One No Longer The Loneliest Number
By George Anderson
New research from the U.S. Census Bureau paints a mighty different picture of the average American family than the Mom, Dad and two or three kids typically idealized in television
programming and advertisements from the last century.
Since 1970, reports the Census Bureau, the number of households with five or more members has fallen from 21 percent to 10 percent of the total, while those with one or two people
has increased from 46 percent to 60 percent.
Thirty-something females have been the fastest growing segment of single-family households. According to the Census Bureau’s figures, the number of households with a single woman,
age 30 to 34, has tripled since 1970.
Barbara Whitehead, codirector of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, told the Christian Science Monitor, “It’s clear from [the new Census figures] that
compared to the middle of the 20th century, marriage is not nearly a universal status of adulthood. There is much more diversity in living arrangements.”
Moderator’s Comment: Have consumer goods manufacturers and retailers adapted their product development and marketing strategies to reflect the smaller
size of American households? Ultimately, would it make much difference to sales if they were more precise in their targeting of messages?
Bella DePaulo, a psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said there is a disconnect between the reality of American living arrangements
and images portrayed in the media and the messages contained in consumer marketing.
Ms. DePaulo told the Christian Science Monitor that she sees a “relentless glorification of marriage and coupling at a time in the nation’s history
when marriage has never been less important.” –
George Anderson – Moderator