R: Aspirational Fusion

Lower-income singles and single parents living in urban locations and striving to make a better life

2.34% of households and 1.46% of population

Who We Are

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

Key Features

  • Single parents
  • Apartment living
  • Status-conscious
  • Budget constraints
  • Digital Media
  • Tech wizards



Aspirational Fusion are a transient group, with younger singles, and single-parents in low-income neighborhoods. Concentrated in older, industrial areas, members of this group are drawn to the affordable, modest apartments where housing values are well below average. In the group’s two types, three quarters are under the age of 45, and nine out of ten households contain unmarried individuals. With nearly two thirds being single-parents, this group reflects the recent lifestyle trend of unmarried couples living together, especially among younger people who feel they are not ready for the financial commitment expected in marriage. Many are trying to raise families on low incomes and tight budgets.

Aspirational Fusion mostly live in satellite cities throughout the Midwest and Northeast, typically in densely packed apartment complexes in places like Tulsa, Okla.; Muncie, Ind.; and Schenectady, N.Y. The housing stock is old—30% of the homes were built before 1939—and often located within an atmosphere of factory noise, litter-strewn streets and industrial scenery. These low-rise apartments and brownstone row houses often serve as an entry point for those who are just starting out or starting over.

Education has not been a priority for many members of Aspirational Fusion. Just under 30 percent never completed high school, and less than 10 percent have college degrees. Most adults work at low-level service-sector and blue-collar jobs in health care, food services and manufacturing. Still, unemployment is nearly twice the national average. Even with many households having multiple workers, their income is less than half the national average. These workers struggle to get by and are always looking to improve their circumstances with a better job or apartment. Just over 30% have lived at the same address for under a year, three quarters for fewer than five years.

In Aspirational Fusion, their active social lives ease some of the burden of their economic challenges. Many like to wind down at home by listening to music and playing video games. Many are also online looking at job sites. Other popular sites include pandora.com and coupons.com.

Despite tight budgets, Aspirational Fusion enjoy shopping but are less likely to shop frequently. They like to keep up with the latest fashion and try to portray themselves as trendy and financially secure, despite their low discretionary budgets.

They prefer to shop at discount stores near their apartments, but they also shop national chains like Abercrombie & Fitch, Aéropostale and Burlington Coat Factory. Only a third can afford to buy cars. These households are music fans who don’t mind splurging on the latest electronics to listen to hip-hop and R&B.

These households barely register when it comes to consuming most media despite being early tech adopters—likely due to their slim budgets. They rarely subscribe to newspapers or magazines other than parenting and women’s titles. They enjoy TV dramas, game shows and sitcoms.

Politically, Aspirational Fusion are a mostly apathetic group. Only twenty-five percent register to vote and they are not joining community groups or donating money to political or social causes.