Eco-Friendly Parents: Demographic Analysis
While there was very limited information on the demographics of eco-friendly parents in the United States, the research team used the available information on the demographics of eco-friendly consumers to provide a proxy analysis: A typical eco-friendly American parent is likely to be a white millennial with high income and education levels.
- While a Hitwise research found that the eco-friendly audience is more likely to be older than 45 years, a report by The Toy Association suggests that it is millennial parents who are more inclined towards eco-friendly products.
- According to research by ProdigyWorks and The Toy Association, millennial parents' preference for sustainable products is a reflection of the generation's "values to live more sustainably."
- The IISD report corroborates the findings by The Toy Association by stating that most eco-friendly Americans who are young adults being influenced by their children.
Location and Ethnicity
- According to Hitwise, Massachusetts and Maryland were the states with the highest numbers of green consumers. Assuming that the number of green parents is directly proportional to the overall number green consumers, then these states would be among the top locations for eco-friendly parents.
- According to World Population Review, Maryland and Massachusetts are both predominantly White states, which could be an indication that the majority of eco-friendly parents are white. Also, the majority of the population in both states live in urban areas.
- According to The Balance SMB, 81% U.S. families with children purchase organic food at least periodically.
- According to the Hitwise survey, 81% of the audience that identify as eco-friendly, including parents with children, make an effort to recycle with 72% feeling obligated to do so.
- They also showed a fondness for technology and, surprisingly, most (60%) like to drive, which conflicts with their eco-friendly lifestyle.
Education and Income
- Based on data by several reports, including one from Nielsen, it is apparent that eco-friendly products are more expensive than conventional goods, and eco-friendly consumers have to pay more. Thus, eco-friendly parents would have to be high-income Americans to afford eco-friendly products for themselves and their children.
- According to data by the Current Population Survey, the higher the education level, the higher the income level in the United States. That would mean that eco-friendly parents are likely to be moderately to highly educated.
- The IISD report corroborates these assumptions by stating that most green consumers have high spending abilities and are intellectual/highly educated. Notably, the BioResources study conducted in Turkey also had similar findings.
Our initial research for the demographics of eco-friendly parents in the United States began by scouring through the public domain for any reports, articles, studies, or publications that could directly provide insights into the average age, lifestyle, education, income, location in the U.S., and ethnicity of the typical eco-friendly parent. Our efforts produced various reports that provided high-level insights that could be used to triangulate the age, lifestyle, and location of eco-friendly parents - from resources such as Hitwise (an online analytics site), The Toy Association (a nonprofit), and The Balance SMB (an entrepreneurship-focused site). However, these resources did not provide enough information that could enable us to build a robust analysis. Also, the information on the ethnicity of eco-friendly parent was unavailable.
We continued our research targeting research and survey resources such as Mintel, Nielsen, and Pew Research, among others. We also looked at eco-focused analytics resources such as the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Environment America, as well as environment-focused publications such as The Ecologist. Additionally, the research explored publications that provided research reports or scientific journals. Our hope was that these resources had conducted research on the subject and/or provided information on related research that could provide relevant insights. While our efforts produced reports from Nielsen, SurveyMonkey, and others, they focused on sustainability practices among millennials as well as inter-generational comparisons. Notably, we found an older report by the IISD that provided a high-level overview that corroborated the information provided by the resources discovered in our first strategy, and added insights on the income and education levels. We found a relevant identical report from scientific journals (ResearchGate and BioResources), but they were for a study conducted in Turkey.
Next, the research team focused on exploring parenting/family-focused sites such as CafeMom and Babble, as well as parenting magazines including Parents Magazine. These resources only provided advice on how to develop and sustain eco-friendly parenting. We also looked for any reports from marketing analytics/news resources such as Adweek and Adage in the hope that they had provided insights on the demographic of eco-friendly parents for the benefit of marketers. We could only find information on the consumer preference for sustainable products, especially among millennial consumers.
Therefore, the research team decided to build/triangulate a proxy analysis of the demographic profile of the typical eco-friendly parent in the United States using the information on the demographic of eco-friendly Americans from the available resources on eco-friendly consumerism; though, high-level at most points. Due to the limited data, we have also included insights from the older IISD report to bolster our useful findings.
Unfortunately, there was no information on the ethnicity of eco-friendly parents and we made assumptions using the triangulated information on the location of eco-friendly parents. It is possible that research on the subject has not been conducted since, as Hitwise reports, eco-friendly consumers are "less likely to be parents, with only 38% having one or more children."