There are times when it can seem like the American life is changing faster than ever before. This is probably isn’t true, since America has seen some big changes over the course of its short history. Whether or not it’s at faster rate than usual, there’s no denying that things in America are changing rapidly, especially for the family. A recent study from Trusted Media Brands highlights some of the ways views about the modern family and diversity have evolved in recent years.
Trusted Media Brands partnered with Kantar Consulting to survey more than 3,500 U.S. families to see how they felt about modern family life, diversity, and the changing behaviors of consumers. This data was used to create the “Cultural Exchange: A New Blend of Family and Tradition” report, the second release in a three-part research series on “The Modern Family”. For the purposes on this survey, “family” was defined as two or more adults living in a household, with at least one being a family member or spouse.
According to the report, (71 percent) of modern family members agree with the statement, “I see the increasing diversity in the country as a positive thing for me and my family.” This number rises to 83 percent when only among multicultural families. As one would expect, nearly everyone (91 percent) agreed with the statement “My family is the most important thing
in my life.” There’s no way to know, but you have to wonder who are the 17 percent of multicultural families who don’t think increasing diversity is a good thing for them or the 9 percent of people who don’t think their family is the most important thing in their life.
The fact that most families agree on the value of multiculturalism is amazing since we live in polarising times. Among the families surveyed, less than half (47 percent) agreed with the statement “In general, I feel that my personal values and point of view are shared by most Americans today.“ This is down significantly from 20 years ago, when more than two-thirds (68 percent) of people surveyed agreed with the statement.
While it may be concerning to see that fewer people agreeing with each other, there’s another way to look at it. As America has grown in diversity and the internet has exposed people to different viewpoints, people may realize that there are more people who disagree with them than they realized. While this view wasn’t explicitly stated by the study authors, it is consistent with some of the other results shown in the report. Using data from the Kantar Consulting U.S. MONITOR, the study found that the percentage of people who are highly open to other cultures rose from 44 percent in 2011 to 58 percent in 2017.
The study notes some of the ways modern families are increasingly open to other cultures. Nearly three out of four (73 percent) of all families with kids in the household agreed with the statement, “I try to educate myself and my family about traditions and celebrations that are different from ours.” Nearly the same amount of respondents (72 percent) agreed with the statement, “My family creates its own unique celebrations.”
The changing viewpoints of Americans can also be seen by shifting attitudes about what constitutes a member of the family. The study found that among millennials, people born between 1979 and 1996, fully half (50 percent) include pets as being part of their family. And for many, the line between friends and family isn’t clear cut. Almost two out of five (39 percent) of millennials surveyed said they consider some friends as family members.
The study also highlights some of the other ways modern family life is different from in the past. The study reports that 64 million Americans (roughly 20 percent of the population) lives in multigenerational households. They estimate that one in three millennials is living with their parents. There are nearly 120 million Americans (38 percent of the population) that live in multicultural homes. There are 13.6 million single-parent households and nearly a million (887,446 is the number given by the study) same-sex couple households.
It’s important to keep in mind than changing definition of family of in modern America. More than three out of five families surveyed agreed with the statement, “I am frustrated by brands that treat people like me as an afterthought”. This sentiment was expressed the most by same-sex households at 68 percent. But even 60 percent of young families get frustrated with they feel ignored.
Business owners and marketers can use these changing views of modern family and multiculturalism to create more engaging campaigns for their target audience. As the authors note in the report, “While the national media and politicians often focus on our differences, American families – particularly those in the Millennial generation – are actively seeking a more positive, uplifting narrative that showcases how people from different backgrounds and experiences can come together. Brands can play a vital role in facilitating connections and highlighting the ways that diversity and difference enhance American family life.”
As an example of how this can work, the report gives the example of 23andMe’s “We are all Connected” ad campaign. Which focused on how DNA kits enable people to make a deeper connection to one’s own culture as well as providing opportunities to explore different ones.
For more recent consumer studies that can help business owners and marketers, read this article on the security concerns of online holiday shoppers.