O53: Colleges and Cafes

Youthful singles and recent college graduates living in college communities

Type of Singles and Starters consisting of 0.85% of households and 0.52% 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

  • University towns
  • Single adults
  • Bike or walk to work
  • Active lifestyles
  • Politically disengaged
  • Well-educated


Colleges and Cafes live almost exclusively in university towns, but these residents aren’t all college alumni who can’t bear to leave their old stomping grounds. A high percentage of these young singles are support staffers who work on campus or in entry-level jobs close to the schools. These households tend to be millennials under 35 years old with college degrees. Despite a mixed employment base, most of the households have low incomes and they can only afford modest rentals in older, low-rise apartment buildings. The transient nature of campus communities is reflected in the fact that the majority of residents have been at the same address for fewer than five years. Some stick around for the lively street scene filled with funky clothing boutiques, raucous pizza joints and used bookstores. Others are considering applying for an advanced degree.

The diverse populace of Colleges and Cafes creates a wide-ranging lifestyle. They live for the story and are enthusiastic about trying new things. There are households that are into foreign films and classical music concerts and those that visit state fairs and go target shooting. All of these young people are into working out and enjoying weekend games of pickup football, basketball or volleyball. Most of the residents don’t earn much money; nearly three quarters don’t own cars, but they enjoy shopping for designer fashion or the latest consumer electronics. Many shop at discount clothiers and get by on fast food and supermarket takeout. With many of these young people lacking advanced cooking skills, they admit that their favorite cuisine is often fast food.

When it comes to media, Colleges and Cafes have varied preferences. They listen to a variety of musical genres, from traditional country and album-oriented rock to hip-hop and R&B. They’re often too busy to sit down and watch TV but are receptive to brands engaging them when streaming their favorite TV shows. They have little interest in printed magazines and newspapers, but have deep connection with digital media, particularly learning about brands via online videos.

For political analysts, Colleges and Cafes are difficult to read. These Americans tend to have little participation in the electoral process; over half have failed to register to vote. They tend to be liberal in their outlook, though their positions are all over the ideological map. Considering their limited budgets, they are unexpectedly generous with charitable donations of time as well as money. They give to religious organizations and are also likely to volunteer and give to social welfare causes.