I never would have thought to dig into this topic if a friend from out of state hadn't recently (and quite randomly) asked me if Rockford is a dog or cat town, and what Illinois people prefer to have hanging around the house in the pet category.

I pointed out that I don't have the spare time required to knock on every door in town (or the state, which I think would take longer) and ask to see the resident animals, so instead of that, I would do some digging.

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Yellow Labrador retriever and Maine coon cat cuddling together on a blue couch.
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It Seems As Though Pets Of Any Sort Are Not As Popular In Illinois As They Are In Many Other States

However, I had thought that if asked what percentage of American households have at least one pet, my guess would be at around 75%--which is way off.

The most recent Pet Ownership & Demographic Study by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) shows that about 57% of US households include at least one pet. That study points out that dogs are the most popular pets in the United States, followed closely by cats. This has been true since 1987, and likely since before then, too.

But, pets are more popular in some states than they are in others.

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Illinois Is Among The Least Pet Owning States, Not The Most

According to the AVMA, the top ten states for pet ownership (along with the percentage of households with a pet) are:

  1. Wyoming (72%)
  2. West Virginia (71%)
  3. Idaho (70%)
  4. Vermont (70%)
  5. Indiana (69%)
  6. Arkansas (69%)
  7. Mississippi (66%)
  8. Oklahoma (65%)
  9. Kentucky (64%)
  10. North Dakota (64%)
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Photo taken in Calcutta, India
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And the least:

  1. Georgia (51.1%)
  2. Connecticut (49.9%)
  3. New York (49.7%)
  4. Massachusetts (49.1%)
  5. Illinois (48.6%) 32.4% own a dog, 21% have a cat
  6. Maryland (48.6%)
  7. New Jersey (47.4%)
  8. South Dakota (46.4%)
  9. Rhode Island (45.4%)
  10. District of Columbia (38.2%)

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