When you make a major, life-changing decision, you have to consider the needs of everyone in your family. And, for pet parents, that includes taking our pets' needs (and, okay, also their wants) into consideration. If you're considering relocating any time in the near future—or even if you're just curious about how your current city ranks—you need to take a look at WalletHub's in-depth report on 2020's Most Pet-Friendly Cities.
According to WalletHub's data, more than 85 millions households in the U.S. include pets and those households are projected to spend a whopping $99 billion (yeah, with a B) this year alone. This means that pet parenthood isn't just a passion—it's a bona fide powerhouse in the personal finance marketplace, too.
How the study was conducted
And the WalletHub study is intense and thorough. In order to determine where Americans' animal companions can enjoy the best quality of life without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the creature-friendliness of the 100 largest cities across 25 key metrics. The data set ranges from minimum pet-care provider rate per visit to pet businesses per capita to walkability.
But we know what you really care about: The results. Let's start with the two lists we know pet parents everywhere care most about: The most and least pet-friendly cities in America (aka the cities to flock to and the cities to avoid like a pile of steaming dog poo).
Most pet-friendly cities:
1. Tampa, FL
2. Austin, TX
3. Las Vegas, NV
4. Orlando, FL
5. Seattle, WA
6. St. Louis, MO
7. Atlanta, GA
8. New Orleans, LA
9. Birmingham, AL
10. San Diego, CA
Least pet-friendly cities:
10. Fresno, CA
9. San Bernardino, CA
8. Santa Ana, CA
7. Honolulu, HI
6. Bakersfield, CA
5. Laredo, TX
4. Buffalo, NY
3. Mesa, AZ
2. Chula Vista, CA
1. Newark, NJ
The best and worst cities for different pet-focused factors
The WalletHub data is a truly fascinating set of information to mine through. The site made a handy chart of some of the highlights of the data that you can check out below (and bookmark for future reference):
Here are some key highlights from the study:
- The city with the lowest vet care costs: Corpus Christi, TX
- The city with the highest vet care costs: Washington, DC
- The city with the lowest dog insurance premiums: St. Paul, MN
- The city with the highest dog insurance premiums: San Francisco, CA
- The city with the city with the most veterinarians per capita: Miami, FL
- The city with the city with the fewest veterinarians per capita: Newark, NJ
- The city with the most pet businesses per capita: San Francisco, CA
- The city with the fewest pet businesses per capita: Newark, NJ
- The city with the most dog-friendly restaurants per capita: Orlando, FL
- The city with the fewest dog-friendly restaurants per capita: North Las Vegas, NV
- The city with the most dog parks per capita: New York, NY
- The city with the fewest dog parks per capita: Hialeah, FL
- The city with the most animal shelters per capita: St. Louis, MO
- The city with the fewest animal shelters per capita: Anaheim, CA
Other fun facts
In addition to the most and least pet-friendly cities, the WalletHub study yielded some other fascinating info, including:
- Corpus Christi, Texas, has the lowest average veterinary care costs (per visit), $38.75, which is 2.1 times lower than in Washington, the city with the highest at $80.09.
- Miami has the most veterinarians (per square root of the population), 0.3350, which is 88.2 times more than in Newark, New Jersey, the city with the fewest at 0.0038.
- St. Paul, Minnesota, has the lowest monthly dog-insurance premium, $34.84, which is 2.5 times lower than in San Francisco, the city with the highest at $88.76.
- San Francisco has the most pet businesses (per square root of the population), 0.8427, which is 24.8 times more than in Newark, New Jersey, the city with the fewest at 0.0340.
How pet-friendly cities are changing
And, in case you're tracking the pet-friendliness of cities over time like a true pet-loving science sleuth, it's interesting to compare 2020's most pet-friendly cities to the cities that ruled this arena in 2019. Tampa, FL, this year's winner, jumped up two spots in 2020, for example, while Newark, which ranked as the least pet-friendly by WalletHub's calculations this year, was only the 7th-least pet-friendly city in the 2019 list (it's worth noting, of course, that the methodologies in these two studies varied, so their results were bound to vary at least slightly, as well).
According to the study published by Thrillist last year, the most and least pet-friendly cities of 2019 were:
2019's most pet-friendly cities:
1. Scottsdale, AZ
2. Orlando, FL
3. Tampa, FL
4. Austin, TX
5. Phoenix, AZ
6. Las Vegas, NV
7. Atlanta, CA
8. St. Louis, MO
9. Seattle, WA
10. Portland, OR
2019's least pet-friendly cities:
10. Detroit, MI
9. Aurora, CO
8. Nashville, TN
7. Newark, NJ
6. Santa Ana, CA
5. Chula Vista, CA
4. Milwaukee, WI
3. Buffalo, NY
2. Laredo, TX
1. Fresno, CA
How does your city stack up? Do you agree with the findings? Let us know in the comments!