Report: The New Digital American Family

April 12, 2011

According to a new report from The Nielsen Company that looks at family dynamics, media and purchasing behavior trends, American households are getting smaller, growing more slowly and becoming more ethnically diverse than at any point in history. Diversity in all its dimensions defines the emerging American Family archetype, with no single cultural, social, demographic, economic or political point of view dominating the landscape. In short, Ward and June Cleaver have left the building. The white, two-parent, “Leave It to Beaver” family unit of the 1950s has evolved into a multi-layered, multi-cultural construct dominated by older, childless households.

Quick Facts

  • High income families view less TV but spend more time viewing with kids, using time-shifted media four times more often than low income households.
  • Mobile serves as a key source of connectivity within the Hispanic community. They are more likely than the average household to have cell phones with Internet (55%) and video (40%) capabilities and text more than any other race or ethnicity, sending 943 texts per month.
  • African-American media habits are TV- and mobile-centric. They own four or more sets per household and spend almost 40 percent more time watching TV, especially premium cable channels, than the U.S. average. African Americans also run up more mobile voice minutes per month—1,261—than any other group.
  • Asian-Americans exhibit a huge appetite for online media, logging 80 hours on the Internet and viewing 3,600 web pages, 3.5 times more than any other ethnic group.
  • Marriage is so 20th century! In 1960, 72 percent of the adult population was married. By 2008, that number plummeted to 52 percent. The college educated have the highest marriage rates; those with a high school education or less, the lowest rates.

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