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Here is a common answer from 2016:

Some 542,000 people aged 15 or over – more than one per cent of the population – have adopted a plant-based diet, up from 150,0001 in 2006.

While this is great, it's just a single number showing the increase over one period of time. I want to know how the rate of increase is changing. If it remains at a steady increase of ~40,000 people per year, it will take a long time for veganism to become mainstream. Some indirect measures (e.g. veganuary signups, google searches) indicate that the rate is increasing, but I'm hoping to see direct results from surveys, or something close.

Information about the growth of vegetarianism is also welcome.

Answers can either be restricted to a country or region or be about the world as a whole.


1 This is usually (including in the source) reported as an increase of 360%, which is wrong. 542,000 is 360% of 150,000, but the vegan population increased by 260%.

  • As for the 260% increase in population, you certainly do not mean UK population increasing by 260%, do you? In fact, what kind of population do you mean? Since I cannot imagine any human population to increase by over 260% in 10 years - that is certainly biologically impossible and hardly possible with immigration. – Alexander Rossa Feb 7 '17 at 21:48
  • @AlexanderRossa I meant the vegan population, edited. I'm only talking about one set of numbers, not that there's some forgotten background increase that affects the calculation. The point is that there's an extra 100% in the reported increase because people don't understand how to talk about percentages. – Alex Hall Feb 8 '17 at 9:48
  • Ah, okay, I see, I was misled by the lack of "vegan" before population. As for the increase of 40,000 a year, while not that big a number in itself, I guess that after a certain point, when the percent of vegn population is high enough to trigger snowballing effect, these numbers will start to grow more steeply. For example, each converted omnivore has an impact on their surroundings and their offspring. When vegnism becomes instilled in society as "normal" and wide-spread, the influence society has on individuals will play a big role in promoting it. – Alexander Rossa Feb 8 '17 at 11:23
  • @AlexanderRossa right, that's basically what this question is about, I was hoping maybe we could observe it already. btw remember to put a \ before * in veg*n, i.e. veg\*n. – Alex Hall Feb 8 '17 at 12:00
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Reliable figures over time are hard to come by. Different surveys are not comparable because they ask different questions; some collect figures for households and some do individual counts. The other problem is that polls use relatively small samples so an extra few people reporting that they are vegan or vegetarian will skew the figures considerably. A difference 1 person in a typical survey of 1000 UK people saying that they are vegan will cause there to seem to be an additional 65,000 vegans in the UK if you simply multiply things up.

Things also vary significantly from country to country as some countries have large populations that are vegetarian or vegan for religious reasons.

The vegetarian society in the UK has a fact sheet containing statistics culled from various sources. They report that The Vegetarian Foods Market Assessment Report shows that from

2001-2011 number of people completely vegetarian fell from 3 million to 1.9 million

Most of the other reports referenced do seem to correlate, showing either static or declining vegetarianism and veganism in the UK over the 21st century. It's possible that the UK is simply returning to trend after getting an unexpected boost in the rate of vegetarianism from mad cow disease but that conjecture is hard to verify.

In the US the numbers may be going the other way. One green planet has vegetarians and vegans on the increase from 2009 to 2014.

five percent of the U.S. is vegetarian (close to 16 million people) and about half of these vegetarians are vegan. While this may sound like a small number, what’s amazing is that the number of vegans in the U.S. has doubled since 2009 from 2.5 percent of the population.

The Times of India has vegetarianism increasing there from 25% in 2004 to 30% in 2014.

  • I'm surprised that veg diets are on the rise in India, a country where most people were mostly vegetarians and that recently started to become more wealthy are affording to eat more meat - and doing so. – ecc Feb 8 '17 at 12:33
  • The rise of meat eating drove obesity and heath problems and they're now on a return to vegetarianism. I suspect things will cycle back and forth for a while. – Robert Longson Feb 8 '17 at 12:36
  • I never would have guessed that vegetarianism would have significantly decreased recently. I thought that it was on an inevitable rise now that there's so much information out there. There's something wrong with the last quote. How have vegans doubled from 2.5% to half of 5%? – Alex Hall Feb 10 '17 at 9:25
  • It says that in 2009 the number of vegans was 2.5%, while in 2014 the number of vegetarians was 5%, half of which (2.5% again) were vegan. – Alex Hall Feb 10 '17 at 9:31
  • I guess you should complain to one green planet! – Robert Longson Feb 10 '17 at 9:32

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