The Toy Industry and the Rising Wealth Gap Between Older and Younger Parents

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Perhaps we as an industry need to move away from making sweeping nationwide judgements about products and hot price points.

There is a very interesting piece in The New York Times entitled: "The Age That Women Have Babies: How a Gap Divides America".  The article by Quoctrung Bui and Claire Cain Miller makes the case that the rise of the older first-time parent (late 30's and early 40's) is creating an expanding wealth gap between families that varies by where the parents live and how much education they have.

The authors inform us that, according to research, younger parents reside in rural areas, particularly in the American midwest and south. Older parents tend to live on either coast and particularly in major cities. As the authors put it: "In New York and San Francisco, their average age is 31 and 32. In Todd County, S.D., and Zapata County, Tex., it’s half a generation earlier, at 20 and 21."

Did you know this? I sure didn't. I find it to be fascinating and highly important piece of research for those of us who feed the American family's hunger for great toys.  

It appears that the wealth gap occurs when mothers get their education out of the way and establish careers before having babies. On the other hand, younger mothers may not have the time or resources to build a career.

Perhaps we as an industry need to move away from making sweeping nationwide judgements about products and hot price points and begin curating toy departments that reflect regionally the reality that there are two Americas when it comes to parenting: One younger, poorer and living in more rural areas and the other older, more affluent and living in large coastal urban areas. 

If we do this, we will better satisfy parents at both ends of the spectrum in offering products and prices that meet their relative expectations rather than ours. Its an important article and I think you will get a great benefit from reading it in its entirety. 

 

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