So, today I was putting together a short consumer research blurb about pet ownership and how pets are becoming the “new children”. I 100% consider my two cats to be my kids. My mother gets cards from her grandkitties. I know that’s probably sick and I need help, but we all know that already.
I am a research person, so I will throw out a few quick stats:
77.5 million owned dogs in the U.S.
39% of U.S. households own at least one dog
93.6 million owned cats
33% of households own at least one cat
75.2 million kids aged <18 in the U.S.
34% of households have at least one child present
Pretty similar statistics here. The recession has for the most part, caused people to rethink their family planning. Many are putting off having children until their economic situation improves. I don’t blame them. Kids are expensive, super expensive. The CDC released last month the birth stats from 2009. For the past two years, the birth rate in the U.S. has gone down. It dropped 2.6% in 2009 from the previous year. It seems though in my world, this stat doesn’t hold up. Everyone was popping out babies or will be. I had 5 close friends and two cousins go through pregnancies this year (excluding Mr. & Mrs. CDB, naturally).
Anyway, back to pets. Most everyone I know who has a pet considers the pet to be a member of their family. Two separate polls stated this very thing. Seventy-two percent of one poll has respondents saying their pets are considered family and the other had 86% saying a similar sentiment.
Empty nesters comprise the largest portion of dog owners. Dogs are replacing kids heading off to college or moving out. Many newlyweds get a dog as a pre-cursor to having children. It’s easing responsibility of something else into their lives. People living alone have animals for companionship in a world that is increasingly becoming more isolating due to technology like phones and computers. I definitely talk to my cats when I am home alone, not expecting them to talk back, of course. I may be a little nutty, but I haven’t completely lost it yet.
How can we think our little or big cute furry friends are not family?