Mother’s Day Increasingly Happy for Millennial Moms
Mother’s Day is becoming more and more important to everyone’s favorite demographic group to opine on: Millennials. Millennial mothers are now a significant group in the ranks of parents-all 17 million of them.
Some 1.2 million Millennial women gave birth for the first time in 2016, according to National Center for Health Statistics data, raising the total number of U.S. women in this generation who have become mothers to more than 17 million.
All told, Millennial women (those born from 1981 to 1996) accounted for 82% of U.S. births in 2016. At the same time, Millennials made up 29% of the adult U.S. population and more than a third of the U.S. workforce (35%).
While they now account for the vast majority of annual U.S. births, Millennial women are waiting longer to become parents than prior generations did. In 2016, for instance, 48% of Millennial women (ages 20 to 35 at the time) were moms. But in 2000, when women from Generation X – those born between 1965 and 1980 – were the same age, 57% were already moms, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey data. (The rising age at first birth is hardly limited to the Millennial generation. It has been a trend since at least 1970 and may stem from many factors, including a shift away from marriage, increasing educational attainment and the movement of women into the labor force.)
And their effect is not just on their ever-growing amount of children. From Forbes:
It has been widely reported that mothers control 85% of household purchases and have a U.S. spending power of $2.4 trillion. Within this segment are tens of millions of millennial moms. In fact 83% of new moms are millennials, according to a study conducted by BabyCenter- they give birth to about 9,000 generation Alpha babies each day.
These new moms spend over eight hours online primarily searching or browsing for parenting advice. And less than one third look for this advice from parenting or baby apps; instead they turn to social media, reading product recommendations from other moms. Forty-six percent of millennial moms trust the recommendations of other parents, compared to 39% of generation X moms. These younger moms are happy providing their opinions and recommendations, and are more likely to do so, citing themselves as key advisors among their circle of friends.
74% of Millennial moms report they are sought out more often than other friends as advisors on a wide range of topics, and have an average of 24 close friends in which to share product recommendations. Aware of the power millennial mothers have in affecting each other’s thinking, companies often connect with those who have a strong digital influence to promote their services or sell their products.
Interestingly, Pew’s statistics also show Millennial mothers are not only enjoying parenthood, but are also confident. One caveat to that confidence though — by definition their kids are younger. In other words, Millennial’s children are yet to — or just starting to — reach the ages that made “Millennials” a famous demographic in the first place: the teen years.
Meanwhile, the millions of millennial who have entered into parenthood are notably confident in their parenting abilities. In the 2015 survey, half of Millennial parents (52%) said they were doing a very good job as a parent, compared with 43% of Gen X parents and 41% of Boomer parents. Millennial moms, in particular, were more likely than other moms (or dads) to say they were doing a very good job: 57% said this, compared with 48% of Gen X moms and 41% of Boomer moms. Millennial dads, like other fathers, didn’t rate themselves as highly as moms on this measure – 43% said they were doing a very good job. By comparison, 37% of Gen X dads said the same, as did 39% of all dads. (The differences among dads are not statistically significant.)
Millennials not only feel good about their parenting, but they also seem to be having more fun with it than older generations. In the 2015 survey, they were more likely to say that parenting was rewarding (58%) and enjoyable (52%) all the time than were Gen X parents (51% and 39%, respectively) or Boomer parents (46% and 39%).
One factor behind these generational differences in parenting perceptions is the fact that Millennials are less likely than parents from prior generations to have older children. Among parents from any generation whose oldest child is younger than 6, about half (52%) said that they were doing a very good job parenting, according to the 2015 survey. But the share who said this dropped to 42% among those whose oldest is a teenager. The same pattern persists on other questions. Some six-in-ten parents whose oldest child is younger than 6 said parenting was rewarding all of the time, compared with half of those whose oldest is a teen. And while 55% of parents whose youngest child is under 6 said parenting was always enjoyable, the share drops to 41% for parents living with a teen.
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