With COVID-19 lockdowns, stress, and anxiety, people have started to feel lonely and in need of a companion. Since pets are a perfect choice for helping their owners feel less lonely and stressed out, the pandemic resulted in a much higher number of pet adoptions than before.
2020 saw a massive increase in adoptions, and new results show that numbers are still increasing.
In a study done in 2021, 14% of the study participants said that they had adopted a pet during the COVID-19 pandemic, while this was true for only 10% of surveyed people at the end of 2020.
Even though 14% is the average number of new pet owners, the numbers differ significantly among different groups. For example, based on the pet owners’ generation, the numbers are the following:
- Baby boomers — 5% increase
- Generation X — 13% increase
- Millennials — 24% increase
- Gen Z — 26% increase
Based on the location, the numbers also vary. So, while pet ownership in urban areas increased by 20%, suburban areas had an 11% increase, and rural areas had an increase of 13%.
Moreover, when looking at annual income, there are no surprises — the highest-earning group had the largest growth in pet ownership.
More precisely, 18% more of those that earn more than $100,000 adopted a new pet, while the same is true for 12% of those earning less than $50,000 per year. Those in the middle, earning $50,000–$100,000, had a 16% increase in pet ownership.
Also, 25% more of families with children adopted a pet during the pandemic, while this was true for only 9% of families without kids.
This increase is significant for raising awareness of pet adoption because, in the pre-pandemic times, only around 25% of dogs and 24% of cats got adopted.
Although there was this huge increase in pet ownership, it’s important to note that there are some negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some owners couldn’t take care of their pets and were obliged to give them up, but these numbers were much lower.