Posts Tagged ‘Children’
The trend — or tension — in context
For most of us, what we thought we knew “for sure,” as Oprah would say, is no longer unquestioned. Givens are now up for grabs.
Take children, for example. Which is what the 20% of the population is saying who are creating their lives sans kids while leaving the child-centered family life to others.
Births in America are at an all-time low (surpassing the fertility crash during the Great Depression). A Pew Research report confirms that childlessness (the old word vs. the new, upbeat “childfree”) has increased across all racial and ethnic groups with about 1 in 5 American women going through their child-bearing years without kids, compared to 1 in 10 in the 1970s.
No doubt the economics of the Great Recession have come into play. Even so, by 2008 the level of women 40-44 who had never given birth had grown by 80%. (Pew Research; US Census)
And yet… we still live in the land of the celebrated baby bump where everyone from Kim to Kate is chronicled in daily baby watches. In rather unroyal fashion during her pregnancy, Kate even donned a “baby on board” button from an admirer.
Putting the whole child debate in a larger, ongoing context, DYG SCAN has seen what we call our “child-centeredness” value grow each year to become almost universal.
80% of Americans say, “once you have a child, your own needs come second.” (In 1987 it was 66%.)
And the top 4 signs of success today are about the kids:
“Being a good parent”
“Raising happy children”
“Raising healthy children”
“Raising successful children” (total adults, 2013, DYG SCAN)
So where does that leave the debate? Weighted toward child-centered sensibilities with a swirl of social issues in the mix…
Salon asks, “Wouldn’t it be grand if TIME remembered that having children – and not having them – isn’t something that only happens to women?” And now we have the New York Times magazine declaring, “the opt-out generation wants back in” – a financial angle on the women, children, choices story. Then, of course, all around us are the celebratory stories of same-sex couples thrilled to finally adopt children. In our culture brimming with dualities, our attitude about children might be the most intriguing one.
Business Implications: Decisions. Angst. Joy. Status. Stress. Success. It’s a scenario custom-made for marketers who can create products and approaches that help consumers smooth the often bumpy road to their own versions of the richer life. And children remain a central element in the navigation.
Photo credits: cover- (photo-illustration by Randal Ford for TIME) Kate photo- Vanity Fair