Many Americans Are Choosing To Have A Dog Over A Kid - New Study Explains Why

Many Americans Are Choosing To Have A Dog Over A Kid - New Study Explains Why

There is no doubt that dogs (and cats) enhance our lives and are good for our health. While they have always been a part of the family, many Americans are choosing to be pet parents over having kids. A study conducted by market research company, OnePoll, examined 1,000 dog owners across the country to find out why.

While the reasons to adopt a dog may differ among pet parents, all would agree that dogs are less expensive, easier to care for, and allow their humans more time and freedom to do what they like.

The online survey was commissioned by USA TODAY Blueprint who shared that 38% of American are choosing to welcome a dog into their home instead of having a child.


The survey found, "74% of people surveyed who chose a pet over parenthood say cost was a major factor." That may not come as a surprise as the cost of EVERYTHING has increased.

The cost of dog food and vet care have risen but are still lower than the expense of having a child. Having a child or a dog is a big financial responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly.


An astounding 80% of dog parents surveyed are choosing to care for a dog over a child because it is easier. Dogs do require walks, playtime, and attention in addition to food and water. Unlike children, they are happy to do whatever you want and always greet you with a wagging tail.

Dogs love you unconditionally and will not talk back (maybe an occasional bark), which is a huge benefit.

Just like dogs are not for everyone, the same is true for children. "Nearly three-quarters (72%) of people choosing pets over parenthood said children just weren’t for them."

Differences Based on Location

Researchers found the number of pet owners with and without kids varies drastically based on age and location. The younger adults, aged 18-26, make up the highest percentage (67%) of people who are choosing dogs over kids, for now.

The next age bracket of adults 27 to 42 revealed that 43% were pet parents and just 28% were dog owners aged 43 to 58.

What was interesting was that the Northeast has the highest percentage (61%) of dog owners without kids in the country.

Dogs Know Best

Dog owners also shared that when it comes to life decisions, they consider what would be best for Fido. "Nearly 50% of survey respondents said they consider their dog when making career, travel and romantic decisions."

Remember, dogs are good judges of character. Also, for many dog owners it is a deal breaker if their partner does not get along or like their dog. 80% of younger adults surveyed think of their dog when making romantic decisions.

Dogs and children are both lifetime commitments who will bring so much joy and laughter to your life. Whichever decision you make, cherish every moment with all your babies.

Andrea Powell

Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast who resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.

Back to blog