A survey by the research firm Mintel reveals that three-fourths of Americans in their 30's own dogs and just over half own cats. While millennials are delaying such things as marriage/living with a partner and parenthood, this is all being translated to higher rates of pet ownership among this demographic.

Millennial men are more likely than women to own pets with 71% of men between the ages of 18-34 owning dogs compared 62% of women. More importantly, these animals, which require time, effort, and money, are seemingly becoming replacements for children among millennials:

“When you’re preparing for your first child, you’re reading all the books, doing all the research,” said Nathan Richter, 36, a partner at Wakefield Research, a market research firm in Arlington. “That’s how millennials are approaching pet ownership.”

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