Young singles, couples and single parents with lower incomes starting out in city apartments
Dare to Dream are one of the newest demographic trends in American households: the decline of marriage among downscale couples. In this segment, singles, cohabitating couples and single parents of limited means share low-rent city apartments. One of the youngest segments in the nation, more than a third of household heads are under 35 years old. The populace here doesn’t consider marriage as the only path to forming a family.
Predominantly white with a higher-than-average concentration of Hispanics, these young adults have low educations - their rate of high school dropouts is double the national average - and low-paying, entry-level jobs in sales and service-sector industries. Some manage to get by sharing overcrowded apartments to make ends meet. In their old and transient neighborhoods, scattered across the country in mid-sized cities like Buffalo, N.Y. and Tulsa, Okla., segment members live in buildings typically built before 1925. There are few amenities other than the inexpensive rent to entice these young, mobile singles to sink in roots: nearly three-quarters have lived at their address for fewer than three years.
Dare to Dream spend a lot of their free time on the go. They hang out with friends at bars and nightclubs, head to movies and dance performances, and catch a meal at Chipotle, Denny’s or TGI Friday’s. They’ll kick back at their apartments to listen to music or throw a dinner party, always on the lookout for a new dish to try or drink to share. There’s not a lot of money for travel, except for the virtual kind. These 20- and 30-somethings like to play video games, computer games and board games. If they want to work out, they’ll bypass the health club in favor of a pickup game of soccer or basketball in a nearby park.
While their budgets may be tight, Dare to Dream love to shop, particularly for clothes. Although they like designer clothes and read fashion magazines to keep up with the latest styles, they typically end up in discount departments stores, looking for chic styles on the clearance racks. Most can’t afford to own a car - they buy no models at high rates - but they will splurge on electronics. These music fans buy the latest MP3 player to listen to their favorite music: the latest in adult contemporary, Latin ballads and rhythm and blues. This is no place for traditional media; you’ll rarely see a newspaper left at anyone’s doorstep. The TV is often on only late at night after an evening date.
With few long-time residents in their neighborhoods, Dare to Dream often seem disconnected from their communities. They don’t often vote or belong to a place of worship. Many simply want to get ahead, make more money and find a better place to live. They take adult education courses and talk about advancing their careers. When those goals seem beyond their reach, many frequent online gambling sites in the hope of a quick payout, figuring you can’t win if you don’t play.
Dare to Dream are young people on limited incomes, typically living in downscale city apartments. Nearly nine out of ten households contain unmarried singles, single parents and cohabitating couples with children, a rate about double the national average. They’re younger than average: more than two-thirds are under 45 years old, while more than a third are under 35 - twice the national average. Predominantly white with an above-average presence of Hispanics, these households reflect the sharp decline in marriage in recent years. In Dare to Dream, educational achievement is low; more than 40 percent failed to finish high school, and most adults work in low-level sales and service-sector jobs in health care, food services and manufacturing. A high percentage is unemployed. However, nearly 15 percent of households have three or more employed adults, implying that many are sharing an apartment with roommates.
Dare to Dream are found around the country, but especially in the Northeast, Midwest and Mid- Atlantic states, in mid-sized cities like Buffalo, N.Y., Tulsa, Okla., Muncie, Ind., and Richmond, Va. More than eight out of ten households consist of renters who typically live in older ranch houses, duplexes and low-rise apartment complexes. Half of the housing stock went up before 1925 and nearly three-quarters before 1950. With a majority of these households containing children, many of their residences are overcrowded and not necessarily designed for growing families. The transient nature of households is also a challenge for family stability: nearly half the members of this segment moved into their unit during the last year.
Their low finances provide for only modest lifestyles, but Dare to Dream stretch their budgets any way they can. At home, they’re into cooking; they try new drinks and recipes. They like to listen to music: rock, Mexican, modern adult contemporary and rhythm and blues are all favorite styles. They also play board games and read comic books, and also buy games and toys, including video games and sports equipment.
With many of these young singles still in the dating scene, they devote a good chunk of their budget to nightlife. Many like to meet up with friends at a bar, comedy club or nightclub. They see movies, especially comedies, dramas, horror films and family fare. Admitting that they prefer fast food, they’ll meet up with friends at restaurants like Chipotle, Panera Bread and TGI Friday’s as well as order pizza from Papa John’s. These young households occasionally manage to take a trip abroad; they especially enjoy going to Portugal.
These young and unattached people feel strongly about looking good, but most don’t have the cash to join health clubs. Instead, they work out at public parks and recreation centers, where they have play soccer, basketball and football. These are the young adults who take over sidewalks for skateboarding and in-line skating while plugged in to their MP3 players.
Many can’t afford to own a car, but these price-sensitive shoppers express their style with hip, inexpensive clothes found on the clearance racks of discount retailers. Among their favorite chains are Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Fashion Bug and Ross Dress for Less.
With their mobile lifestyles, Dare to Dream make only a modest market for traditional media. Members don’t really read newspapers and magazines, and are only modestly more interested in listening to radio and watching TV. They’ll occasionally catch a baseball game on the radio or watch a game show or evening animation show on the TV; their preferred cable channels include BET, Spike, FX and Oxygen. But if they’re home, the first place they go for entertainment is the Internet, where they’re always searching for new music and video content.
Dare to Dream are somewhat rootless. They’re not too involved in their communities, tend not to be active in a local house of worship and have a very low tendency to vote. They describe themselves as politically independent and express views that are moderate to leftist. They support recycling and worry about car pollution. Many simply want to enjoy life and not worry about the future.
Despite their laid-back attitude, many of them work hard - a disproportionate describe themselves as workaholics - and want to advance in their careers; many would like to start their own businesses. They’re willing to seize opportunities, give up family time and do unconventional things in order to succeed. They like to have a close circle of friends, and their goal is to earn both a lot of money and the respect of peers.
With their low incomes (less than half the national average at $34,000), Dare to Dream have few savings or income-producing assets. They’re only one-fifth as likely as average Americans to own any investments, other than stocks, bonds or CDs. With few possessing credit cards, they tend to pay most of their bills with cash, money orders or debit cards, the one bank product they own as much as the average. They rank near the bottom for most insurance products, and the small percentage that do have life insurance carry less than $20,000 in coverage. Without equity or a credit history, few qualify for a loan other than a high-interest car note. At least they recognize that they’re financial fledglings: they say that they know nothing about investments and are not good at saving money.
Despite their low finances, Dare to Dream are willing to spend money on digital media. They go online at home, using DSL or their smartphone to connect to the Internet. Those who can’t afford a high-speed modem head to the local library or a school to get online. Internet-savvy, they are active users who go online to make travel arrangements, view videos and download music. Their favorite Websites, like pogo.com and iwon.com, reveal their passion for gambling and playing games. They’re into social networking and chat forums, as seen in their tendency to buy webcams; these Gen Yers don’t mind saving up to buy fancy gear. Dare to Dream take pride in being fully engaged in the online world and have no qualms about clicking on email ads, Website search promotions and links.