Skeptics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for scientific skepticism. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

David Brooks, in his article published today in The New York Time, has claimed "There are now more American houses with dogs than with children."

I seriously doubt this claim is true, especially after having considered that the word "child" means a person between birth and 12 year old.

So, my question is if the above claim is true or not.

share|improve this question
78.2 million dogs Vs 62.8 million children (age: 0-14 years) – Oliver_C Nov 16 '12 at 16:19
Yes @Oliver_C, but I guess that number of dogs (78,2) include also street dogs or free-ranging urban dogs. As you know they are unconfined dogs that live in street, not in houses, and may never have had an owner. – Carlo Alterego Nov 16 '12 at 16:35
That number is from a survey done by the American Pet Products Association. The survey was about demographics, buying habits, and other traits of U.S. owners of dogs, cats, fish, birds, equine, reptiles, and small animals. – Oliver_C Nov 16 '12 at 16:59
The measure is "number of households"; the question is asking to compare "households with dogs" vs "households with children". As it is clearly possible to have multiples of either, it may be the case that more households have children but households with dogs tend to have more dogs than households with children have children. – Yamikuronue Nov 16 '12 at 18:17
Dogs dont party their way out of college after spending 50k though... – Chad Nov 16 '12 at 20:45
up vote 10 down vote accepted

TL;DR This is almost certainly true

The US department of Census reports in 2010 there were 35,218,000 households with "own children under 18 years" (This probably excludes some households with children, such as those being raised by someone other than the parents). This is out of a total number of households of 117,538,000.

Dog statistics are a little harder to get accurate, but The Humane Society says 39% of US households own at least one dog. That would give a number of dog-owning households at 45,839,000 - substantially more than the number of households with children. Other sources have similar figures.

It's probably worth mentioning that the number of households who have ever had children is more than the number who have children now.

share|improve this answer
Little nitpick: The 39% number from the Humane Society actually comes from your "other source", which is the survey done by the APPA. – Oliver_C Nov 21 '12 at 9:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.