US Singles: The New Nuclear Family

May 30, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Boomers & Older | Household Income | Media & Entertainment | Men | Radio | Television | Women

America’s 89.6 million singles head over half of America’s households – 50.3%, according to the 2006 US Census – and they have a love of media and socializing that can reward marketers who realistically depict the unmarried lifestyle, according to a recent report.

More racially diverse than the overall population, singles are also younger – 57% are less than 45 years old, and four in ten are younger than 35, according to “Singles in the US: the New Nuclear Family,” a report from market research publisher Packaged Facts, a division of


Some other major findings from the report: 

Unmarried adults – those never-married, divorced, widowed, or separated – share generational similarities: Younger singles are comfortable with technology, for example, while older singles focus on luxury.

About a quarter of singles are Boomers – “a lucrative and receptive market for a variety of products, especially experience-oriented travel, luxurious or anti-aging personal care products, spas and mind-body services, and products for their grandchildren,” according to the report.

The most significant unmarried sub-group, single parents, enjoy shopping and sharing their children’s entertainment, according to the report. And single moms, despite earning a whopping 66% less than their male counterparts, concentrate more on providing for their kids materially and emotionally.

Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than Whites or Asians to be single: More than six out of ten Blacks are unmarried, and almost one in ten Blacks lives alone with children, according to the report.


Gays and lesbians are also a significant segment of the single population (approximately 9%), though not necessarily by choice, since most states don’t allow same-sex marriage.

Singles are more likely than married adults to watch TV, especially cable. Also, they are much more likely to go to the movies frequently and buy or rent DVDs. They are more receptive to advertising on TV, and single parents are especially open to marketing and advertising.


Single parents are also big radio listeners and more likely than other adults to listen to radio online or on the Music Choice cable network.

Some additional data from the report:

  • Just under half (49%) of single adults are employed full-time, compared with 56% of married adults.
  • Single men have higher average incomes than single women: a mean of $64,397 for vs. $51,523.
  • Single women with children at home earn significantly less than male counterparts – a mean of $36,330 vs. $54,929.


“Singles in the US: the New Nuclear Family” is based on primary and secondary research, including a Packaged Facts study of how singles are portrayed in advertising. The analysis of consumer demographics derives from Simmons Market Research Bureau survey data for fall 2006. The data have been derived from the National Consumer Survey Fall 2006 survey based on a sample of 24,686 U.S. adults who represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the US adult population.

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