Yesterday afternoon I purchased a very interesting book: "Microtrends: Surprising Tales of the Way We Live", by Mark J. Penn, and E. Kinney Zalesne. Penn has worked as an advisor and polling analyst to major corporations and heads of state for more than 30 years.
In the introductory chapter, microtrends are defined as based on the idea that the most powerful forces in our society are emerging counterintuitive trends that are shaping today and tomorrow right before us.
These trends are due to the power of individual choice (the explosion of choice, actually) which has never been greater. At the same time, the trends are contradictory, for example, people eat more healthful food than ever but Big Mac Sales have never been higher; while people are dating as never before they have never been more interested in deeper long-lasting relationships, and so on.
The authors of "Microtrends" define 75 groups who, by virtue of their daily decisions, are forging the shape of the world. These groups are centered in the book around areas such as Love, Sex & Relationships; Race & Religion, Health & Wellness; Family Life; Politics; Technology; Education; Teens; Leisure & Entertainment, and more.
I've only read the first chapter so far: Love, Sex & Relationships.
Here they describe
a) The Sex-Ratio Singles: for the first time in America there are more single women than ever who are likely to stay that way (all those statements are substantiated by figures, of course). When a baby is born now, there are about 90000 more boys than girls. At age 18, the ratio has shifted to 51 (girls) to 49, because more boys die in puberty. Then the Gay Factor kicks in. They calculate the ratio of 109 million straight women to 98 million straight men which makes 52:47.
b)Women Who Date Younger Men: Despite the fact that age difference doesn't matter in a good relationship and hasn't over the centuries the trend mentioned is approaching the magical 1 percent that will make the group a marketplace of interest. 1 in 3 of 40- to 69 year old women is dating a younger man. According to Penn and Kinney this is due to women's success in the workforce, high divorce rates in combination with longer life spans, more confidence of women regarding their sexual attractiveness, and more.
c) Office Romancers: More relationships start at work and do not have a negative influence on business and morale.
d) Commuter Couples: In America there are 3,5 million married couples living apart for reasons other than separation.
e) Internet Marrieds: A few years ago, dating on the Internet was stigmatized. This has changed completely, people who met on the Internet and get married is increasing. The typical couple are upscale urban Democrats.
Tomorrow, I'll sum up Work Life: The Working Retired, The Extreme Commuters, The Stay-at-Home-Workers, Wordy Women (sounds interesting), and Ardent Amazons (even more).