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Americans spent $61.4 billion on pets in 2011

According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spent more in 2011 on their pets than they did on men's clothing and alcoholic beverages.

An interesting finding, but hardly unexpected. Almost three-quarters of U.S. households have a pet of some kind, and that doesn't include the millions of pet fish across the country.

American pet owners spent roughly $61.4 billion to care for their animals, almost twice as much as was spent on movie tickets globally. Dividing the findings by individual homes, total pet spending in the U.S. averaged $500 per household in 2011.

Despite the overall drop in spending from 2007 to 2011 due to the recession, pet related purchases continued at 1 percent of total expenditures. Even though other common expenditures — such as eating out — declined during this period, pet spending remained consistent.

The statistics gathered by the bureau not only reflected trends in spending, but in pet ownership overall.

Homeowners spent three times as much on pets as renters did, possibly because they are more likely to be free of restrictive contracts that prohibit pets. Married couples without children living at home spent the most on their animals overall, and single-parent households with at least one child under age 18 averaged the least.

There also was a discrepancy between pet owners in rural and urban areas, with rural pet owners spending almost twice as much on their pets than those in the city.

JJ Feinauer is a graduate of Southern Virginia University and an intern for the Moneywise page on Email:, Twitter: @johnorjj.