Mid-scale, middle-aged and established couples living in suburban and fringe homes
Middle-class Melting Pot are mostly married, middle-aged people without children living in suburban neighborhoods. Many of their homes were built during the postwar baby boom, but these couples aren’t the original owners. Most Middle-class Melting Pot have lived at their current address for fewer than five years, having moved to their comfortable homes to ease quietly into middle age. Nearly two-thirds are between the ages of 35 and 50. More than 80 percent have no children at home. These predominantly white households include above- average concentrations of divorced and widowed individuals. Most are empty-nesting couples concentrating on their careers and relaxed lifestyles.
Middle-class Melting Pot are found in the older neighborhoods of small towns and cities across the country. The highest concentrations live in the West and Northeast, but some also have moved to resort communities like Hilton Head, S.C., Lake Arrowhead, Calif., and Warren, Vt. With a majority of the homes built before 1960, housing values are below average. However, most of the homes are well-maintained and set on quarter-acre lots. These residents find comfort in their stable neighborhoods filled with overgrown trees, top-of-the-line grills and recent, imported sedans.
Middle-class Melting Pot have middling educational backgrounds. However, they’ve managed to turn high school diplomas and some college classes into a mix of skilled blue-collar, sales and service-sector jobs. Although they have middle-class incomes, many have a tenuous hold on the American dream. Most have below-average levels of investments and a comfortable retirement is hardly assured. In this group, many worry about maintaining their standard of living and their present level of comfort.
In their stable neighborhoods, the Middle-class Melting Pot pursue low-stress, unpretentious lifestyles. They like to read books, watch TV, garden, do woodworking and display their collections of Hummel figurines and Precious Moment porcelains. They’re the casual folks whose idea of nightlife is to go to a bowling alley, movie theater or home-style restaurant. They’re not big on strenuous outdoor exercise, but many belong to a health club where they like to use the rowing and cardio machines. When they take a vacation, which they do as often as average Americans, it’s often to a destination within the U.S.
As shoppers, Middle-class Melting Pot are both price-conscious and brand-loyal. They like to shop at brick-and-mortar stores that offer large selections of merchandise and mainstream brands. Many patronize nationally-known department stores and warehouse clubs such as Target, Costco, Sears and Macy’s. They drive to these stores in sedans and luxury cars - typically used imports from Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi. Though they rarely buy through mail- order or over the Internet, they do respond to TV.
Middle-class Melting Pot are average media fans, following the general population in their appreciation of traditional and new media. They’re middling fans of newspapers, turning first to the news, entertainment and sports sections. Many like to relax with a magazine, subscribing to publications like Self, Men’s Health and Motor Trend. They often listen to, tuning in to adult contemporary, golden oldies, modern rock and classic hits music. While the Internet has siphoned away some of their attention, they remain true to TV, their first love - particularly movies and dramas found on premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime and Starz. Although many proclaim that they’re TV addicts, that perspective doesn’t extend to commercials. Most find TV ads annoying, preferring ads on billboards and in movie theaters.
Politically, Middle-class Melting Pot are left-of-center. They’re more likely than average to vote Democratic on Election Day. They do worry about the environment and air pollution caused by cars. Many of these one-time activists are willing to march in a protest if they feel strongly about an issue. However, because they’ve only recently moved to their neighborhoods, they are only modestly involved in community organizations.
Middle-class Melting Pot are only average users of digital media. They’re late adopters of most technology and have yet to give up their desktop computers for smartphones and laptops in order to access the Internet. Many use the Internet as a communications tool, going online for chat forums, message boards, podcasts and instant messaging. They also frequent Websites that provide news, business classifieds, real estate listings and sports information of all stripes: fishing, football, car racing or fantasy baseball. They haven’t completely embraced online shopping yet, exhibiting only an average tendency to research products and make purchases over the Internet.