Childless Households & Pets: A Very Special Connection

NM PURCH-woman & cat

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 3/4 of American households own a pet. The May 2013 report doesn’t distinguish among owners of dogs, cats, fish or even ferrets, A pet is a pet, and no one has the right to diss the love someone feels for a hamster just because dogs are more popular.

Based on information collected in the BLS Consumer Expenditure (CE) Diary and Interview Surveys from 2007 to 2011, the big reveal is that households with married adults without children living at home spent the most on their pets, $698 on average. That stat includes parents with grown children, not only childless/childfree people, but we’re certainly in the mix.

Is it surprising to hear that in 2011, pet owners spent more on their pets than they spent on alcohol, candy, bread, or even chicken? Anyone who includes an animal in their family knows that there’s no liquor or food that can equal the love of their pet.

The BLS data showed that of all the varying household sizes, a 2-person household ranks highest when it comes to pet-related expenditures. A single person living alone, for example, spent the least on pets, averaging $349 in 2011.  In contrast, a 2-person home spent the most, with an average of $656. (click on image for readability)

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Bottom line? If your friends or family think you’re nuts for using “too much” of your hard-earned money to buy food, toys and comfort items for your pet, you’re not the only one. You may argue with your friends, or feel misunderstood by your family. Your pet is there for you. Always. And how you spend your money is your business.

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