Folks in Vermont really love pets – more than 70 percent of households in the state own at least one pet, according to the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). On the flip side, Massachusetts residents are apparently less pet-friendly than their neighbors in Vermont – only 50 percent of Massachusetts households include a pet.
The Sourcebook survey is conducted by the AVMA every five years and always includes a breakdown of pet ownership by state. The most recent survey was conducted in 2012 but is based on December 31, 2011 numbers. It was drawn from a national survey of over 50,000 households.
Vermont, where 70.8 percent of households own a pet, led the list of top pet-owning states. It was followed by New Mexico, 67.6 percent; South Dakota, 65.6 percent; Oregon, 63.6 percent; Maine, 62.9 percent; Washington, 62.7 percent; Arkansas, 62.4 percent; West Virginia, 62.1 percent; Idaho, 62 percent; and Wyoming, 61.8 percent.
Massachusetts, where 50.4 percent of households own a pet, topped the list of the lowest pet-owning states. It was followed by New York, 50.6 percent; New Jersey, 50.7 percent; Utah, 51.2 percent; Nebraska, 51.3 percent; Illinois, 51.8 percent; Maryland, 52.3 percent; California, 52.9 percent; and Minnesota, 53 percent. The District of Columbia, incidentally, beat out all the states in pet avoidance – only 21.9 percent of DC residents reported owning a pet.
Other findings from the survey: Six out of ten pet owners say they consider their pets to be family members. Cats are way more popular than dogs – there are about 74.1 million pet cats in the U.S., compared to 70 million pet dogs. And pet owners are willing to spend cash to keep their pets healthy – the average household shelled out about $375 for veterinary expenditures in 2011.