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OnePoll conducted a survey on behalf of ConsumerAffairs that looked into Gen Z’s decision to own pets instead of having children. The poll showed that many from the generation did not want to have children. About 7 in 10 stated that they would prefer to adopt a pet.

Americans loved their pets more than some of their family members

However, the poll of 1000 pet owners showed that Gen Z wasn’t the only generation with a preference for animals. Millennials were also choosing to have pets over children. About 57% admitted to loving their pets more than their siblings. Another 50% said they preferred pets over their mothers, while 30% loved them more than their significant others.

About 81% of millennial pet owners stated that they loved their pets more than one of their family members. This sentiment was less likely to be held by Gen X (76%) and Baby Boomers (77%). Interestingly, dog owners were less likely to have this opinion (83%) than cat owners (85%).

While millennials were more likely than Gen Z to want children, about 58% said they would rather than pets. This was higher than 48% of Gen X who wanted children.

Millennials spend the most money on their pets

Although millennials were less likely than Gen Z to want pets over children, they spent more money caring for their animals. The average millennial set aside $216 for their pets’ expenses. From this money, they spent about $198. Gen X set a lower budget at $161 and usually spent $141.

Approximately 60% of millennial pet owners felt they could afford life-saving treatment for their pets. Another 1 in 4 admitted they were willing to sell off possessions like their cars to meet their pets’ medical needs.

Other items they would sell include their laptops (41%) and their TVs (43%). Other pet owners would even find a second job to pay their pets’ bills (49%). If things got too complicated, some pet owners were comfortable starting a GoFundMe page (46).

The researchers also found that Maine was the best state for pet owners. This was because it had the best ratio of pet owners to veterinarians. It also had a high number of dog parks.