Which country has the biggest population of vegans? It changes all the time. At one time it was India, but now apparently Mexico are surpassing them, with Israel running to catch up. (source)
But knowing which country has the highest level of vegans isn’t particularly helpful on our quest to make the whole world vegan (sorry, did you not know that that’s what the plan was?). We need to know why. (9% of Mexicans identify as vegan, but is that number rising? Falling? Plateauing?
There are things that may affect the number of vegans in a country, such as…
Hindus in India don’t eat meat – we’ve all seen those photos of a cow chilling in a busy Indian street with people going around it, anxious not to upset them.
So surely a high percentage of Indians will be vegan?
India does, in fact, produce more milk than any other country. You’d be hard pushed to find an authentic dhal without ghee. Dairy products are a part of everyday life there, as are leather shoes and silk clothing.
I also assumed that Buddhists don’t eat meat (embarrassingly my only frame of reference is Lisa Simpson) because Buddha forbade killing. After a bit of googling, I’m horrified to report that Buddha doesn’t count eating meat as killing an animal. There are a significant number of vegan Buddhists though.
Cool cool cool cool cool cool cool.
It’s easy to be vegan in the Western world. EASY.
There’s soya milk in all but the tiniest of corner shops, we don’t have leather because everything’s made of plastic, and Quorn rules the freezer aisle in Tesco.
And, if it’s not available in the shops, Amazon will bring it to our door for (if we’re Prime members) FREE.
Many developing countries can barely provide their people with fresh water, never mind a vegan option. Countries ravaged by war that depend on allies airdropping them food can’t afford to be picky.
The main resources that I read that led me to veganism were found online – not a luxury everyone has access to. Nutritional information, slaughterhouse footage, and, crucially, other vegans – all at my fingertips. The other vegans were literally at my fingertips, but you know what I mean.
If I didn’t have the internet then I would still believe all the things my mum told me about animal agriculture – the animals are killed humanely, cows are in agony if left unmilked, and fish can’t feel pain.
I can say over and over again that veganism is cheaper than being a meat eater, and it’s true.
But I’m extremely lucky that I live in a country that provides with free healthcare at the point of contact (I will never get over that Twitter thread that detailed how much it costs to get an ambulance in the US). If I plan my vegan diet poorly and my leg falls off, a doctor will glue it back on for me. Or however, they reattach legs.
I can buy myself vitamin B12 and D tablets. I can go and get a blood test just because I fancy one.
And I’m not rich. At all. Not by Western standards anyway.
Which country has the lowest vegan population?
Apparently Portugal. Spain, just next door, has a skyrocketing vegan population.
Best cities to visit as a vegan
According to Happy Cow, the London, Berlin, New York, and Tel Aviv. Basically big cities that attract a lot of tourists. Seems legit. They based the evidence of the number of vegan restaurants, vegan options in other restaurants, and how well they were treated/ general opinion of vegans.
Worst countries to visit as a vegan
I actually couldn’t find any data on this, so I’m just offering my opinions. I fly rarely because it’s awful for the environment and I don’t need to.
So, from the handful of scrappy articles I found on this, I’d suggest that if you visit Portugal, Argentina, Russia, and Japan.
Veganism in the US
For those of you that are fancying a US road trip, D.C is the place to head for lots of vegan restaurants, closely followed by Hawaii and Oregon.
About 3% of Americans identify as vegan. Not that it’s a competition but the UK are winning.
I’m surprised California didn’t rank higher, but there you go (source).
Vegan population growth
The vegan population is soaring. In the UK that’s been in the form of the 3.5 million people that identify as vegan, up from 540,000 in 2016.
Food companies are reporting major increases in the amount of vegan food sold, and I think it’s to do with the perception of vegan food.
Remember 2017, when almond milk was the Thing? Everyone was drinking it, not just vegans. Milk was the enemy, then red meat, then eggs. Humans love nothing more than a fad, and all this vegan food has helped fuel it.
Is that a bad thing?
Hell no! Who cares why people are eschewing animal products, I just care that they are! I don’t kill and eat a cow because I think it’s wrong, you don’t kill and eat a cow because it tastes yacky. I assure you, the cow has no interest in your motives.
Veganism in China
Why would I single out China?
- It’s such a big country that if they started eating dairy products at the rate the UK and US do the planet will be well and truly fucked. They didn’t use to eat dairy, because if you’re not European and white, you’re likely to be dairy intolerant.
- But then we introduced China to cheese and now it’s a rising market.
- They famously (in vegan circles anyway) demand that all imported cosmetics are tested on animals by law
Excitingly, there is a lot of demand for vegan food, and a growing number of vegans, especially amongst the younger generations. A lot of traditional vegan Buddhist restaurants are doing well in the main cities – they serve the vegan buddhist foods that have been eaten for generations in China, and are now being enjoyed by students.
Apparently, the number of vegans in China is expected to hit 17% in 2020 (source). The Chinese health board has advocated cutting down on meat, and there is an additional environmental concern.
When will the whole world be vegan?
Hopefully soon, whilst we still have a breathable atmosphere. If you’re unsure as to how being vegan can help the environment, click here and all will be revealed.
I’d quite like to see the world go vegan in my lifetime, or at least see, say, 75% of the world being vegan.
I don’t think that there’s a question as to whether or not the world will go vegan. We definitely will, as we continue to grow as a species.
Or, you know, we’ll all die.
How did I find the data about veganism over the world?
Well let me tell you, it wasn’t fucking easy.
You know you’re off to a bad start when the number one google result is Wikipedia.
I also read somewhere that 9% of Mexicans are vegan, but how does one verify that? Get a bog loudspeaker and ask? Get everyone to fill in a form?
In reality, it’s nigh on impossible to accurately ascertain which country has the highest vegan population because:
- It changes all the time
- People misunderstand the question/lie
- It’s not like they take an accurate census.
The people conducting these studies can’t ask everyone. They can only test a sample. In which case, you’ve got to ask where this sample was taken from, because you’ll get completely different results from the ten people you interview in the queue at Trader Joe’s, than from the ten people in the audience at SeaWorld.
Can you believe I managed to make an article from answering ow many vegans are there in the world?
It was good fun, but I think I’ve learned that it’s pretty difficult to get accurate results for things like this.