Marketing to Moms? Motherhood Happening Later or Not at All

July 6, 2010 § 1 Comment

American women are delaying or not having children according to studies from Pew Research Center. These are two interesting trends that Pew Research has reported in new studies out this year.

First-time Moms are older and better educated. Half of mothers surveyed in a new study on the state of motherhood said that parenthood “just happened”. What an interesting statistic! It’s something that I can relate to. My two beautiful and wonderful offspring were not planned; they just happened in the middle of my career and my thirties.   The new study released by the Pew Research Center provides some surprising new information on the Moms of Today, compared with motherhood in 1990.

The Pew study found that new mothers in the U.S. are increasingly older and better educated then they were twenty years ago.  Today, one in seven babies is born to a mother at least 35 years old.  In 2008 there were 4.3 million births in the U.S., compared with 4.2 million in 1990.  The actual number of births has risen every year from 2003 to 2007, when it seem the economy caused a baby bust.  It seems the trend towards older and better educated Moms has to do with careers, advanced education and improvements in medical and fertility care.

More women are choosing to not have a child. According to Pew Research, some one-in-five American women end their childbearing years without having borne a child, compared with one-in-ten in the 1970s.  Among women 40-44, the proportion that has never given birth is 1.9 million women, compared with nearly 580,000 in 1976.  Pew offers up that childlessness has risen in recent decades because social pressure to bear children has diminished for women and the decision to have a child is seen as a personal one.  Certainly job equality and contraceptive methods have factored into this trend.

These two trends are important for marketers.  Too many times marketers tend to portray stereotypes that do not truly identify with their audience.  For those marketing to Moms, there is no one-size- fits-all. For those portraying women in their 40s, it’s certainly must represent the differing lifestyles of women.  Women who have chosen to not have children are extremely sensitive to old social attitudes that assume not having children is about biology and not choice.

Society has changed and marketers must embrace the lifestyles of  strong, well-educated and employed women, both with children and without.

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