O52: Urban Ambition

Generation Y singles and single-families established in mid-market cities

Type of Singles and Starters consisting of 1.24% of households and 0.79% of population

Who We Are

  • Aged 19-24
  • Household income less than $15,000
  • 1 person household
  • Renter
  • Very high level of household technology

Key Features

  • Impulsive recreational shoppers
  • Singles and single parents
  • City apartment renters
  • Office workers
  • Technology adapting Video game entertainment


Young singles and single-parents dominate Urban Ambition, a segment of apartment-dwelling households in urban fringe neighborhoods. Many are under 35 years old, half have children and many have some college education while earning low wages from first-time jobs. Their neighborhoods are characterized by low-rise apartments, rental houses, secondhand stores and funky cafes. This is a transient segment of young adults, many not long removed from the bedrooms of their parents’ homes. Nearly three quarters have lived at the same address for fewer than five years.

There’s a lot of pride in these households, with residents vying to create better lives for themselves and their children. They go to colleges and technical schools to improve their employment chances, and they’re always on the hunt for a better job and a larger apartment near reliable transportation.

With their tight budgets—incomes are less than $50,000—Urban Ambition can’t afford the trendiest fashions, status cars or yuppie values. However, they will shop the clearance racks at places like Burlington Coat Factory. They do relatively little traveling and eating out at restaurants. They spend evenings at home being creative in the kitchen, playing video games and listening to music—particularly rhythm and blues or hip-hop. With many households leery of the high cost of city cinemas, they opt to pay for cable TV channels to watch movies and sitcoms. They will occasionally splurge on the latest consumer electronics and cell phones—as long as they can get internet access at a bargain price.

They pick up a variety of magazines to stay current with men’s and women’s interests as well as health and fitness. Online, they are looking for a job, learning about an illness and seeking entertainment. Although these households like ads that help them keep up with music and fashion trends, they don’t rely on them to make purchase decisions. They prefer learning about brands from mobile and online displays and video ads. Resonating themes include those that exemplify a cutting-edge status, offer novelty and a variety of styles and are priced right.

Like other young segments, Urban Ambition is a liberal—albeit politically disengaged—market. Its members vote Democratic and believe personal achievement is important. They talk of wanting to advance in their careers as soon as possible—and not just to gain the respect of friends and relatives. They see money—or the lack thereof—as one of their biggest problems. For these young adults, success can be measured in cash.