The Second-Decade Mom: What The 2010 Census Says

What a difference a decade makes! Every 10 years marketers get an opportunity to pore over reams of data about their target market free of charge, courtesy of the U.S. government.

This Mothers Day, the folks that collect this data, otherwise known as the U.S. Census Bureau, published some highlights from their survey of the 305,745,538 people living in the United States, 85,400,000 of whom are moms (more or less since this number is actually from 2008 data). What's different from the turn of the century? Lots.

For starters, fewer of us choose to be moms. In 1976, 90% of women by their early 40s had given birth versus only 82% today. For marketers this means there may be fewer moms to target but more aunts, grandmothers and close friends, who incidentally, as we all realize, tend to have higher incomes than those of us raising kids, so not necessarily a bad thing.

Those who choose to become moms, as most of us know just by looking around the dinner table at Thanksgiving, are choosing to have fewer kids, but quite frequently those we do have come as a package deal. Thirty-two out of every thousand births was twins in the study ... the highest number on record ... ever. Surprisingly though, births of triplets and other multiples were the lowest in a decade.

Some key facts that are sure to interest most of us who market to moms is the dramatic increase of fertility in moms with graduate and professional degrees. This demographic group has the highest fertility rate of any educational group. (This, however, sounds a bit odd to me and as a bit of a statistics geek, I would have to do a bit more digging before I would run off and advertise exclusively in Wine Spectator and Architectural Digest.)

Not surprisingly, the number of stay-at-home moms has declined since the recession, but is still higher at 23% than it was in 2000 (21%). This number again might be a bit misleading as those who went back to work because of the recession may be cancelled out by those forced to stay home because of job loss for the same reason.

This seems to be suspiciously true as stay-at-home moms now tend to be younger, less educated and often foreign born. Meanwhile, the percentage of new moms in the workforce has skyrocketed from 57% to 61% in just four years. Looks like it might be time to switch focus from that stay-at-home new mom to the working new mom in your marketing plans.

And in case there are any marketers out there who were plying their trade in 1970 ... it's a different world. The number of single moms has tripled in that time and 38% of those who gave birth last year were going it on their own.

Surprisingly cheap and certainly extensive, the decennary study by the U.S. government is a gold mine of information for marketers. It's not always easy to figure out exactly what all these great facts about moms mean, but ignore this resource at your own risk!

Tags: moms
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