How are the demographics of U.S. households changing—and what does it mean to your small business? SmartBlog on Leadership recently rounded up some data from the U.S. Census that paints a picture of the new makeup of the “average” American household. Here’s some of what they found:
Husband and Wife on the Decline: The traditional, husband-and-wife household is on the decline. In 2000, 51.7% of households were husband and wife; that went down to 48.4% in 2010. While the percentage decreased, the sheer number increased: In 2000, there were 54.5 million husband/wife households and in 2010, there were 56.5 million. One area where husband/wife households tend to dominate is near military bases.
While the percentage of husband/wife households shrank, the percentage and number of unmarried, opposite-sex partners rose from 4.8 million (4.6 percent of all households) in 2000 to 7.7 million (5.9 percent of all households) in 2010.
Non-family Households on the Rise: Correspondingly, the number of non-family households (people living together who are not related and not married) increased. As of 2010, 33.6% of U.S. households were identified as non-family.
Solo Households Increase: Most non-family households are made up of people living alone. The percentage of single-person households rose from 25.8 percent (27.2 million people) in 2000 to 26.7 percent (31.2 million people) in 2010. One-person households exist in all parts of the country—not just in the urban areas that you might expect. There are two key demographic segments that make up a large percentage of the one-person households, and they’re pretty much polar opposites. The first is young, well-educated singles who are starting their professional careers; they tend to live in large urban areas. The second is older retirees, who are frequently living in rented apartments or subsidized housing.
Multi-generational Households Surge: The percentage of multi-generational households (defined has having three or more generations of relatives living together) has also grown, from 3.7% of households in 2000 to 4.4% in 2010. This is partly due to economic hard times and the difficulty of finding affordable housing, but also due to the growth of the immigrant population. The Census Bureau says multi-generational households are most commonly found in areas with a lot of new immigrants or where a lot of children are born to single mothers. Hawaii, California and Texas have the highest percentage of multigenerational households, partly because these areas have a large immigrant and minority population.
What do these trends mean to your business? If your products or services, or the way you market them, are tailored to traditional, two-parent households, it may be time to shake things up—or get left behind as America’s average household continues to change.
Image by Flickr user Images of Money (Creative Commons)