Which U.S. States are the Most “Vegan?” [A 2021 Study]

Veganism has gained a lot of support in America in the last 20 years, with many people making that lifestyle change for both health and ethical reasons. 

As with most human behavior changes, trends towards veganism have been very different from state to state.

That’s why we had our team focus on researching and gathering data from all 50 states to come up with a definitive list of the most vegan states of 2021.

How Did We Rate Each State?

Our research approach focused on four indicators that we measured for every state, and with that complete data set, we could then rank all 50 states.

1. Vegan Population per Capita

To assess the vegan population of a state, we looked at online search trends published by Google. 

We measured the average monthly search volume for the phrase “vegan restaurants” for each state, as this is the clearest indication of how interested the local population is in vegan dining. 

The final step in this research involved weighing the search volume of each state on a per 1 million people basis to achieve a data set that allowed for clear comparison and ranking. 

2. Number of Vegan Restaurants

The second most important data point in this research involved gathering details about the total number of dedicated vegan restaurants in each state. 

Our team approached this using online resources to gather details from Google Maps, HappyCow.com, and Yelp.com. 

The critical part of this research was that we strictly focused on vegan restaurants and excluded vegetarian ones where we would have had to make subjective decisions about how vegan each restaurant was. 

Weighing the number of restaurants against the population provided a clear objective ranking. 

3. Number of Vegan Meetup Groups

The third part of our research data looked at how many vegan meetup groups are registered in every state to gauge how active the vegan population is in promoting this lifestyle. 

We were able to quantify this data by using online resources at Meetup.com and Google search, which proved to be the most reliable sources. 

In order to be able to compare states of different sizes, we also weighted the data per 1 million people. 

4. Number of Animal Welfare Groups

And finally, we looked at how many animal welfare groups were registered in each state as an indicator of people’s support for animal rights. 

Google Maps proved to have the most reliable information about animal welfare groups and shelters. 

The final step was again to weigh this number per 1 million people to make a comparison between states possible. 

The Top 10 Vegan States in America

1. Nevada

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 942 per 1 million people 

• Vegan Restaurants: 14 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 8 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 4 per 1 million people

The most significant driving factor for Nevada achieving the top ranking came down to very strong growth in search traffic among the local population. And once we added a fourth-place ranking for the number of vegan dining options, we got data that put Nevada marginally ahead of California.

2. California

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 838 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 11 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 6 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 3 per 1 million people

With a slightly lower search volume, and a number of vegan restaurants per 1 million people than Nevada, California still ranks very high with a growing trend in both data sets.

It’s also a state that has a lot to offer vegans who want to grow their circle of vegan friends through organized meetup groups. 

3. Oregon

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 688 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 16 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 5 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 21 per 1 million people

Oregon has a solid ranking in the top 5 for search volume, but it was the third-place ranking for vegan restaurants that pushed it up into the overall third place. 

The one area where there seems to be the most opportunity to gain some rankings is through organized meetup groups. 

4. Hawaii

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 622 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 19 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 18 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 40 per 1 million people

The data point that stood out the most for Hawaii is the density of restaurants. It seems like both locals and people vacationing on the islands have a significant demand for vegan dining experiences. 

Combined with the eighth-place finish for the number of people using vegan search terms, the data supported a strong overall ranking. 

5. New York

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 622 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 9 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 6 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 4 per 1 million people

One thing we noted during our research is that NYC has the highest density of vegan restaurants. However, that density doesn’t continue throughout the state.

The strong overall search trends have supported a top 5 finish for NY, and there are many active meetup groups to find more like-minded people. 

6. New Jersey

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 405 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 29 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 16 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 17 per 1 million people

What stands out the most for New Jersey is that despite only ranking in 18th place for local search trends, it’s the highest-ranked state for the selection of vegan restaurants. 

With 29 vegan dining choices per 1 million people, New Jersey is well ahead of second-place Hawaii with 19 restaurants. 

7. Maryland

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 480 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 11 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 22 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 22 per 1 million people

Maryland made it to the top 10 due to good supporting search trends and choice of restaurants. It stands out on this list, especially when you consider the small population size. 

We also found that it’s one of the better places to get involved with meetup groups and animal rights support groups.

8. Arizona

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 742 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 5 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 5 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 16 per 1 million people

The surprising fact about Arizona’s data points is that it ranks in fourth place for search trends but only in 24th place for the density of vegan restaurants. 

That would suggest that there is significant scope for more vegan dining options to open up and support that growing search trend. 

9. Massachusetts

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 421 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 10 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 14 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 12 per 1 million people

Opposite to Arizona’s data, Massachusetts is one of the top-ranking states for the selection of dedicated vegan restaurants, but it only ranks in 17th place for Google searches.

Massachusetts also ranks very high when it comes to animal welfare activity and meetup groups throughout the state. 

10. Michigan

Quick Facts:

• Vegan Population: 441 per 1 million people

• Vegan Restaurants: 9 per 1 million people

• Vegan Meetup Groups: 4 per 1 million people

• Animal Welfare Groups: 4 per 1 million people

The 10th place is another well-deserved one with a good combination of high search trends and the number of vegan restaurants. 

But what stood out more for us was the very high fourth place for both the number of animal welfare and meetup groups available. 

Here’s the full list of all 50 states in order:

  1. Nevada
  2. California
  3. Oregon
  4. Hawaii
  5. New York
  6. New Jersey
  7. Maryland
  8. Arizona
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Michigan
  11. Virginia
  12. Florida
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Colorado
  15. Georgia
  16. Utah
  17. Washington
  18. Vermont
  19. Illinois
  20. New Mexico
  21. Delaware
  22. Texas
  23. North Carolina
  24. Connecticut
  25. Pennsylvania
  26. New Hampshire
  27. Minnesota
  28. Ohio
  29. South Carolina
  30. Tennessee
  31. Missouri
  32. West Virginia
  33. Louisiana
  34. Maine
  35. Indiana
  36. Wisconsin
  37. Idaho
  38. Nebraska
  39. Kentucky
  40. Kansas
  41. Oklahoma
  42. Iowa
  43. Montana
  44. Arkansas
  45. Mississippi
  46. Wyoming
  47. Alabama
  48. South Dakota
  49. Alaska
  50. North Dakota

Best States by Category

A detailed look at each set of data points provides some interesting insights into where each state is performing particularly well. 

The following is the detailed ranking for the four data sets we analyzed. 

Best U.S. States for Vegan Restaurants

These are the ten best states for the number of vegan restaurants to choose from. 

  1. New Jersey
  2. Hawaii
  3. Oregon
  4. Nevada
  5. California
  6. Maryland
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Rhode Island
  9. Virginia
  10. Michigan

While California has the highest total number available in very densely populated areas like LA and the Bay Area, it’s New Jersey that has set a new mark for the availability of vegan restaurants per capita. 

U.S. States with Highest Vegan Population per Capita

This is the list of states with the highest Google searches for “vegan restaurants” per 1 million people. 

  1. Nevada
  2. California
  3. Colorado
  4. Arizona
  5. Oregon
  6. Texas
  7. New York
  8. Hawaii
  9. Washington
  10. Florida

There are a few surprises in there, including Texas, which would be more famous for traditional BBQs. With Texas not on the top 10 list for vegan restaurants, that could be a good indication that the vegan population per capita has outgrown the number of available vegan restaurants. 

Best U.S. States for Vegan Meetup Groups

Here is the list of U.S. states based on the number of meetup groups per capita.

  1. Delaware
  2. Rhode Island
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Hampshire
  5. Vermont
  6. Maryland
  7. Maine
  8. Hawaii
  9. New Jersey
  10. Massachusetts

The overall rankings favor some of the smaller states, but it’s a good indication that residents of less densely populated states have become a lot more active in getting organized and spreading the lifestyle.

Best U.S. States for Animal Welfare Groups

Based on our research it looks like a lot of the smaller states seem to be leading the way when it comes to providing animal welfare services.

  1. Delaware
  2. South Dakota
  3. North Dakota
  4. Vermont
  5. Rhode Island
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Wyoming
  8. Alaska
  9. Idaho
  10. West Virginia

What surprised us the most about Delaware is that the state has almost twice as many animal welfare groups per capita as second-ranked South Dakota.

Written by: Total Shape

Stressed? Here are 5 Ways to Feel Better in 5 Minutes

School, work, relationships, bills, everyday life events, and long to-do lists. Things that can make us feel stressed and overwhelmed throughout our day.

Our stress is at an all-time high, not to mention we are still in the middle of a global pandemic while reacclimating to normal life. It’s important to take care of your mental health.

Here are 5 easy tips you can take to help with your stress and bring some calm back into your life:

  • Focus on your breathing
    According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) taking deep breaths is important for working your flight-or-fight response.
    • Set a timer for two minutes
    • Take a deep breath through your nose while counting to four
    • Hold your breath seven seconds
    • Exhale for eight seconds
    • Repeat the process for the whole two minutes

Photo Credit: Sage Friedman
  • Take a break from your phone
    Constantly checking your phone for and scrolling social media can overwhelm you. Unplugging for at least an hour a day to do some deep breathing, exercising, coloring or another activity can help you in reducing stress.

    Just because you are taking a break from your phone, does not give you permission to hop on social media via your laptop or turning on the news. Take a complete break from the screen.

    Also, to help with managing notifications on your phone, check out my article on focus mode from iOS 15. 

Photo Credit: Yahdi Romelo
  • Go outside for a walk
    Getting fresh air is important. According to the American Heart Association, “Nature presents scenes that gently capture your attention instead of suddenly snatching it, calming your nerves instead of dazzling them.”

    So go for a walk around the neighborhood with your favorite playlist on or you can go on a walk without your playlist and enjoy the scenes around you, being present and aware of everything around you. From the birds chirping to the sound of the tree branches moving from the wind.

    Moving your body is important during times of stress because you are keeping the tension in by sitting there feeling stressed.
  • Connect
    Connecting with people you trust is important to discuss your concerns and how you’re feeling. This could be your friends, family, or even a therapist. SDSU offers an option where you can connect with a therapist, more information on that can be found here.

Photo Credit: ​​Friends by Helena Lopes
  • Make time to unwind
    At the end of a busy workday, be sure to take 60 minutes for yourself to unwind at the end of the night. This could include journaling, coloring, watching an episode of your favorite tv show to laugh at, or reading a book. When you make time for yourself, your body will respond accordingly.

Photo Credit: Jess Bailey on Unsplash

A friendly reminder to also be sure to eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of sleep (7-8 hours) each night.

Written By: Mike Stark | @MikeStarkCA

What You Should Know About COVID-19

With high concern and hysteria filling our news feeds, it is important to address the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease, 2019).

In regard to, San Diego State University all university study abroad programs to China, South Korea, and Italy have been cancelled. Since there are confirmed cases in San Diego, certain institutions have decided to do virtual classes as an extra precaution. On March 12th, 2020 the entire student body received word that classes will be shifting online after March 13th, 2020. More information is provided here regarding SDSU.

COVID-19 Myths

Since this virus seemed to take a racial turn, I just wanted to address that a virus cannot infect a particular race or ethnicity. Infections and diseases are essentially a great equalizer because anyone can get them. Also, I am not sure if this was a joke, but coronavirus has nothing to do with corona beer.

The Science Behind It

Coronavirus is a disease that came from an animal source. Check out this video to get more of an explanation of the transmission. This new coronavirus is different strand that is my lethal. Since this virus is different, research is currently being done. Currently, we are in a period of uncertainty which is mostly causing this hysteria. COVID-19 is easily transmittable as it is a respiratory illness, and the illness is transferred by respiratory droplets.

The symptoms for COVID-19 may be fever, cough, and shortness of breath (CDC, 2020). Those symptoms may occur 2 – 14 days after exposure, however, if you feel that you have been exposed it is important to call before you go to warn your medical provider and make sure they have the proper tests for COVID-19.

Moving on, these groups are at high risk if exposed to the virus: older adults, individuals with chronic diseases and compromised immune systems.

Ways to Stay Safe

Here are a few ways to help prevent the spread, according to the CDC (2020):

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces

Finally, some takeaways are 1) stop being racist, because viruses can not target one race or ethnicity. 2) this coronavirus strand is new so stay up to date with information. 3) Take precautions and for the love of all that is good cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve not just your hands.

Taken from @courtneyahndesign

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, February 13). Coronavirus. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/index.html

Written by: Jasmine Alexander

In the Pink: Breaking Up with my GPA

Graduating with high GPA

I’m breaking up with my GPA.

And let me be clear, I am not breaking up with a 1.4 GPA in pursuit of a higher grade point average. The sentiment is quite the opposite. This 3.75 that I’ve spent the last 5 years raising and maintaining is no longer serving me, so I’m letting it go.

I’ve been in college for much longer than I could have ever guessed. For some context, I was raised with the assumption that I was going to graduate from high school, get a bachelor’s degree in four tough, but rewarding years, and then dive into the workforce with the grace of an Olympian. I graduated high school and that’s where my expectations end.

I immediately began attending a four-year university after high school. And despite being the first in my family to move out in pursuit of an education, I didn’t think twice about it. I soon learned, however, that at 18, I was too young, inexperienced and insecure to live away from my family. After bouncing around community colleges, I found the perfect one, switched majors at least six times, and then I finally transferred to San Diego State University.

During those confusing, sometimes paralyzing, but mostly busy years in community college, my GPA probably fluctuated as much as my weight. I would fall into bouts of depression, eat entire boxes of pizza to myself, wear the same clothes for days, skip weeks of classes at a time and fail exams. Listen, I’m an “A” student. It’s not a humble brag or a point of pride. It’s just true. When I’m not in the middle of a crippling depressive episode, I pass my classes with flying colors and get all As. So when I started collecting Cs and Fs, it was a nightmare. I just kept thinking I need to get better so I can fix my grades. I need to undo this damage.

When I was mentally healthy again, I worked my tailbone off to raise my GPA by taking as many units as I could and throwing myself into my school work while simultaneously working for the school paper, radio station or theater department. I came to learn that while it was comically easy for my GPA to fall, hoisting it back up to its shiny glory required an unfair amount of effort. I needed to ace like three or four classes to balance out one bad grade.

I went into the ring with my low GPA, touched gloves and upon hearing the bells, fought. And hard. I was bloodied, exhausted and covered in bruises throughout the entire process, but I came out on top. My GPA was rising. As an outsider looking in, doesn’t that sound honorable? I stayed up late, woke up early and dedicated every hour of every day to school. I was the epitome of a good student. I had been before, from kindergarten through high school and I’d finally found my way back. It’s inspiring, right?

That’s where I’m not so sure anymore.

I got good grades and a GPA worthy of acceptance offers from all the universities I applied to. But I never got to see my family.

I lived with them, yet never saw them or spent time with them for almost two years because I spent about 12 hours at school every day; I had more mental breakdowns than I can count on my fingers. I would sob during the nights, overwhelmed by the amount of responsibilities I had. Ask my boyfriend how many times I screamed at him the night before an exam, just sobbing that I needed to get a good grade while losing my mind. The stress was like a bubbling tea kettle that would scream every few weeks and I would lash out on those closest to me because I genuinely thought it was the end of the world if I got a B; I even began flirting with suicidal inclinations. Fortunately, I never got to the point where I considered it thoroughly. But nearly every time I drove away from school at 9 p.m. after being there all day for class and running the radio station or rehearsing for a play, I would stare at the freeway’s center divider and fantasize about swerving into it. It’s sick. I was sick. But I kept thinking No one can be mad at me for not completing my responsibilities if I’m dead.

I was so very miserable, I was crying almost every night. Although I wish I was writing this in retrospect, I’m still in school, still taking on more than I can chew, still desperate to keep raising my 3.75 GPA to something even higher. Why?? For what?? Nothing logical, if I’m being honest with myself. I just foster an unhealthy obsession with getting good grades because people expect it of me and I want people to be proud. I still cry until I pass out some nights and even though I don’t look at center dividers with the same worrisome notion as before, I often find myself wishing I could disappear.

The craziest part is, the lowest my GPA ever got was a 3.3. Yes, I went through all that because my GPA “tanked” to a 3.3. I have a warped perception of what a crisis is. Clearly, since I was more worried about a B than the fact that I wanted to crash on the freeway.

So I’m breaking up with my holy GPA.

I’m going to do my assignments, I’m going to study and I’m going to try really hard, but friends, believe me when I say, I am not going to try my best. It’s controversial and counter intuitive. Why am I paying tuition if I’m not willing to give it 100%? I’ve learned that doing my best means neglecting every other part of my life and I’ve tried that for too long. That method gives me amazing grades, praise from professors and fantasies of dying. No more, I can’t take it; I’m done with that. Instead, I’m going to search for balance and a middle ground.

I’m well aware that my GPA might lower. Good. It’s not worth the price. And maybe, just maybe, my happiness might rise in exchange.

Written by: Monica Vigil
Seeing as to how it is officially Spring Break for San Diego State University, and therefore, KCR, we will be taking a week off to allow our staff to rest and recharge. Rest assured, your regularly scheduled content will resume again the following Monday!