Top 10 Vegan Locations, Redux

Earlier this week, I wrote about the Best Places to Live - If You're a Vegan, as compiled by Peta. Portland won the distinction of being the most vegetarian friendly large city in the USA. At the end of my post I indicated that I was surprised by some of the results. Jason of suggested per capita statistics could skew the data one way or the other. That made sense to me. So, now I wanted to know: which city has the greatest concentration of vegans per capita? But how to go about researching this? Enter: Google Trends!

Google Trends is a fairly new component of the Google family of software applications. It tracks the popularity of search terms and ranks them by city, state, country, language, etc. It also graphs the number of searches of the particular searched-for-term and attributes spikes in search activity to specific articles / posts.

And when providing data about a region, Google Trends doesn't just total up the quantity of searches by that region; it grades on a curve... To quote the Google Trends Help page:

"For counting and ranking cities, Google Trends first looks at a sample of all Google searches to determine the cities from which we received the most searches for your first term. Then, for those top cities, Google Trends calculates the ratio of searches for your term coming from each city divided by total Google searches coming from the same city."

So what did I find out? Google Trends won't tell us which city has the largest population of vegans. It tells us which city's or state's population searches for the term "vegan" most, per capita. Here's the list:

1. Portland, OR, USA
2. Pleasanton, CA, USA
3. Seattle, WA, USA
4. New York, NY, USA
5. Irvine, CA, USA
6. Austin, TX, USA
7. Los Angeles, CA, USA
8. Boston, MA, USA
9. San Diego, CA, USA
10. Philadelphia, PA, USA
1. Oregon, United States
2. Washington, United States
3. New York, United States
4. California, United States
5. Massachusetts, United States
6. Utah, United States
7. District of Columbia, United States
8. Maryland, United States
9. Arizona, United States
10. Colorado, United States

So according to Google Trends, over the past 12 months, Portland (as a city) and Oregon (as a state) are the locations in the USA with highest search ranking for the term "vegan." Not quite what I was looking for, but interesting nonetheless.

Extrapolating from that data, it does look like Portland, Oregon is the winner here in the U.S. If you're interested in checking other locations, click on the Google Trends link above and select the location you're inquiring about. Canberra, Australia and Brighton, UK are the winners in their countries. (I didn't look at all their locations, but Nepal and Monaco didn't have enough traffic to warrant a graph.)

I hope I didn't bore you all silly. This kind of stuff is a lot of fun for a "stat head" (read: nerd) like myself. Jane's sitting on the couch rolling her eyes, and I'm off to look at more data from Australia to Zimbabwe.


  1. Nicole Gustas
  2. Franz
  3. Monika
  4. Helaine T. Brown

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