Owning a pet is a privilege that has both many benefits and responsibilities. Responsibilities include those that are physical, emotional, and financial, such as feeding, exercising, grooming, and vet care. People commonly own dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, reptiles, rabbits, and a variety of other specialty and exotic animals. Every type of pet has specific needs and, oftentimes, there is the type of person who best loves that type of pet. For example, a “dog person” and a “cat person.”
AMVA Pet Ownership and Demographics
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) regularly conducts surveys of pet-owning households in the United States and reports their findings in their AMVA Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook.
According to the AMVA, almost 57% of American households had pets at the end of 2016. Dogs have continuously been the dominant pet in terms of popularity among American households. At the end of 2016, about 38% of households nationwide owned a dog.
Pet owner demographics show that the highest rates of pet ownership are found among households in the least urban areas and the lowest ownership rates are found among those who live in cities. Additionally, the highest rates of pet ownership are found in mobile homes with a rate of 73.8%.
The report also showed that pet ownership rates were highest among White households (64.7%), followed by Hispanic/Latino households (61.4%). Pet ownership was lowest among Black-African American households (36.9%).
Pet Ownership by State
The states with the highest rates of pet ownership are:
- Wyoming (71.8%)
- West Virginia (70.7%)
- Nebraska (70.3%)
- Vermont (70.0%)
- Idaho (69.9%)
- Indiana (69.2%)
- Arkansas (69.0%)
- Mississippi (65.5%)
- Oklahoma (65.0%)
- Colorado (64.7%)
Of these states, Idaho has the highest rate of dog ownership at 58.3%, followed by Montana with 51.9% and West Virginia with 51.6%. Vermont has the highest rate of cat ownership at 44.6%.
The states with the lowest rates of pet ownership are:
- District of Columbia (38.2%)
- Rhode Island (45.4%)
- South Dakota (46.4%)
- New Jersey (47.4%)
- Maryland (48.6%)
- Illinois (48.6%)
- Massachusetts (49.1%)
- New York (49.7%)
- Connecticut (49.9%)
- Georgia (51.1%)
Of these, the District of Columbia has the lowest rate of dog ownership of 22.5% and the lowest rate of cat ownership of 16.4%.
The table below outlines pet ownership in each state. Any values of “0” indicate that sufficient data is missing for that state’s data point.