Millennial Parents in the U.S.
As they have in so many other parts of their lives, Millennials are rewriting the rules about marriage. When it comes to choosing marriage as a way of life, today’s 18- to 34-year-olds—especially women—differ markedly from their predecessors. Millennial women are marrying later than ever before—or not at all. The decline in marriage does not mean that Millennial women are foregoing having children. What is different for Millennial women today compared to their predecessors in previous generations is that more than 40% of Millennial women giving birth are unmarried.
This shift in attitudes toward marriage in general and more specifically as a prerequisite for having children has transformed the living arrangements of the current generation of the more than 20 million 18- to 34-year-olds who are raising children. In 2014 nearly half of 25- to 29-year-old moms either had no spouse or partner or were cohabiting with a partner rather than living with a spouse.
This trend has had an immense impact on the family structure of the children of Millennial parents. It also has profoundly changed the environment of the target audience of marketers of toys, baby foods and other packaged foods, household products, children’s clothing and the vast array of other products specifically required to raise children and generally maintain a family.
Millennial Parents in the U.S. analyzes the complex world of Millennial parents and highlights the implications for marketers. One consideration is that the demographic and social profile of Millennial parents differs radically from that of their peers without children. For example, Millennial moms are less urban, less secular, less affluent, and less educated than other women in their age group.
The report shows how the increasingly non-traditional structure of Millennial families with children presents something of a minefield for marketers. Traditional images of a nuclear family may not resonate among Millennial moms because a large percentage of them are single moms. On the other hand, more than 80% of 30- to 34-year-old dads are married and live in a recognizably traditional family environment. Many are part of a relationship where both partners are intent on living out egalitarian views about the roles of moms and dads within a family. These demographic and cultural factors may lead marketers down another kind of non-traditional path that includes dads as well as moms in their marketing appeals.
Scope of the Report
This Packaged Facts report analyzes Millennial, or 18- to 34-year old, parents, with an emphasis on the consumer behavior of Millennial moms. The report focuses on Millennial parents who can be assumed to be present in their children’s lives and available to be involved in consumer decisions related to the rearing of their children. The report screens Millennial parents as follows:
- Census data profiling the living arrangements of Millennial parents focus on Millennial parents with “co-resident” children. The Census Bureau does not break down data related to 15- to 24-year-olds parents with co-resident children. However, only a miniscule percentage of 15- to 17-year-olds are co-resident parents. Packaged Facts estimates that 18- to 24-year-olds (the youngest Millennial age segment) account for 92% of parents in the 15- to -24-year-old age group. Thus, using Census data for 15- to 24-year-olds serves as a robust surrogate for younger Millennial parents.
- When using Simmons National Consumer Study (NCS) data, Packaged Facts defines a Millennial parent as an 18- to 34-year-old who is a parent and lives in the same household with children under 18 years of age. The report often uses Simmons NCS data to compare Millennial parents with Gen-X parents (those in the 35- to 49-year-old age group) and uses the same screening criteria to define Gen-X parents.
The primary source of consumer data in this report is the Simmons NCS for Spring 2015—which was fielded from April 2014 through June 2015. On an ongoing basis, Experian Marketing Services conducts booklet-based surveys of a large and random sample of consumers (approximately 25,000 for each 12-month survey compilation) who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. population.
Other data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau and a range of surveys and studies published by private research organizations including Pew Research Center, The Hartford, Weber Shandwick/KRC Research and Goldman Sachs. The report is also based upon data collected from a wide range of industry sources, including company websites, trade publications, business newspapers and magazines, consumer blogs, and releases from companies.
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