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1 in 5 prefers pet to partner for Valentine’s Day

Rather than spending Valentine's Day with their partner, one-fifth of adults would prefer to be with their pet, according to a joint global poll by Reuters/Ipsos.

The survey of 24,000 people in 23 countries found 21 percent of adults would rather spend February 14 with their pet than their spouse, although the French were least likely to choose a furry friend over a human, with only 10 percent taking that option.

But the survey found that age and income were more of a determining factor than nationality when it came to romance, with younger, less affluent people more likely to choose their pet as their Valentine's Day companion.

John Wright, senior vice president of Ipsos, said 25 percent of people aged under 35 opted for their pet over their partner compared to 18 percent of those aged 35-54 and 14 percent of people aged 55 plus.

Men and women were evenly split over the question.

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Those choosing pets over people were also more likely to be those who have a lower income (24 percent) compared to those who were middle or higher income earners (20 percent).

"Likely defying stereotype, the desire to spurn a partner for a pet is not rooted in gender but rather age and even there it seems the older you are, the least likely it is you'd choose pet over partner," said Wright.

"While there are country differences, it's more of a personal choice made by younger and less affluent individuals."

On a country-by-country basis, residents of Turkey were the most likely, at 49 percent, to choose their pet over their spouse or partner.

Next came India with 41 percent, then Japan with 30 percent, China with 29 percent, the United States with 27 percent and Australia with 25 percent.

On the other hand, the nations where residents were the least likely to want to spend the day with a pet instead of their spouse or partner were France at 10 percent, Mexico 11 percent, the Netherlands 12 percent and Hungary at 12 percent.

About 1,000 individuals participated on a country by country basis via an Ipsos (http://www.ipsos.com) online panel with weighting employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflected that of the adult population according to the most recent country census data.

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