegan? Anyone?

  2. PsedMzine

    14 November 2019

    I think it is not that easy to know exactly the total number of the vegan population. I mean, I’ve been vegan on and off several times this year and I know lots like me. But, overall great article.

  3. VeganEggnogChamp-ENN

    2 December 2019

    We are once again changing to meet the demand of our times. Veganism in the UK has increased by 300% in the past five years. At least. We all should start rising to the challenge. And, I think you’re right, veganism and fashion are very much connected. I for example used to be a diet vegan. Now, I am more careful about everything I buy and especially with what I wear. Thank you for sharing so much informative data, you guys are amazing!

  4. 20Louie

    10 January 2020

    Now, don`t get me wrong, I always believed that all this veganism mania has started in the last four years. However, I see that I was wrong, veganism is 60 years or so old. But I have this feeling that recently it became more and more important for people to consume in a sustainable way and the first example that comes to my mind is the rise of veganism. A quick Google search for veganism shows an increase of 550 per cent over the last five years so my question is, is the world going to become entirely vegan?

  5. Olarak Aynasında İnsan

    28 January 2020

    Loved the article, so much amazing info, right in time for my university research! Thanks a bunch guys!

  6. Latest studies suggest that about 8% of the entire world’s population is vegan. But I feel that’s quite a lot. So many people all over the globe who are committed to living a plant-based life.

  7. Randash

    22 July 2020

    Vegans and vegetarians made up 8% of the world’s population in 2018 and these numbers are only rising (yay for more eco-friendly diets!). Due to this trend, more and more tour operators are offering vegan food tour options. How awesome is that?! Just a couple of years ago, such a thing would have been unheard of!

  8. Exaggeration to say that converting a vegan diet has been one of the biggest trends in the world. Based on stats; it is estimated that approximately 8 per cent of the world population follows a vegan.

  9. Vegan For All

    12 August 2020

    Clothes made with animal fur or they strictly refuse horse races. None animal exploitation at all.

  10. Harta Reciclarii

    13 August 2020

    Veganism is better for the environment. I hope more people join vegans

  11. VidaVerde

    13 August 2020

    No nos extraña: el veganismo está en boca de todos, ¡literalmente!

  12. Due to various justifications, such as the appeal to tradition, the overwhelming majority of the world maintains an omnivorous diet.

  13. FMCG Guru

    17 September 2020

    Health advantages of plant-based, veganism has gone mainstream. Globally, Google searches for veganism have skyrocketed 550% over the past 5 years.

  14. WILDLIFE Project

    16 October 2020

    Who eats all the soya?

  15. Dağ Medya

    26 October 2020

    Gerçek Sömürü Karşıtlığı Olarak Vegan Anarşizm.

  16. VeganWorld

    30 October 2020

    We need more vegans in the world…

  17. Anna Chapelle

    30 October 2020

    This number is relatively small! Only 78 million vegans across the globe? Tinder has 7.86 million users in the U.S only!

  18. Tom0707

    5 November 2020

    There are over 7.8 billion humans alive at present, but only 78 million of us are estimated to be vegan? I really hope this number grows!

  19. Eampuseco

    10 November 2020

    Yes, about 3.5% of people in the United States identify as vegan.

  20. Very good article, thanks for the statistics, helped me a lot at uni

  21. Umm I’m pretty sure India has 1.38 Billion not 1.2 Billion. 1.2 Billion data is of 2011.
    Also, percentage of Hindus is 79.8 not 44 percent as you mentioned. The percentage of Hindi speaking people is 44 percent. Hindi and Hindu are very different things, I hope you understand that one is a language and other is a religion.

  22. Many people are going vegan by the day. This was an extremely useful article, thanks for putting all the stats together.

  23. Do you realise that these figures change by the minute?

    • Yes, of course. I’m fairly certain they, and all of us, are aware that the world changes constantly.

  24. There are over 500 million vegetarians and at least 5 million vegans in India, although some still argue that the numbers are lower. And yet, most of these vegans and vegetarians are not by will or desire, but by poverty, let’s be clear of that.

  25. Current data shows that this number continues to rise at an accelerated rate, and I am so happy about this. Nobody should eat or wear animals, they have would and emotions, just like us.

  26. Avatar

    Leslie Austin

    25 December 2020

    The number of vegans in Australia must be much higher now – Vegans in Australia Facebook group has over 60,000 members and that’s only a Facebook group.

    I’m surprised how many people I speak to at Speakers Corner are not on Facebook, about 90% of the people I get to ask so that implies the number of vegans in Australia must be at least 10 times higher than 60,000.

  27. Does anyone know how many vegans are in South America?

  28. Batghts

    11 January 2021

    Excellent article, helped me a lot with my uni report!

  29. BattleDublin

    22 January 2021

    How much is it to promote my brand here on your website?

  30. Albionges

    25 January 2021

    Love it but there are challenged to go plant-based. It is no secret that veganism is fast-growing but at the same time, there are problems with animal overpopulation that nobody is talking about. Can we get some coverage on this issue as well?

  31. Th3VeggieG1rl

    25 January 2021

    We need more environmental awareness. Many of us switched to conscious eating and yet, the change is insignificant unless we keep sharing!

  32. The Skinny Fat Guy

    26 January 2021

    So love this, I’ve shared with my non-vegan friends to see how fast the world is changing.

  33. I’m more interested to know more about the sustainability aspect of veganism. There are compelling arguments on both sides, but I believe veganism is the way forward when it comes to climate change.

  34. My wife and i have been so contented
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  35. Hmm… Why do I have the feeling that the vegan stats are pumped?!

  36. Why are more people going vegan? Well, I think mostly because of health. That’s why there are so many “part-time vegans”

  37. ArtistiDan

    16 February 2021

    The term ‘Veganism’ was first introduced in the United Kingdom and according to the Vegan Society, the U.K. was the country most involved in vegan and vegetarian lifestyles in 2019. Now, is this a trend shaper when it comes to vegan fashion? Need some answers and input before I start my vegan handbags business, please.

  38. Avatar

    Rogério Marques

    16 February 2021

    Could you please share the sources you used on the numbers of vegetarians and vegans in different parts of the world?

  39. Veganism is finally going mainstream! Here in Scotland, the Scottish government agreed to include plant-based milk alternatives on a government-funded nursery and early learning milk scheme from August 2021! How amazing is that?

  40. The health impact of veganism is massive. many studies show how a vegan diet can lower cholesterol levels, decrease the chance of cancer, and help in managing diabetes. If the world go vegan, we could save 8 million human lives by 2050.

  41. Avatar

    Deutschman

    25 February 2021

    The vegan stats and estimates are quite limited. How come there aren’t any other studies on the number of vegans besides The Vegan Society reports?! Does anyone know any other source?

  42. Despite all the benefits of veganism for the animals and (arguably) the environment, I really think that vegan diet is not for everybody. It very much depends on the genetics of your body. That being said, I think we can solve that problem through modern agriculture and tech-based food production (see ‘Modern Meadow’ for example).

  43. Sarah

    1 March 2021

    Stop animal cruelty! Go Vegan! Over a billion farmed animals are killed each year in slaughterhouses, and this is just happening in Britain!

  44. Avatar

    JamesFem

    4 March 2021

    Thanks for the detailed report. though we can’t talk about the number of vegans and not about the animals. Since early 1970, the number of free-living animals has declined by more than 80%. Instead, a small number of farmed animals (mainly cows and pigs) dominate the global biomass. They account for 60% of mammal species by mass, 36% goes to humans, and only 4% are free-living animals. A bit shocking how we have altered our environment and affected the biosphere, not for good!

  45. It is a trend. Social media is now packed with so-called “vegan influencers”. Just type #vegan in Insta and there are more than 100 million posts! But I reckon how many people really believe in that?

  46. It’s fantastic to see how quickly veganism is growing in the UK! Many Supermarket chains like Waitrose have a dedicated vegan section now.

  47. Hello there, me again 😀 A bit off-topic, but could someone explain the difference between vegetarian and vegan, in particular in fashion? I’ve seen many terms used which are confusing, like vegan leather, vegetarian leather, and vegetarian tanned leather

  48. Avatar

    Manual

    13 March 2021

    The market for vegan products is way higher than this though. Many non-vegans (even meat-eaters) are now trying vegan diet and products since for their health benefits.

  49. Hello there, just wanted to say loved the article! You’ve done a fantastic job!

  50. Avatar

    Sophia

    15 March 2021

    Do you have any data in Germany?

  51. Thomas

    15 March 2021

    Why are most vegans women?!

  52. Bakool

    15 March 2021

    I like the definition given by the vegan society much more than Wikipedia which says:

    “Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of animals. An individual who follows the diet or philosophy is known as a vegan.”

    You can’t be vegan by following a diet. It’s a philosophy of living that sees all living creatures as equal!

  53. Avatar

    Willow

    18 March 2021

    1944?! Wow! I had no idea veganism is so old!

  54. Daniel

    18 March 2021

    Is veganism growing in 2021? It seems that the trend is slowing down!