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Five Trends About American Pet Owners

Posted On October 23, 2018

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Nearly half of US households have a pet, but we have few data on pet ownership and how it may interact with housing and demographic trends. While working with data from the 2017 American Housing Survey (AHS), we housing finance researchers were surprised to come across a question about pets; specifically whether respondents would need help with their pets in case of a disaster.

Three possible answers were offered: “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t have pets.” We were intrigued to have new data that reveal the characteristics of households with pets.

The answers don’t tell us the type of pet (dog, cat, ferret), and there is no definition for what people may include as a pet—some may consider their goldfish a pet, while others might not. But because the same question was asked in 2013, we can construct a short time series and start to understand trends in pet ownership.

We noticed five interesting trends.