Younger, up-and-coming singles living big city lifestyles located within top CBSA markets
Urban Edge are a collection of unmarried singles living in the funky neighborhoods of the nation’s big cities. Found in iconic neighborhoods like Greenwich Village in New York City and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, these city dwellers thrive in settings known for their cafes, nightclubs and arts. Most are college educated, in their 20s and 30s, and living in rental apartments filled with other young transients. They can afford their lofts in gentrified buildings thanks to well-paying jobs in business, sales, the arts and public policy. However, most care less about their residences than their locations near to great ethnic restaurants, chi-chi boutiques, hot music clubs and other unattached singles attracted to this urban meet market.
Urban Edge like to be on the cutting edge of culture and enjoy the energy only city life can bring. They head out to plays, movies and concerts. They like to read books and take continuing education courses. To keep looking their best, they devote hours each week to keeping fit. They’re not just denizens of local health clubs; they also like to escape the stress of their jobs by challenging themselves rock climbing and scuba diving. During the week, they’ll show up for drinks or dinner toting a gym bag and briefcase.
Not surprisingly, Urban Edge are liberal in their outlook. They vote Democratic and proudly support a left-wing agenda. Many do not attend church services every week.
Despite their decent incomes and liberal tendencies, they don’t appear to be fashion-forward shoppers. True, they prefer local boutiques to the national chains, and they’re not likely to drive an hour to an outlet mall, but that’s because most don’t own a car and instead take public transportation. Those who do own cars tend to drive small sedans and sports cars not suitable for hauling palettes of goods from warehouse clubs. Despite living in some of the nation’s most expensive cities, they still like to keep within a budget. Many are financially savvy and have set aside cash for their IRAs and 401(k)s; these young households have already acquired a variety of investments in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and CDs.
Living in typically cramped apartments, these urban hipsters like to go out, and that makes for a relatively weak media audience. They’re not big TV fans, except for a favorite sitcom, old movie or inflammatory documentary. Many are into the music scene and make an above-average audience for modern rock and jazz radio stations. While they read a lot of books, they rarely subscribe to newspapers or most magazines. Most have adopted the Internet as their main source for news and entertainment. Today, the Internet is often the first media channel they visit in the morning and the last one they use at night. They go online to watch videos, shop, telecommute and visit dating sites; one of their favorite pastimes is finding new Websites.
Urban Edge consist of an eclectic mix of never-married singles living in vibrant downtown neighborhoods. They’re mostly young city dwellers, their ages ranging between 25 and 45 years old. Most have college degrees and work in a wide variety of occupations: business, education, science, sales, healthcare and the creative arts. This type of lifestyle has a tradition of being home to beatniks, flower children, gays and public-interest crusaders. Now, it’s mostly a magnet for young, predominantly white singles looking to enjoy a hip and active life before settling down.
Urban Edge can be found living in some of the country’s most well-known city neighborhoods. Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C., Greenwich Village in New York, Lincoln Park in Chicago and Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco all have high concentrations of Urban Edge households. These singles tend to live in older low- and high-rise apartment complexes, funky brownstones and gentrified buildings located near sidewalk cafes, anarchist bookstores and disreputable bars. Although the median home value here is high - more than $360,000 - only a small percentage of segment members own their homes. That’s just fine for this mobile population who express little interest in sinking roots in these lively neighborhoods. A majority have lived at the same residence for fewer than three years.
Urban Edge like to cultivate both mind and body. They read books, visit museums, take education courses, paint and play a musical instrument. They spend a lot of time exercising: jogging, weight lifting, swimming and tennis are all popular. These thrill-seekers also like challenging athletic pursuits like skiing, scuba diving and rock climbing. They travel at healthy rates, too, going to other big cities in the U.S. and abroad. On these regular jaunts, they may stay at hotels or with friends, as long as they have easy access to what the city has to offer.
Like many residents of downtown neighborhoods, they spend their free time in their local stores, restaurants and cultural venues. They head to local bistros for food and to connect with friends; they also take in plays, movies, concerts and comedy clubs. Compared to average Americans, they’re more than three times as likely to patronize bars and nightclubs.
In the marketplace, Urban Edge don’t follow the herd. They avoid mainstream retailers, preferring local boutiques to any big-box store. They like quality clothing and cars that are fun to drive. However, they try to keep within their budget and do not devote too much time to shopping. They don’t like to travel distances to shop or spend a long time browsing. Ignoring most forms of traditional advertising, they prefer recommendations of friends when deciding which stores to visit.
These on-the-go Americans are selective in their media tastes. They’re not into TV, though they’ll often watch a movie, news documentary or sitcom; their favorite cable channels include Bravo, Comedy Central and A&E. They do listen to music on the radio, preferring stations that play modern rock, contemporary hits and jazz. They do read magazines, especially those that cover music, business, computing, outdoor recreation and travel, but they’ve given up on newspapers and typically turn to the Internet for their news.
They're often at the forefront of online trends, using the Internet for entertainment and dating. While they refuse to click on email ads, they do respond to sponsored Websites and links.
Urban Edge have a penchant for risk-taking. They like to learn new things, experience new cultures and try new products and Websites. A third would like to start their own business. They’re comfortable in their edgy downtown neighborhoods and don’t worry about crime and violence. These young people like their lives and enjoy being in the now. They don’t worry too much about tomorrow and think that the future will take care of itself.
In Urban Edge, liberalism has a long tradition. Compared to the general population, they’re twice as likely to vote with the Democratic Party. Nearly half describe their political outlook as “very liberal” - the most in the nation. These active voters are pro-choice and support progressive social issues. And while they describe themselves as spiritual, that doesn’t make them religious, and they rarely participate in organized religion - or any organized groups. They prefer to keep their views to themselves.
Many in Urban Edge make an effort to have a healthy lifestyle. Many work at eating a well- balanced diet. A disproportionate number support homeopathic and alternative medicine treatments. They’re not strict about diet and health, however, admitting that they regularly treat themselves to fattening foods and sweets.
With average incomes topping $75,000, Urban Edge have plenty of disposable income. Although they're typically not building any home equity, they have started setting aside money for investments in IRAs and 401(k)s. They're now sitting on a decent pile of investments - stocks, savings bonds, mutual funds and long-term CDs. Many also have switched from credit to debit cards so they don’t have to pay off any balances - admittedly an issue in the past.
These young singles have also avoided the insurance industry for most of their lives. They will pick up health insurance and life insurance if it’s offered by their employer, but few have coverage in the six figures. With many still paying off college loans, they're often reluctant to go into further debt for homes or cars. While they've made a good start with their investments, these people don’t feel secure financially and seek the help of experts to manage their money.
Urban Edge are digitally literate. They like going online to get work done: banking, travel planning, following stocks and looking for jobs. But they’re also big on using the Internet for entertainment, including listening to Internet radio stations, watching videos and reading favorite magazines. Unlike some young segments, their tendency to use the Internet for shopping or telecommuting is only above-average. However, they do stand out in their fondness for social networking and file-sharing services. Their web surfing also takes them to a number of Websites, impressive in their variety: Amazon, CNN, Expedia, Facebook, Netflix, Weather.com and YouTube. They’re the first to admit that the Internet has changed their lives - and for the better.