Discover the Deep Connection Between Americans and Their Pets
Families come in all shapes and sizes. And for a majority of Americans, family includes their pets.
Most Americans (62%) own a pet, including about a third (35%) who have more than one. And nearly all U.S. pet owners (97%) say their pets are part of their family, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
Pets as Family Members
About half of pet owners (51%) not only consider their pets to be a part of their family but say they are as much a part of their family as a human member. This sentiment is more prevalent among women and people with lower family incomes.
Women: 57% of women pet owners say their pets are just as much a part of their family as a human member, compared with 43% of men who own pets.
People with lower family incomes: 64% of pet owners in this group consider their pets to be as much a part of their family as a human member, compared with 46% of those with middle incomes and 43% of those with higher incomes.
Urban vs. Rural
People living in urban areas are more likely to view their pets as equal family members. 61% of pet owners in urban areas say their pets are as much a part of their family as a human member, compared with 50% of those in rural areas and 47% of those in the suburbs.
Who is Most Likely to Own Pets?
Most Americans own pets, but some groups stand out as being more likely to do so:
White and Hispanic adults: 68% of White and 66% of Hispanic adults own a pet. By comparison, just 37% of Asian and 34% of Black adults are pet owners.
Rural Americans: 71% of adults living in rural areas have a pet – much higher than the shares in suburban and urban areas. Rural Americans also stand out as the most likely to have multiple pets.
People who are living with a partner or married: 77% of partnered and 65% of married adults have pets. That share drops much lower among people who are divorced, separated, widowed, or have never been married.
Dog versus Cat Ownership
Dog ownership is more common than cat ownership in the United States. Among all pet owners:
49% say they have dogs only
23% have cats only
24% have both dogs and cats
4% have neither cats nor dogs
How Americans Think Pets are Treated
We asked Americans how they think pets are treated compared with people in the U.S. Some key findings include:
26% of Americans say there is not enough emphasis on the well-being of pets, and an equal share say there is too much. Roughly half (48%) say there’s about the right amount of emphasis on the well-being of pets.
Pet owners are twice as likely as non-pet owners to say there is not enough emphasis on pets’ well-being. Non-pet owners are about twice as likely as pet owners to say there is too much emphasis.
The bond between Americans and their pets is undeniable. Pets are not just animals; they are cherished members of the family. Whether it’s a dog or a cat, pets bring joy, companionship, and love to their owners. So, it’s no surprise that Americans are deeply invested in their pets’ well-being and consider them as important as human family members.