Lower middle-income couples and singles living rural, casual lives
Concentrated in the rural South, Countrified Pragmatics are couples and singles living in modern brick homes and double-wide manufactured homes on recently-developed lots. Most of the adults are white, childless and between 45 and 54 years old. Unlike many country households, these Americans are almost evenly divided between married couples and individuals who are single, divorced or widowed. Most are high school-educated blue-collar workers in manufacturing, transportation and construction. Although many are dual-income households, incomes are still only 75 percent of the national average, making for tight budgets and modest homes. This is the nation’s top segment for mobile home ownership.
The lifestyle in Countrified Pragmatics is typical of many rural segments. These households like to spend their free time cooking, gardening, listening to music and doing quiet hobbies. In their remote communities, few enjoy nightlife or cultural activities, and they travel rarely, except to a beach for swimming or an auto race to support their favorite drivers. They’re not interested in most outdoor sports, other than traditional pursuits like fishing and hunting that help put food on the table. Many missed the health revolution and admit that they exercise little, eat plenty of fast food and dive into sugary desserts. When they go out to eat, they tend to head right to red-meat palaces like Sizzler, Golden Corral and Longhorn Steakhouse.
As shoppers, Countrified Pragmatics are value-conscious, matter-of-fact and informal. They tend to make most of their purchases at discount department stores, noting that they prefer bargains to designer clothes. The describe themselves as cash-and-carry kinds of consumers who don’t carry credit cards and have high levels of distrust when investing with banks or Wall Street. Many are tech-shy, not yet carrying the latest handheld digital devices or MP3 players, but they do buy large-screen projection and flat-screen TVs. As utilitarian consumers, they always look under the hood and check out repair reports whenever they buy a new car.
Their taste in media reflects a bygone age. They rely on radio and TV to stay in touch with popular culture. They like to watch police procedurals, movies, reality shows and, of course, NASCAR races on TV. These modestly-educated citizens have little interest in reading a daily paper, and they rarely subscribe to magazines except titles that cover guns and ammo. They have little interest in going online, with their activities confined to instant messaging and downloading games - but they do indicate that they plan to enhance their online services in the next year.
Not surprisingly, most Countrified Pragmatics have conservative views. They describe themselves as spiritual and religious. They vote for right-of-center politicians and support conservative social issues. They’re otherwise casual about their lifestyle; they enjoy their neighbors, go to dances at the local veterans’ club and run an informal household. They aren’t avid housekeepers, rarely sit down to a formal dinner and often get by on fast food and junk food.
Countrified Pragmatics are working-class couples and singles who like exurban and small-town settings. Most of the householders are between the ages of 45 and 65, white and childless; some 95 percent have no kids living at home. Instead, many of the households contain empty- nesting couples, and nearly half consist of single, divorced or widowed individuals - nearly 80 percent more than the national average. The adults tend to have modest educations - two-thirds haven’t gone beyond high school - and they typically work in low-paying jobs in manufacturing, transportation and construction.
The majority of Countrified Pragmatics live in sparsely-settled communities in the South. No other segment has more residents living in mobile homes; one-quarter own manufactured housing. The rest tend to live in modest ranches, Cape Cods and contemporary houses on relatively large lots. One in eight households own lots greater than two acres - roughly three times the national average. Unlike some rural segments, these homes and manufactured houses were built relatively recently - a majority since 1980 - and many of the residents are relative newcomers: nearly two-thirds have lived at their address fewer than five years.
In their quiet communities, Countrified Pragmatics have low-key leisure lives. They travel rarely, preferring to spend their free time engaged in home-based activities like gardening, cooking, playing cards, listening to music and doing hobbies like woodworking and needlework. They’re too far from city downtowns to go to plays, concerts or nightclubs. However, they’re close enough to lakes and parkland to enjoy outdoor sports such as fishing, hunting, horseback riding and bird-watching. They dine out as much as the average, frequenting steak restaurants like Sizzler, Golden Corral and Longhorn Steakhouse.
When it comes to consumption, these Americans are pragmatic and price-sensitive. They’re not fans of shopping and tend to go to a store only when they need a particular item - and then leave once they buy it. Dismissive of fashion magazines, they stick with favorite brands that last a long time, and they’re consumed with getting the best deal. Many of their favorite stores offer discount prices, including Walmart, Kmart, Dollar General and Family Dollar. These tech-shy individuals show little interest in new technology, but they will buy TV-related equipment like DVD players, DVRs and big-screen projectors. When they buy a car, they look at what’s under the hood and ignore all the options. Many are fine with buying a used vehicle - typically a truck or subcompact - as long as it has a strong record for durability.
Countrified Pragmatics are media traditionalists - they’re heavy users of TV but have only average or below-average interest in other media. TV is their main source of entertainment, and they typically schedule their evenings around police dramas like “CSI: NY,” “Forensic Files” and “The Closer”. In addition, they like to tune in to cable channels that offer movies, reality shows, NASCAR races and biographies - networks like AMC, Lifetime, Speed and the Hallmark Channel. They’re only moderate fans of radio, though they like to listen to college football games and stations that play bluegrass, country, gospel and grunge music. Few subscribe to magazines but moderate numbers like to read a local newspaper for the local news and classified ads. Indeed, this segment tends to be receptive to ads - especially those with a sense of humor - and they admit that they remember ads when shopping.
Countrified Pragmatics have a casual lifestyle, and they’d like to keep it that way. They try to enjoy life without worrying about the future. They express a certain wariness about outsiders and have little interest in other cultures and international events. At home, they don’t care too much about exercising, trying to look younger or keeping a pristine house. They gave up, long ago, serving a formal dinner each night and are fine with snacking throughout the day.
Countrified Pragmatics believe in traditional family values. They describe themselves as spiritual and attend weekly religious services. Politically, their vote is often split between the Democratic and Republican parties, but the politicians who win their support must reflect their conservative outlook. Anyone who wins in these patriotic households has to reach out to unions and veterans’ groups.
Still, Countrified Pragmatics exhibit something of an independent streak. Unlike many parochial country segments, they like to travel the unbeaten path and aren’t afraid to appear unconventional. They support progressive social issues and think a woman’s place is in the workforce. They’re involved in their communities where they easily make friends and like helping others. Asked to describe their personalities, they use words like “stubborn” and “hard-headed” along with “witty” and “humorous”.
Countrified Pragmatics have low incomes - 25 percent below the general population - and income-producing assets. Many tell researchers that they distrust banks and the stock market, and they consequently own very few stocks, bonds, CDs or annuities. With a below-average tendency to carry credit cards, they’re more comfortable using cash for paying bills and buying products and services. Although a majority don’t like going into debt, they do take out car and home-improvement loans - typically through farm bureaus, banks and credit unions. These risk- averse households appreciate insurance, with many buying health and life insurance, though their coverage is still relatively modest. Less than 3 percent carry more than half a million dollars in life insurance.
Digital media plays only a minor role in this segment. Countrified Pragmatics will go online for selective purposes: instant messaging, downloading games, doing research and participating in auctions. They visit only a handful of Websites more than the average, including ebaymotors.com, craislist.org, autozone.com, fanfiction.net and iwin.com. Part of their reluctance to spend more time online is that they’re nearly twice as likely as average Americans to use slow, dial-up modems to access the Internet. However, these adults state that they’d like to spend more time online, and an above-average number say that they plan to increase their online services in the next year.