The Decline of the American Household

An astonishing report from Ad Age, shows that the marketing landscape has changed when it comes to the American Household. Once the target for most marketers, this study shows the decline of households of married couples with children will have many marketers re-evaluating their efforts. Below is an excerpt from the article on, be sure to click over and check out the data chart that shows the glaring decline over time.

The iconic American household — married couples with children — is now just one in five U.S. households, an all-time low. It’s been a very long time, more than 50 years in fact, since we could say with any degree of accuracy that the typical American household is Mom, Pop and two kids.” The percent of households has dropped in half from 44.3% to just 20.2% while the actual number, now 23.6 million, has remained relatively flat.

The reasons for this trend are many and complex. In short, over the past half century the imperative to marry in order to raise children has gradually diminished. Since 1960 the removal of discriminatory barriers combined with huge increases in white-collar jobs meant that more women were capable of earning enough to support themselves as well as any children they might have. Every decade over the past five, marriage has became less of an economic necessity for women.

It’s more than just a function of an aging population or the number of “married, no kids” would have grown much faster. But over the past 50 years married households with no kids present only grew at less than one-third the rate of all households that were not married couples (104% vs 350%).

There have been both economic and societal consequences to this trend. From a societal perspective the acceptance of single mothers as a normal family type is about as total as it gets. In most places it is illegal to ask a prospective female employee if she is married or if she has children.

read the full article here.

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