By the end of last year, pet-owning American households had increased by almost 9 million from 2006 to 2016. Packaged Facts estimates there are around 67 million households with pets—that's 55% of all US households. Dogs are the most commonly owned pet, followed by cats, and at much lower rates other types of pets such a fish and birds.
Besides older Americans wanting a furry companion and the younger generation preferring cats to kids, Packaged Facts found that an increase in the number of households with more than one pet has played a key role in maintaining the size of the pet population during the past decade. For example, the number of households with more than one dog grew by five million during this period, compared to an increase of 4.8 million in the number of one-dog households. And beyond merely growing the pet population, owners of multiple dogs in particular are more likely to shop online and splurge on their canines and thus are aiding growth in the retail pet product industry as a whole, according to Packaged Facts.
Another reason for the pet population surge is that Hispanics and multicultural consumers boost ownership of dogs, cats, birds and other animals. Roughly 61% of the growth in the population of dog owners in the past decade came from multicultural population segments. Likewise, the number of Hispanic cat owners increased 71% while the number of non-Hispanic white cat owners was essentially flat. Packaged Facts data also reveals that Hispanics have a substantially above-average likelihood of owning pet birds. Pet ownership has become a marker of increasing acculturation within the Latino population. The vast majority of Latino pet owners in the United States are either US-born or are bilingual or English-dominant foreign-born Latinos. As acculturated Hispanics continue to make up a larger and larger share of the rapidly expanding Hispanic population in the US, the number of Hispanic pet owners likely will continue to grow exponentially.