Young couples with children in starter homes living child-centered lifestyles
Promising Families consist mainly of Generation Yers who’ve married, moved into their first homes and started families. With three-quarters under the age of 35, these predominantly white households live in small homes in affordable new subdivisions. In the two segments that make up this group, most of the adults are recently married, new to the workforce and raising young children, who are mostly of pre-school age. In this group, the American dream is characterized by a computer in the family room, a trampoline in the backyard and an SUV and multiple bikes in the garage.
Promising Families are found in the rapidly-growing towns and small cities of the West and South; and one segment has a high concentration living in military base communities like Quantico, Va., Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Most of their homes are modern ranches, bungalows and split-foyer houses that were built since 2000. However, because of their locations on the outer edge of the urban sprawl, the housing is affordable, with below-average values. While they’ve typically been at their current address for fewer than five years, these young families have quickly come to appreciate their safe subdivisions, new schools, abundant ball fields and convenient discount retailers.
The educational achievements among Promising Families members are above average, with one-third of household heads having either bachelor’s or graduate degrees. That level of schooling translates to a wide variety of occupations - from business, technology and the military to science and homemaking. Though most of the adults are earning only entry-level pay, the dual-income households have enough disposable cash to lead rich leisure lives.
In Promising Families, life revolves around young and active families. It’s hard to find a team sport - especially baseball, basketball, soccer or football - which they don’t like. They keep fit by jogging, roller skating, yoga and doing aerobics. These parents are still young enough to enjoy nightlife and - after getting a babysitter - often go out to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and billiards halls. Many keep their kids occupied on weekends by taking them to a bowling alley, swimming pool, aquarium or pool. Casual dining restaurants are popular among these families. At home, they spend their leisure time on the Internet, playing games, listening to music or working on their hobbies (such as photography). During school breaks they travel frequently to domestic beaches, theme parks and the campgrounds where they enjoy boating and hiking.
Promising Families like to shop, though they’re price-sensitive. They like to stretch their money, typically waiting for sales, patronizing factory outlets and heading right to the clearance racks. These shoppers are a strong market for electronics; they buy all manner of video and audio equipment. To chauffeur their kids to extracurricular activities and family outings, they rely on large cars like CUVs, minivans and SUVS. New or used, it doesn’t matter - as long as it’s an import.
Promising Families have only selective interest in media, with most of their program choices reflecting their preoccupation with childrearing. They seem to have given up on subscribing to newspapers and they have below-average interest in magazines. However, they will make an exception for parenting, sports and men’s magazines such as Baby Talk, ESPN, Maxim and Parents. They listen to the radio, especially during drive-time, to stations that offer sports, modern rock, adult contemporary and contemporary hit songs. On TV, they’re big fans of sitcoms, reality programs and animation, especially shows that appear on Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network and Comedy Central. In this group, the parents enjoy watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” almost as much as their kids.
Politically, Promising Families are somewhat conservative and care deeply about family values. They describe themselves as Republicans. Relative newcomers to their community, they belong to few groups other than the PTA and their local church or synagogue.
The tech-savvy families in Promising Families are active users of digital media. They go online for a variety of utilitarian purposes - to buy toys and hobby items, bank, make travel arrangements, trade stocks and get the weather report - and to keep their children entertained at home with music, videos, games and Internet radio. Technology also helps them juggle work and childcare: they’re twice as likely as average Americans to use their personal computers for telecommuting. These busy parents also go online to get information about products and services available near their new subdivisions. Among their favorite Websites are those that focus on sports (espn.com, sportsline.com), classifieds (craigslist.org, usajobs.opm.org) and child-oriented amusement (clubpenguin.com, toysrus.com).