R67: Passionate Parents

Young, single parents with cost-conscious mindsets in second-city apartments

Type of Aspirational Fusion consisting of 0.95% of households and 0.68% 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

  • Single parents
  • City living
  • Cable TV
  • Ambitious
  • Cash not credit
  • Shopping as entertainment


Life can be a struggle for Passionate Parents, a transient segment of young singles and single-parents in the nation’s second-tier cities. This segment faces stiff economic challenges. Almost 30 percent never graduated high school, the average income is one of the lowest in the nation and more than half of household heads are single-parents. Of these relatively young adults, over 50 percent are under the age of 35.

Passionate Parents are found throughout the eastern half of the US, especially in second-tier cities in the Midwest and South. More than nine in ten households rent apartments, typically in old buildings and duplexes built in the first half of the last century, many of which are showing their age. However, that’s all they can afford because of their low-paying service- sector jobs as restaurant workers and school aides. Few talk of spending their lives in these settings filled with transient residents; nearly 60 percent have been at the same address for less than 3 years.

In this financially-challenged segment, most residents lead modest lifestyles. If they want to get exercise, they generally go to a park or playground for a pickup game of basketball. They’re unlikely to splurge on cars or travel. Many members spend their evenings at home just to save money. However, to keep their kids entertained, they often go over-budget to get cable channels and new toys. Residents are extremely receptive to online media and they listen to urban radio stations and watch a lot of TV.

As consumers, Passionate Parents like the latest fashion and hippest styles, but they can only afford the apparel at discount shops and the clearance racks at pricier chains. They splurge at places like Kmart and Foot Locker.

Many members of Passionate Parents aren’t satisfied with their lifestyle. They want to get a better job, advance in their careers and be better providers for their kids. Some may take adult education courses to improve their lives, and have the support of their church. Although they’ve only lived in their neighborhoods a short time, they tell researchers that they still want to improve their communities as volunteers.