Often people get the terms vegan and vegetarian mixed up. A vegetarian is defined as “a person who does not eat meat : someone whose diet consists wholly of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and sometimes eggs or dairy products,” according to Merriam-Webster. A vegan is described as “a strict vegetarian who consumes no food (such as meat, eggs, or dairy products) that comes from animals.” It is a distinction that many people who eat meat as a matter of course do not understand.
The Vegetarian Resource Group sponsored a survey in 2019, in conjunction with the Harris Poll, of 2,000 U.S. adults age 18 or older and found that 4% identified as vegetarian and 2% as vegan.
To determine the best city for vegans and vegetarians, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data from WalletHub, which evaluated the 100 largest cities in the country using 16 relevant metrics in three key categories:
- Affordability of groceries and restaurant meals
- A combination of diversity, accessibility and quality (including share of restaurants serving vegan and vegetarian options and per capita numbers of salad shops, community gardens and vegetarian cooking classes)
- Vegetarian lifestyle (including number of vegan and vegetarian meetups per capita)
The West Coast is strongly represented on the list of finalists, with Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the top five. Orlando and, in somewhat of a surprise, Boise, round out the top quintet. But in any city here, you can find a delicious plant-based meal when you want to go meatless, even for a day.
The best city for vegans and vegetarians is Portland, Oregon. On affordability, it ranked 29th best out of the 100 cities. For diversity, accessibility and quality, it came in third best.