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Evidence of Continuing Long-Term Decline in Marriages & Births

In our company’s May 2014 Leisure eNewsletter, we reported on the declining birth rate in America. Then in last month’s September issue, we reported on the increasing proportion of the population that is single. Now along comes research published three days ago from the Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs that finds that these two trends will continue long into the future.

The research analyzed 140 million birth records between 1975 and 2010, a time period that covers five different recessions. It found that women who are in their early 20s during a recession will have fewer children in both the short and long term, driven largely by the number of women who will remain childless at age 40.

In terms of the recent Great Recession, the research estimates that an additional 151,000 women will remain childless at age 40, leading to a long-term loss of 426,800 births, a 2.4% decrease.

The research suggests that the cause will be that men who entered the work force during the Great Recession are likely to have persistently lower earnings as they age, and thus be less attractive mates for women, this resulting in more single women who remain childless.

This was confirmed by recent PEW Research findings that we reported in the September issue. PEW’s research found that the number one and most important quality that three-quarters (78%) of never-married women say they want in a partner is a husband with a secure job.

PEW also projected, “When today’s young adults reach their mid-40s to mid-50s, a record high share (roughly 25%) is likely to have never been married.”

Rebecca Traister, senior editor at The New Republic and author of an upcoming book on single women, says that until recently, getting married marked the beginning of a woman’s adult life. She says that has now changed. “We have now shifted our vision of what a woman’s life path usually entails, and it now entails some period of economic, social and sexual independence.” She also points out that the shift in marriage patterns can possibly be seen as a destabilizing force in society (especially politically).

What this all means for location-based entertainment venues (LBEs), including family entertainment centers, is that there is a long-term trend under way of less births and more singles, including unmarried childless, economically independent women. LBEs will need to adjust to these changing demographics with their mix, design and operations. And when it comes to singles, that segment will include a growing proportion of single women in their late 30s, 40s and 50s, a market with different wants, needs and values than the younger adult market many LBEs now target.

Singles by age 2013To listen to or read an interview with Rebecca Traister on NPR Radio, click here.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 30-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri , has worked for over 550 clients in 36 countries in North and Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Projects the company has produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment, play and leisure facilities. Randy was featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company’s projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment. Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He has authored over 100 articles that have been published in leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker at conventions of over 20 different leisure trade groups. Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter - https://twitter.com/whitehutchinson
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