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Cattle population worldwide 2012-2020

How many cattle are in the world?

The global cattle population amounted to about 989.03 million head in 2019, down from over one billion cattle in 2014.

Cows as livestock

The domestication of cattle began as early as 10,000 to 5,000 years ago. From ancient times up to the present, cattle are bred to provide meat and dairy. Cattle are also employed as draft animals to plow the fields or transport heavy objects. Cattle hide is used for the production of leather, and dung for fuel and agricultural fertilizer. In 2018, India was home to the highest number of milk cows in the world.

Cattle farming in the United States

Cattle meat such as beef and veal is one of the most widely consumed types of meat across the globe, and is particularly popular in the United States. The United States is the top producer of beef and veal of any country worldwide, according to 2019 data. In that year, beef production in the United States reached 12.73 million metric tons. Beef production appears to be following a positive trend in the United States. More than 32 million cattle were slaughtered both commercially and in farms annually in the United States in 2017, up from 30.7 million in the previous year.

Number of cattle worldwide from 2012 to 2020 (in million head)*

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Release date

April 2020



Survey time period

2012 to 2020

Supplementary notes

* Beginning stocks.
**Forecasted as of April, 2020.

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Statistics on "Beef market in the U.S."

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