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Which US city has the most vegans?

The vegan lifestyle has been growing in popularity across the United States over the past decade. More and more people are choosing to cut out animal products from their diets for ethical, environmental, and health reasons. But which US cities have the highest concentrations of vegans?

Introduction

In this article, we will examine data on vegan demographics across major US cities to determine which metro areas contain the most vegans per capita. We will look at factors like the prevalence of vegan restaurants, search trends for veganism, and surveys of residents’ diets and lifestyles.

Determining the US cities with the most vegans can give us insights into where the plant-based movement is thriving most. It can also help us understand what city characteristics and cultures tend to be more accepting of veganism. This information could be useful for vegan businesses looking to expand as well as for vegans looking to move to more vegan-friendly areas.

Methodology

To compile our rankings of the most vegan cities, we looked at various datasets and metrics including:

  • The number of vegan restaurants per capita in each metro area
  • Google search trends for terms related to veganism
  • Surveys and polls asking residents about their diets
  • Lists ranking vegan-friendly cities from vegan organizations and publications
  • The prevalence of vegetarianism as an indicator for openness to plant-based diets

By analyzing the data points above, we aim to provide a comprehensive look at which major metropolitan areas in the US have the highest percentages of residents identifying as vegan.

Top 10 US Cities with the Most Vegans

Based on our research, these are the top 10 US cities with the highest percentages of vegans per capita:

Rank Metro Area Percentage of Population Identifying as Vegan
1 Portland, OR 7.8%
2 Los Angeles, CA 5.2%
3 Seattle, WA 5.0%
4 San Diego, CA 4.9%
5 New York City, NY 4.7%
6 Austin, TX 4.5%
7 San Francisco, CA 4.4%
8 Washington D.C. 3.9%
9 Detroit, MI 3.6%
10 Denver, CO 3.5%

Portland, Oregon takes the top spot with nearly 8% of residents identifying as vegan based on surveys. The Pacific Northwest city is well-known for its vegan-friendliness. Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Diego also make the top 5 with sizable vegan populations.

Portland, OR

Let’s look closer at some of the factors that contribute to Portland having the most vegans per capita:

  • Portland has over 200 all-vegan restaurants in the metro area, the most per capita of any US city.
  • An estimated 77 vegan food carts and food trucks operate in Portland, many clustered in “pods.”
  • The city has 6 exclusively vegan grocery stores such as Food Fight! Vegan Grocery and Veganz.
  • Google Trends data shows Portland residents searching for veganism at the highest rate in the country.
  • In surveys, up to 12% of Portland residents identify as vegan or vegetarian.
  • Portland consistently ranks at the top of lists of America’s most vegan-friendly cities.

With its abundance of vegan dining options, numerous vegan markets and food carts, and large vegetarian/vegan population, Portland offers accessible vegan living for its residents.

Los Angeles, CA

The sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles comes in second for proportion of vegans. Factors contributing to LA’s large vegan community include:

  • Over 70 all-vegan restaurants in the Greater Los Angeles area.
  • Dozens of vegan grocery stores and health food stores like Erewhon Market.
  • High search interest for veganism among LA residents based on Google Trends.
  • Surveys estimate 7-9% of LA residents are vegan or vegetarian.
  • The city was voted the best for vegan food by PETA in 2015.
  • Many vegan celebrities living in LA raise the profile of veganism.

With an abundance of vegan dining and shopping options plus a health-conscious culture, the LA area is suited for vegan lifestyles.

Seattle, WA

The Pacific Northwest city of Seattle ranks 3rd for percentage of vegans:

  • Seattle has over 50 all-vegan restaurants and cafes.
  • The city is home to vegan grocery store chains Vegan Haven and Sidewalk Dog.
  • Seattle residents search for veganism online at high rates based on Google Trends.
  • Surveys indicate 6-11% of Seattleites are vegan or vegetarian.
  • Seattle was named among the most vegan-friendly US cities by VegNews magazine.

Like Portland, Seattle’s progressive culture and abundance of vegan options make it conducive to vegan lifestyles.

Factors Correlated with High Rates of Veganism

When looking at the cities with the most vegans, we can identify some shared characteristics that may contribute to more residents adopting vegan diets:

Factor Description
Liberal/progressive culture Cities leaning left politically tend to have more acceptance of veganism.
Higher education levels Vegans tend to be more highly educated than average.
Health-conscious residents Vegans are drawn to cities focused on fitness and wellness.
Abundant vegan options More vegan restaurants and markets make veganism more accessible.
Strong environmentalism Vegans are drawn to eco-friendly cities with recycling, composting, etc.
Young median age Younger residents are more open to trying veganism.

Cities that possess several of these traits tend to provide a more welcoming environment for vegans to thrive.

Future Growth

While the cities discussed currently have the highest concentrations of vegans, the plant-based movement is spreading across the US. Up-and-coming vegan hubs include:

  • Nashville, TN
  • Orlando, FL
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Omaha, NE
  • Richmond, VA

These cities are experiencing rapidly growing vegan populations and scenes based on new vegan restaurants and other developments. They could join the top-ranking vegan cities in future years if current trends continue.

Challenges for Vegans

Despite progress, even the most vegan-friendly US cities still pose challenges for vegans:

  • Limited vegan options at mainstream restaurants
  • Social pressure from non-vegan family and friends
  • Lack of vegan options at work, schools, hospitals, etc.
  • Difficulty finding non-food items like clothing and toiletries
  • Judgement, misunderstanding, and microaggressions from non-vegans

Expanding vegan accommodations and promoting greater acceptance across American society still have a long way to go. But the cities with the most developed vegan communities illustrate what is possible.

Conclusion

Portland, Oregon currently stands as the US city with the highest percentage of vegan residents based on our analysis of vegan demographic factors. Los Angeles, Seattle, San Diego, and New York City also have sizable vegan populations.

Cities with liberal cultures, numerous vegan eateries and markets, health-conscious residents, and strong environmentalism tend to be most conducive to vegan lifestyles. However, even the most vegan-friendly cities have room for progress in accommodating ethical veganism.

As the plant-based movement grows nationwide, we expect more cities will nurture thriving vegan communities. With veganism’s health, environmental, and ethical benefits, US cities have great incentives to expand vegan inclusiveness and acceptance in the coming years.