Eco-Friendly Parents and Pet Parents

of two

Eco-Friendly Parents: Demographic Analysis

While there was very limited information on the demographics of eco-friendly parents in the United States, the research team used the available information on the demographics of eco-friendly consumers to provide a proxy analysis: A typical eco-friendly American parent is likely to be a white millennial with high income and education levels.


  • While a Hitwise research found that the eco-friendly audience is more likely to be older than 45 years, a report by The Toy Association suggests that it is millennial parents who are more inclined towards eco-friendly products.
  • According to research by ProdigyWorks and The Toy Association, millennial parents' preference for sustainable products is a reflection of the generation's "values to live more sustainably."
  • The IISD report corroborates the findings by The Toy Association by stating that most eco-friendly Americans who are young adults being influenced by their children.

Location and Ethnicity

  • According to Hitwise, Massachusetts and Maryland were the states with the highest numbers of green consumers. Assuming that the number of green parents is directly proportional to the overall number green consumers, then these states would be among the top locations for eco-friendly parents.
  • According to World Population Review, Maryland and Massachusetts are both predominantly White states, which could be an indication that the majority of eco-friendly parents are white. Also, the majority of the population in both states live in urban areas.


  • According to The Balance SMB, 81% U.S. families with children purchase organic food at least periodically.
  • According to the Hitwise survey, 81% of the audience that identify as eco-friendly, including parents with children, make an effort to recycle with 72% feeling obligated to do so.
  • They also showed a fondness for technology and, surprisingly, most (60%) like to drive, which conflicts with their eco-friendly lifestyle.

Education and Income

  • Based on data by several reports, including one from Nielsen, it is apparent that eco-friendly products are more expensive than conventional goods, and eco-friendly consumers have to pay more. Thus, eco-friendly parents would have to be high-income Americans to afford eco-friendly products for themselves and their children.
  • According to data by the Current Population Survey, the higher the education level, the higher the income level in the United States. That would mean that eco-friendly parents are likely to be moderately to highly educated.
  • The IISD report corroborates these assumptions by stating that most green consumers have high spending abilities and are intellectual/highly educated. Notably, the BioResources study conducted in Turkey also had similar findings.


Our initial research for the demographics of eco-friendly parents in the United States began by scouring through the public domain for any reports, articles, studies, or publications that could directly provide insights into the average age, lifestyle, education, income, location in the U.S., and ethnicity of the typical eco-friendly parent. Our efforts produced various reports that provided high-level insights that could be used to triangulate the age, lifestyle, and location of eco-friendly parents - from resources such as Hitwise (an online analytics site), The Toy Association (a nonprofit), and The Balance SMB (an entrepreneurship-focused site). However, these resources did not provide enough information that could enable us to build a robust analysis. Also, the information on the ethnicity of eco-friendly parent was unavailable.

We continued our research targeting research and survey resources such as Mintel, Nielsen, and Pew Research, among others. We also looked at eco-focused analytics resources such as the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Environment America, as well as environment-focused publications such as The Ecologist. Additionally, the research explored publications that provided research reports or scientific journals. Our hope was that these resources had conducted research on the subject and/or provided information on related research that could provide relevant insights. While our efforts produced reports from Nielsen, SurveyMonkey, and others, they focused on sustainability practices among millennials as well as inter-generational comparisons. Notably, we found an older report by the IISD that provided a high-level overview that corroborated the information provided by the resources discovered in our first strategy, and added insights on the income and education levels. We found a relevant identical report from scientific journals (ResearchGate and BioResources), but they were for a study conducted in Turkey.

Next, the research team focused on exploring parenting/family-focused sites such as CafeMom and Babble, as well as parenting magazines including Parents Magazine. These resources only provided advice on how to develop and sustain eco-friendly parenting. We also looked for any reports from marketing analytics/news resources such as Adweek and Adage in the hope that they had provided insights on the demographic of eco-friendly parents for the benefit of marketers. We could only find information on the consumer preference for sustainable products, especially among millennial consumers.

Therefore, the research team decided to build/triangulate a proxy analysis of the demographic profile of the typical eco-friendly parent in the United States using the information on the demographic of eco-friendly Americans from the available resources on eco-friendly consumerism; though, high-level at most points. Due to the limited data, we have also included insights from the older IISD report to bolster our useful findings.

Unfortunately, there was no information on the ethnicity of eco-friendly parents and we made assumptions using the triangulated information on the location of eco-friendly parents. It is possible that research on the subject has not been conducted since, as Hitwise reports, eco-friendly consumers are "less likely to be parents, with only 38% having one or more children."
of two

Pet Parents: Demographic Analysis

Millennials and Baby Boomers make a third each of all pet owners. The median income of a pet owner is $55,000. A higher percentage of Caucasians and rural residents are likely to own pets.


  • Thirty-five percent of pet owners in the United States are Millennials, 32% are Baby Boomers, and 33% are from across other generations.
  • The rate of pet-ownership among individuals aged 45-54 is the highest (57.4%); however, those aged 18-34 have the most pets simply because they are greater in number.
  • According to Mintel, 75% of individuals in their 30s own dogs and 51% own cats.
  • Seventy-two percent of all Millennials own a pet.
  • Forty-three percent of Millennials who do not currently own a pet say they want one in the future.
  • The pet-ownership rate among individuals aged 70+ increased from 34% to 40% over the last decade.
  • The average age of a cat owner is 55 to 64 years and that of a dog owner is 45 to 54 years.
  • The average age of a pet owner is 48 years.


  • Millennials are replacing babies with cats and dogs, they are more educated about the nutritional needs of their pet, and are willing to spend more on premium natural food products.
  • According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, young pet owners are "more likely to say money is no object when it comes to their pets".
  • Younger millennials ($173.67/ month) spend more than double those aged 55+ ($80.43/month).
  • Millennials are more likely to use veterinary products to prevent disease than only for treatment. They are more likely to get dental rinses done, use products continuously, and follow the vet's advice as a conscientious pet parent.
  • The Millennial generation has a home-ownership rate that is 8% lesser than Generation X.
  • Two in three family households own a pet versus 46.6% non-family households.
  • The majority of pet parents see their pets as family: 85% dog owners, 76% cat owners, 57% bird owners, and 47% horse owners.
  • Over four in five (80%) pet owners say that “companionship, love, company, affection” are the positives of owning a pet.
  • According to the American Housing Survey, between 2013 and 2017, the share of households with pets increased from 49.2% to 50% and the share of households with at least one child younger than 18 years dipped from 28.6% to 27%.


  • The education level breakup of pet owners: high school or general educational development (11.2%), College or a 2-year degree (31.8%), 4-year degree (28.6%), graduate degree (26.6%), and others (1.7%).

Marital Status

  • Married adults (57%) are more likely to be pet owners than single individuals (42.9%).

Home Ownership

  • Home-owners (57%) are more likely than renters (37%) to own pets.


  • The median income of a pet-owning household is $55,000, similar to that of the average household in America.
  • The average income of a cat owner ($40,000-$49,999) is lesser than that of a dog owner ($75,000-$99,999).


  • In areas with a population of 100,000 or lesser, 67.1% owned pets versus 51.6% in areas with a population of over 2 million.
  • Rural states had a higher rate of pet ownership compare to urban states.
  • States with the highest per ownership:
    • Wyoming (72%)
    • West Virginia (71%)
    • Nebraska (70%)
    • Vermont (70%)
    • Idaho (70%)
    • Indiana (69%)
    • Arkansas (69%)
    • Mississippi (65%)
    • Oklahoma (65%)
    • Colorado (65%)
  • States with the lowest pet ownership:
    • Rhode Island (45%)
    • South Dakota (46%)
    • New York (50%)
    • New Jersey (47%)
    • Maryland (49%)
    • Illinois (49%)
    • Massachusetts (49%)
    • Connecticut (50%)
    • Georgia (51%)
    • New Hampshire (52%)


  • The rate of pet ownership is highest among White households (64.7%), followed by Hispanic households (64.1%), and lowest among African-American households (36.9%).
  • According to a report by Petfood Industry, 70% of Caucasians, 69% of Hispanics, 44% of African Americans, and 43% of Asians in the United States, own at least one pet.
  • Second and third-generation Hispanics own most of the pets among the Hispanic community.
  • The share of white households with pets (57.9%) is significantly greater than the share of white households with at least one child younger than 18 years (23.1%).

Research Strategy

In order to find the education level of pet owners, we first searched the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as it publishes demographic data on pet ownership. While the AVMA made other demographic information public, it did not provide any educational level data. Next, we searched for any reports published by industry players and research studies examining pet ownership. However, the sources we found were either older than two years or only covered other demographic information. Lastly, we searched for media sources-- media sources often make references to other studies and surveys-- such as CBS and Forbes as pet-ownership is largely prevalent in America and important to its residents. While there is a lot of coverage on pet-ownership the demographic information is limited to other variables like ethnicity, location, and income. Given these limitations, we used the sample from an older study.

From Part 02
  • "Regarding the demographics of pet owners, pet ownership is higher in less populous areas and in family households. In areas with fewer than 100,000 people, 67.1 percent of people own pets. In areas with 2 million or more people, 51.6 percent of people own pets. Two-thirds of family households own pets, compared with 46.6 percent of nonfamily households."
  • "Among racial and ethnic groups, the highest rate of pet ownership was in white households, at 64.7 percent, with Latino or Hispanic households next, at 61.4 percent. The lowest rate was in African-American households, at 36.9 percent."
  • "Household income for pet-owning households was similar to income across all households. Half of pet-owning households reported incomes of $55,000 or higher, compared with 48 percent of all households."
  • "Finally, many pet owners view their pets as part of the family. Broken out, 85 percent of dog owners and 76 percent of cat owners consider their pet to be a member of the family. The same is true for 57 percent of the owners of pet birds and 47 percent of the owners of pet horses."
  • "Pet ownership is highest in more rural states. The 10 states that had the highest percentage of pet-owning households in 2016 were: Wyoming (72%) West Virginia (71%) Nebraska (70%) Vermont (70%) Idaho (70%) Indiana (69%) Arkansas (69%) Mississippi (65%) Oklahoma (65%) Colorado (65%)"
  • "Pet ownership is generally lower in urban states. The 10 states with the lowest percentage of pet-owning households were: Rhode Island (45%) South Dakota (46%) New York (50%) New Jersey (47%) Maryland (49%) Illinois (49%) Massachusetts (49%) Connecticut (50%) Georgia (51%) New Hampshire (52%)"