已婚族即将沦为少数派? / Coming Soon: The Married Minority?

已婚族即将沦为少数派?

根据美国一位社会学教授的新书记载,美国单身人口的数量已创下了历史纪录,更重要的是,他们的自由支出也超过了已婚人士。

越来越多的公司已经注意到这一现象,并开始相应地调整产品的设计、开发、推广以及广告方案。

如今,美国成年人的结婚率只有51%。全国3,200万单身一族中,女性占多数,人数约为1,800万。

埃里克•克兰纳伯格博士所著的《单身奏鸣曲:独处的兴盛与诱惑》(Going Solo : The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone)一书对单身生活方式进行了描述,称单身已经日渐成为个人选择,而不是像以往那样,被人们普遍视作是某种社交失败的结果了。

网络时代以及随之而来的全天候工作文化让单身成为更有吸引力、也更易于管理的生活模式,让人在工作、生活和人际关系的处理上游刃有余。

单身人口的增加催生了服务于城市专业人士的时髦产业,街坊里的餐厅、酒吧、咖啡馆、精品店、健身房层出不穷,比比皆是。房地产开发商也被吸引过来,因为美国购房者中有三分之一是单身,他们的需求和有孩子的家庭截然不同。

除了地产商,其他消费品企业也磨刀霍霍,瞄准单身群体大力推销包装食品、酒精饮品、珠宝、餐厅、家居用品等产品。

作者摘录了1957年对美国人如何看待单身的调查结果,结论很有戏剧性。80%的受访者认为,不婚人士要么“有病”,要么“作风有问题”,要么“发神经”。

55年前,美国成年人的结婚率高达70%,所以大部分人会有这种看法也是可以理解的。但话说回来,“有病、不道德或发神经”,这些字眼未免有些过头了吧?时代变化真是太快了!

一个明显的问题是,美国人口这半个世纪以来在这方面的转变和世界其他地区相比情况如何呢?资料证明这并不是美国独有的现象。

在瑞典的斯德哥尔摩,60%的住家都只有一口人。伦敦和巴黎的单身人士也占到总户数的50%(几乎和曼哈顿及华盛顿特区的情况一致)。

台湾的单身贵族已经占到20岁以上人口的42%。

在欧洲国家的市中心,“独居”的比例已经超过美国。印度、巴西和中国的独居比例也在迅速攀升。

这种持续的势头对政商两界领袖都带来了深远的影响。照这个速度发展下去,已婚族可能很快就会变成少数派了。 

Coming Soon: The Married Minority?

A new book by a American sociology professor documents how a record number of Americans now live by themselves, and, what’s more, they spend more discretionary dollars than their married counterparts.

More and more companies are taking note of this phenomenon and adjusting their product design and development, marketing and advertising plans accordingly.

Only 51% of American adults today are married. Of the country’s 32 million singletons, the majority — about 18 million — are women.

The book “Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone”, by Professor Eric Klinenberg, describes the solo lifestyle as increasingly a matter of personal choice rather than a result of some kind of social failure, as it was once widely perceived.

The internet age and accompanying 24/7 work culture have made living alone more attractive and manageable for many, an easier mode in which to achieve a balance among work, life and relationship issues.

The growth in this demographic has spawned hip new neighborhoods for urban professionals which are full of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, boutiques, health clubs, etc. It has also caught the attention of real estate developers, since singles buy 1/3 of all homes in the U.S. and their needs are often different than couples with kids.

Other than real estate developers, other consumer companies sharpening their marketing focus on singles include packaged foods, alcoholic beverages, jewelry, restaurants, home furnishings, etc.

The author outlines the results of a 1957 survey of American attitudes to being single. The findings were dramatic. Of those surveyed, 80% believed that people who preferred to be unmarried were “sick”, “immoral”, or “neurotic.”

America 55 years ago had an adult population with more than 70% married, so it’s understandable that most people felt that was the norm. But still: “sick, immoral or neurotic?” How times change!

One obvious question is how this demographic shift in America over the past half-century compares with other regions around the world. The data suggests it’s clearly not just an American phenomenon.

In Stockholm, Sweden, 60% of households have only one occupant. In London and Paris, singletons number roughly 50% of total households (about the same as Manhattan and Washington, D.C.).

In Taiwan, singletons have already topped 42% of the over-20 population.

European countries already have higher “live alone” percentages in their urban centers than the U.S. does, and there are also sharp increases underway in India, Brazil and China.

The implications of this ongoing trend are profound, for leaders in business and government alike. At the rate we’re heading, married couples may be in the minority before long.


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