Vegetarian Profile: Are Vegetarians Unique?

Is there a typical vegetarian profile? Are they a unique group of people that share the same characteristics?

Approximately nine million Americans,(or 4 percent of the population), call themselves vegetarians. Here's what we know from the small amount of research that's been done so far.

A Vegetarian Profile Emerges

Vegetarians May Be More Intelligent

One observational study published in the British Medical Journal says 'yes.' It found that children with a high IQ were more likely to become vegetarians later in life.

"Higher IQ at age ten years was associated with an increased likelihood of being vegetarian at age 30."

They also found that vegetarians were more likely to be female, with a better education and higher occupation than non-vegetarians. The results below from another two surveys seem to back this up.

Most Vegetarians Have Professional or Managerial Positions

Percent of RespondentsOccupation
40 percent Professional or managerial
24 percent Blue-collar workers
16 percent Students
12 percent Homemakers
9 percent Clerical or sales positions

A Higher Percentage of Women are on a Vegetarian Diet

71 percent are women

29 percent are men

The Average Age is 35

The median age of all vegetarians is thirty-five.

Vegetarianism is Not a Fad

Vegetarianism does not appear to be a fad. In fact, eight years was the median length of time that study participants had been vegetarians.

Vegetarianism is Also an Ideology

For most vegetarians, vegetarianism is more than what not to eat: It's an ideology of how life should be lived.

Most Vegetarians Convert for Ethical and Social Concerns

Percent of Respondents Reason(s) for Converting
67 percent Concerned with animal suffering
38 percent Motivated by considerations of health
17 percent Religious reasons
12 percent Distaste for meat
7 percent Personal growth
5 percent Concern about world hunger
3 percent Economic reasons

There's some overlap to the choices above.

From this same survey group, 38 percent were motivated solely by ethical and social concerns, 19 percent for health reasons, and 43 percent for a combination of reasons.

Vegetarians are More "Health Conscious"

In a population-based study in British Columbia (BC), the survey results show vegetarians appear to be more health conscious than non-vegetarians.

We need a lot more research to draw any definitive conclusions about the typical vegetarian profile. The one thing we are sure about is people switch to a vegetarian diet for a number of different reasons. How about you? Share your own reasons for becoming a vegetarian below.

Why Did You Go Vegetarian?

Everyone has a story to tell. What made you switch to a vegetarian diet? Not a vegetarian yet, but thinking about it? Tell us why.

Discover Why Other Visitors Became Vegetarian

Click below to read the profiles and stories shared by other vegetarians.

Compassions for animals  
I am 28 yeas old. I have not eaten meat for 3 years now but I hav'nt eaten red meat for around 13 years. I am vegetarian because I love animals. I think …

I’m vegetarian because I love Animals 
I hate seeing animals suffer. They should be seen as living things not food.

A Healthier Planet 
One of the benefits of going vegetarian or vegan is that these diets are better for our planet. Read what some of our visitors had to say on this topic. …

Compassion for Animals 
The compassion for animals seems to be a driving force for many individuals to convert to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Below are just a few.

Prevent Animal Suffering 
There are many people that transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet because of their love for animals (I'm one of them). Below are just some of them.

For Health Reasons 
The comments below are from people who converted to improve or protect their health.

To Protect Animals 
Below you'll find responses from individuals who transitioned to a vegetarian or vegan diet to protect animals.

I Turned Vegetarian for a Month. Here’s What Happened 
If there were a distinction between a good yogi and a bad one, I would most probably fall into the latter category. After all, I am a wine-drinking, meat-eating …

a brief history... 
My wife and I became vegans when we were in our early 30's after reading "Diet for a new America". Nearly 30 years later we are still vegans. Originally …

I am just converting to Vegetarian, for Health reasons mainly, and I love animals and want help earth 
Hi, my name is Kim Heflin. I have MS, among other diseases. I hate taking all the meds they give me. I was raised a big meat eater mainly fish, family …

many reasons 
I dreamed i was being shot at and i was outraged , then i noticed i was a RABBIT. I stayed 2 weeks with some vege. friends and found their diet perfectly …

Reducing suffering 
Vegetarianism (and later, veganism) for me started about 10 years ago when I was in undergrad. I had been an anti-death penalty advocate since I was 16, …

I began to live a vegetarian lifestyle because of religious reasons, concern for animals and overall health.. 
I became a vegetarian about five years ago; I was motivated by religious/spiritual reasons, overall health benefits and a concern for animals. Through …

I'm a vegetarian because i believe animals should have the right to live and to be happy as we do. 
I became Vegetarian at the age of 11, and I am from a very traditional Hispanic family were eating meat is just the norm. most of my family just thought …

This will probably be an incredibly over simplified version of my vegetarian journey but I will attempt to make it somewhat interesting. As a small …

Click here to write your own.


Jennifer L Bedford and Susan I Barr, Diets and selected lifestyle practices of self-defined adult vegetarians from a population-based sample suggest they are more health conscious

16th Annual Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition, United Soybean Board, 2009

Reed mangels, Virginia Messina, Mark Messina, The Dietitia Guide to Vegetarian Diets 3E

John Lawrence Hill, The case for vegetarianism: philosophy for a small planet

Pratiyogita Darpan, Feb 2007

Marjaana Lindeman and Minna Sirelius, "Food choice ideologies: the modern manifestations of normative and humanist views of the world," Department of Psychology, University of Helsinki

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