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Chew on This

To the Editors of American Demographics:

I'm looking for demographic and psychographic information such as age, occupation, aspirations and leisure activities, for typical full and partial denture wearers. I'm also interested in finding out what percentage of the U.S. population denture wearers will represent in the next 10 to 15 years. I needed help with my research and decided to go to the best! Thanks for your assistance.

Lisa Rohland

Sr. Business Development Manager


Atlanta, Ga.

Dear Lisa:

When it comes to denture wearers, the stereotypical image most of us hold is not far from the truth. In fact, those who have false teeth actually do look an awful lot like the Geritol set. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 57 percent of Americans ages 65 to 74, and 51 percent of those age 55 to 64 have full or partial dentures. Compare that with 3 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, 16 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds and 29 percent of 45- to 55-year-olds who wear false teeth. Overall, women are more likely than men to sport a porcelain grin (24 percent versus 19 percent).

Unfortunately, we were unable to gather further demographic information from the data available to us from NHANES III. To get the answers you wanted, we turned to Simmons Market Research Bureau's National Consumer Survey. Simmons' survey of more than 31,000 consumers, conducted twice per year, does not actually inquire as to whether or not its respondents wear dentures, but it does ask if they purchase denture cleaners and denture adhesives. By looking at those who have used either of these personal products, you get a pretty close match to actual denture wearers. (Assuming, of course, that those who buy denture adhesive are using the product to keep their teeth in their mouth and not as an alternative method for securing loose tiles on the bathroom floor.) Now then, of those who purchase denture cleaners or denture adhesives, 42 percent are retired, 30 percent work full time, 9 percent work part time and 8 percent are disabled. The remaining 11 percent are either unemployed, full-time students or homemakers.

A look inside the minds of likely denture wearers reveals that while 60 percent of this group agrees with the statement, “I am very happy with my life as it is,� denture wearers are 17 percent more likely to say they feel very alone in the world and 67 percent more likely to say there is very little they can do to change their life. Not much to smile about, now is it?

As for the future of the denture-wearing public, we'll most certainly see the numbers rise as the Baby Boomer population ages. Dr. Chester Douglass at Harvard University's Department of Oral Health and Epidemiology predicts that the number of people who will need full dentures will increase from 35 million in 2000 to 38 million in 2020. And that doesn't even include partials.


To the Editors of American Demographics:

Do you have any stats on the vegetarian market in the United States? Is it growing? Informal research says it is, but maybe that's just what I want to hear. Do you have any sources in-house or know where I can look to confirm or deny these suspicions?

Deborah Grove

Director, Market Research

Grove & Assoc.

Palo Alto, Calif.

Dear Deborah:

Certainly the availability of vegetarian foods has increased over the past few years, and we hear a lot of anecdotal reports that the number of vegetarians in the population is on the rise. But the truth is the data just doesn't support those rumors. According to several studies, the percentage of vegetarians has remained relatively constant in recent years. One such study, from market research firm RoperASW, shows that between 1978 and 1998, the number of strict vegetarians (those who never eat meat, poultry or fish) remained stable at 1 percent. Another set of surveys, sponsored by the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), conducted in 1994, 1997 and 2000, show the number of vegetarians in the U.S. was 1 percent in 1994 and 1997, and 2.5 percent in 2000. While, those numbers may seem to suggest that the percentage of vegetarians more than doubled between 1997 and 2000, the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. So we can't be sure whether the increase is real.

Atlanta-based HealthFocus International, which surveyed over 2,000 primary grocery shoppers in 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000, also reports that the number of vegetarian shoppers has remained constant, at about 2 percent. But, in addition to tracking strict vegetarians (those who always maintain a vegetarian diet), HealthFocus also keeps tabs on those who “usually or sometimes maintain a vegetarian diet.� This group makes up 19 percent of all shoppers, for a grand total of 21 percent of primary shoppers who are full- or part-time vegetarians.

And it appears as though occasional vegetarianism is catching on. The National Restaurant Association reports that 16 percent of adults ordered more vegetarian entrées at restaurants in 2000 than they did in 1998. Veggie items are more popular at pricey restaurants. Ninety-one percent of restaurants with an average check price of $25 or more offer vegetarian entrées, compared with 72 percent of restaurants with an average check of less than $8. If only the McVeggie burger would catch on!

Take it Easy

Participation in selected leisure activities by those who purchase denture adhesive or denture cleansers.

Quilting 161
Needlework 143
Vegetable gardening 130
Bird watching 126
Model building 60
Dancing 60
Visiting a zoo 55
Going to bars or nightclubs 45
*The national average is 100. For example, those who purchase denture adhesive or denture cleansers are 61 percent more likely to quilt and 55 percent less likely to go to bars and nightclubs in their leisure time.
Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau, 2000

Meet the Vegetarians

While thirty somethings constitute only 19 percent of all primary grocery shoppers, they account for 26 percent of vegetarian shoppers.

18-29 17% 18% 12% 18%
30-39 19% 26% 15% 20%
40-49 21% 18% 21% 21%
50-64 21% 12% 23% 20%
65+ 21% 26% 28% 20%
*Numbers do not add to 100 percent due to rounding. Source: HealthFocus International, 2000

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