Survey examines US pet ownership demographics

OppLoans, an online lending company, surveyed US pet owners across all 50 states to determine how much they were spending on pets.

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OppLoans, an online lending company officially called Opportunity Financial, surveyed US pet owners across all 50 states to determine how much they were spending on their pets per month.

The company surveyed more than 1,000 pet owners in the US and broke down the results based on type of pet, state of residence (including Washington, D.C.), age, gender and more.

The survey found that Americans spend an average of about US$126.19 on their pets every month, but spending by state varied.

At an average of US$311.90 per month, the results shows that Delaware pet owners spend the most on their pets. Pet owners in Idaho spent the least on their pets, keeping pet costs down to just US$20 per month. A breakdown of spending by state is available in the full report.

Spending based on types of pets

OppLoans found that on average, dog owners spend more than cat owners, but owners of small mammals (guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils) spend more than dog and cat owners combined. Fish and rabbits make the cheapest pets, followed closely by mice and rats.

The survey offers a breakdown of all the data by animal:

  • Small mammals: US$251.82/month
  • Dogs: US$139.80/month
  • Reptiles or Turtles: US$116.63/month
  • Birds: US$113.89/month
  • Cats: US$92.98/month
  • Mice or Rats: US$80/month
  • Rabbits: US$65/month
  • Fish: US$62.53/month
  • Other: US$351.67/month

The “Other” category most likely refers to exotic pets that are more expensive to own than conventional pets.

Pet ownership by gender

The company also broke the results down by gender, and it seems that American women spend less than men do on their pets. On average, women spend US$116.61 every month on their animals, while men spend US$136.99—$20 more.

The survey notes that the disparity in animal spending between men and women may be a result of many things. After all, men still make more money on average, which may mean they’re more likely to own more expensive pets.

Pet ownership by relationship status

The survey also found that a pet owner’s relationship status may effect how much money that person spends on his or her pets.

The survey studied spending habits of people who were married, single, divorced, separated, widowed, and living with a partner. Here are the results from highest to lowest spenders:

  • Married: US$132.36/month
  • Single: US$128.73/month
  • Living with partner: US$124.30/month
  • Widowed: US$105.75/month
  • Divorced: US$102.40/month
  • Separated: US$69/month

Interestingly, the survey also measured spending of Android and iPhone users, finding that iPhone users spend more on their pets:

  • iPhone users: US$157.14/month
  • Android users: US$136.03/month

Pet ownership by age: younger millennials take the lead 

According to the survey, millennials ages 18-24 outspend all other age groups on their pets with an average of US$173.67. Pet owners ages 25-34 came in second at US$141.50. Here’s the breakdown of spending by age:

  • 18-24: $173.67/month
  • 25-34: $141.50/month
  • 35-44: $107.85/month
  • 45-54: $102.99/month
  • 55 and up: $80.43/month
  • 14-17: $73/month

Geographical oddities in US pet ownership

In its development, the survey also discovered some fun, state-specific animal spending facts.

For example, people in Washington, D.C. spend more on their dogs than people in any other state, with US$270/month. Pet owners in Ohio spend the most on their fish, with US$288/month. Pet owners in Delaware spend US$566.44/month on their cats, more than any other state. Texans spend the most on birds, at US$200/month, and on reptiles, at US$350/month. Rabbit owners in Florida spend US$150/month on their critters.

Massachusetts spends the most on small mammals, with US$975/month, and New Mexicans spend the most on mice and rats: US$150/month. Arguably the most interesting find was that pet owners in Cleveland spend US$1,500 on the exotic “other” category.

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