December 4, 2014

The November issue of my favorite online newsletter, the American Consumers Newsletter by Cheryl Russell, Editorial Director, New Strategist Press, is full of good stuff. It should definitely be on your monthly reading list! The next few posts I will be covering thoughts from their November newsletter.

When the census bureau released their 2014 Current Population Survey data the decline in households headed by 25-to-34-year-olds was a surprise to many people. The number fell by 8,994 between 2013 and 2014. The decline was a surprise because the 25-to-34-year-old population is growing by more than half a million a year, and households headed by that age group had been growing by more than 100,000 a year–until now. What happened?

The decline in 25-to-34-year-olds came in three groups: married couples, women who live alone,   and men who live alone. American Consumers Newsletter believes this reflects economic distress, with millions of young adults postponing marriage and unable to afford to live by themselves.

A recent survey by Pew Research Center revealed the reason why so many 25-to-34-year-olds aren’t marrying: they’re looking for a partner with a steady job. With rents rising and student loan payments looming, fewer can afford to live by themselves while waiting for Mr. (or Ms.) Right.

Here’s a trend that may explain the nation’s slow overall household growth and the outright decline in the number of households headed by 25-to-34-year-olds: the rise of the “shared household.” A shared household has at least one “additional adult”–defined as a household member aged 18 or older who is not in school nor the householder, spouse, or cohabiting partner. This group has grown from 19.7 million in 2007 to 23.5 million today.

So, for 2015, don’t think you will be marketing to the traditional household group. The household of today is very different.

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