26 Sep 2015

Interest in Veganism is Booming in 2015

Interest in veganism has grown HUGELY over the last few years, and I don't even have to look at the official stats to tell you that. I know from experience. Three years ago, when I was vegetarian, I knew very little about veganism, knew zero vegans, and, admittedly, thought vegans were probably a little crazy. I was just so uneducated about veganism and there wasn't much information out there.

And then suddenly, around 2012, vegans started popping up all over the place. I couldn't hide from it. I tried to, for a little while, but eventually I had to face the facts, do some research, and become vegan myself. And in the almost three years that I've been vegan, I've watched the movement grow at an amazing speed. There are loads of vegan restaurants in my small city now, and even mainstream restaurants and supermarket chains are now offering several vegan options. Now, all of this tells me that veganism is definitely on the rise - but I also have some 'real' statistics to back it up!

"The past five years have shown interest in veganism grow in leaps and bounds."

The Wikipedia article about veganism, linked here, is a great source of information about veganism in general, with all sources well-cited. I tend to check up on it every now and then to see if any new information has been added. The other day, I noticed this (if you can't read it, drag the image to your address bar to see the full sized version):

Isn't it absolutely wonderful to see the word "mainstream" used in an article about veganism? Prior to 2010, veganism had little to no representation in mainstream media. Now, as this article tells us, the past five years have shown interest in veganism grow in leaps and bounds. The following graph details how interest in veganism has changed since 2009, based on visits to Wikipedia's articles about vegetarianism and veganism.

This graph tells us some amazing things. It details, by the thousands, August's monthly click rates for the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 on Wikipedia's pages about vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarianism is represented by a green bar, and veganism is represented by a purple bar. As you can see, interest in veganism and vegetarianism grew substantially in 2013 for English-speaking Wikipedia users. For Spanish-speaking users, interest grew hugely between 2011 and 2013, with veganism being a much more sought-after topic than vegetarianism. And 2014 and 2015, if represented on the graph, would likely show growth even higher.

"The recent growth of interest in veganism is largely because of new media."

The recent growth of interest in veganism, as I see it, is largely because of new media. The internet is a wonderful thing: while it's undoubtedly full of unreliable information, it's also a great source of uncensored truth. Before the rise of the internet, you'd be hard pressed to find any uncensored information about the dairy, egg and meat industries without visiting these places yourself. Back then, these horrors were well-hidden from the mainstream population. But now, the internet has opened up a wealth of information that almost all people can easily find and share. Social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and Reddit have played huge roles, each with their own vegan communities. These communities can share information about animal agriculture, which, thanks to the vastness of social media, will quickly and easily spread across the globe.

Google Trends has also recorded the same rise in interest in veganism over the past few years. Compassion Over Killing has written an article all about it, teamed with a very interesting animation showcasing the increase of searches related to veganism between 2008 and 2013. Below is a graph of Google Trends data representing the increase of interest in veganism between 2004 and 2015. As you can see, between 2004 and 2010, interest in the topic was fairly steady, but rapidly began to increase around 2011. As you can also see, interest is continuing to increase, and Google Trends predicts a further increase in 2016 and beyond. This data is in line with my own observations about the growth of veganism in recent years.

What does all this information tell us? Well, the way I see it, it tells us vegans that we're making a real difference. As interest in veganism spreads around the globe, and as more and more people make the switch, interest will only continue to rise. This information tells us that it's all worth it. We don't have any hard data telling us exactly how many vegans there are in the world - but at least we know that interest is growing and will continue to grow. The more people know about veganism, the more people will make the change. Here's to more vegans and less suffering in 2016 and beyond!