Pets over Kids? Seems like that is the trend for today’s Millennials, the generation with the highest rates of pet ownership so far.
Recently, Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of “Generation Me,” (a book about Millennials) revealed that pets are becoming a replacement for children for the Millennial generation.
Millennials are traditionally defined as those born between 1980 and 2000, and Twenge found that they are half as likely to be married or living with a significant other compared to generations before. As they look for lifestyles that have flexible working arrangements, less commitment to homes and cars, it seems as if parenthood (to humans) is delayed.
Turns out, according to a survey recently released that over 75 percent of Americans in their 30s have dogs and 51 percent of those in their thirties cats. When compared to general population rates, only 50 percent have dogs and 35 percent have cats. It seems that indeed, pets are becoming a replacement for children.
Citing reasons like pets being less expensive than children and not necessarily needing to have a significant other to have one, pets are more and more the focus of Millennials for companionship and family connectivity.
Millennial men especially look for companionship in pets as 71 percent of those surveyed had dogs and 48 percent had cats. Compared that with Millennial gals, where 62 percent had dogs and 35 percent had cats.
A researcher with the survey suggests these numbers are based on the fact that men typically are more willing to put in the time and effort of taking care of a pet, but women may feel less likely to be away from their pet if they feel they are away from home too much, or if the pet may require too much work.
Over 76% of Millennials surveyed said they would more likely splurge on their pets than they would for themselves, fuelling a $63 billion pet industry with products such as expensive treats, custom beds or custom homes, strollers, clothes and costumes.
Nathan Richter, a market researcher out of Arlington, VA, gives the boom in pet costume purchase credit to the influences of social media. Millennials use technology and social media for almost all aspects of daily life. Buying costumes for their pets allows them to show their ‘baby’ off, so to speak…dress their dog or cat up, take a picture and post to social media–just as one might with a human child.
So the next time you see a Millennial pushing a stroller, or reading “What To Expect…” don’t jump to the conclusion that a human baby is the focus.
You just might get a furry surprise!
[Source: The Denver Post]
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!