Change has been the constant for the US demographic landscape recently. Two major demographic differences since Census 2000 are the growth of minority populations and changes to household composition. Traditional households of “dad, mom, two kids, and a dog” are no longer the norm. Household types are changing and evolving, so it may be a slow goodbye to the household types portrayed in “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Cosby Show”, and hello to a group of entirely different kind of households.
Diversity describes the composition of American households. Husband-wife families remain the dominant household type; however, their share of all households continues to slip—from 52 percent in 2000 to 48 percent in 2010. From 2000 to 2010, the real increase in family households was in single-parent families, up by 22 percent, and multi-generational households, up by 30 percent. Increasing social acceptance of singles adopting children as well as single parents resulting from divorce or having children but never married may account for some of the increase in single-parent families.
Household size tended to increase in areas that gained population from immigration. For example, multi-generational households are part of the tradition in Hispanic and Asian neighborhoods. Parents go out to work while grandparents stay home to care for the little ones. These seniors may be language-isolated with low cultural assimilation rates. The increase of multi-generational households could also be attributed to the Great Recession. Young people have had to move back home when they either lost jobs or couldn’t find employment, or early retirees ran out of money and moved in with their children and grandchildren.
Husband-wife families increased by less than 4 percent in 10 years, and husband-wife families with children declined. All family households increased by 8 percent during 2000–2010 and non-family households by 16 percent. The fastest-growing non-family households, however, are unmarried partners. At 80 percent, single-person households retain the highest proportion of non-family households; however, the increase was less than 15 percent in the past decade. Non-traditional family types are the fastest growing segments of households.
Average household size changed little from 2000 to 2010—2.59 to 2.58—with no obvious change in 2012.
These demographic changes present challenges—and opportunities—for governments and businesses. For example, Hispanic and Asian populations with traditional large, multi-generational households may require dwellings with architectural features that can accommodate each generation. On the other hand, the need for smaller quarters or more apartments for single-person households provides additional opportunities for developers. Local governments may also be challenged to find housing for these different types of households.
In the consumer product industry sector, the difference in household size provides savvy companies with expanded opportunities to market their products to a wider, more diverse group of consumers. For example, the convenience of prepared, super-sized, or smaller packaging of food products answers the needs of various household sizes. Catering to different ethnic and cultural needs can also add market share by versioning these same products to fit different racial and ethnic populations.
For more information about Esri’s Updated Demographics data, visit www.esri.com/demographicdata.