Skift Take

Travel has been democratized over the past decades; U.S. families now spend $150 billion yearly on travel.

Last week we launched the latest report in our Skift Trends Reports service, Sizing, Behavior, Preference: Decoding The Lucrative U.S. Family Traveler Segment.

In our latest report we make use of some of our most recent surveys to profile the U.S. family traveler and identify their characteristics. We look at how shifting demographics are impacting family travel, and illustrate the state of modern families in relation to travel.

Below is an excerpt from our Skift Trends Report. Get the full report here to stay ahead of this trend.

Families, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, include households connected by either birth, marriage, or adoption. The actual ties that bind the family unit — whether traditional or untraditional — are much more difficult to define and measure, particularly in the context of modern society. In today’s busy world, more families are driven by dual-income households.

Between 2005 and 2015, the share of American children with two parents in the workforce has jumped from 60% to 63%. Meanwhile, the share of children living with just one parent has also increased from 32% to 35% during that same time period. The U.S. family travel market has also become much more diversified in terms of ethnicity, particularly with respect to the Latino and Hispanic communities. Latinos accounted for more than 50% of total population growth between 2000 and 2014. The segment as a share of the total population accounted for just under 18% in 2015, up from 16% in 2009. Men and women are also getting married later and having children later.

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“This churning, this turnover in our intimate partnerships is creating complex families on a scale we’ve not seen before,” said Andrew J. Cherlin, a professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University in a recent piece in The New York Times. The main takeaway here is that each family unit is unique, especially today where the number of households have skyrocketed, relative to the overall size.

Directly or indirectly, these shifting demographics also tie in with the changing economics of travel more generally. On the whole, real income per capita has risen with the overall number households in America. The cost of travel as measured by ticket costs has fallen gradually since 1980.  These and other factors have lead to a democratization of travel and wider-scale adoption of travel services.

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Some accommodations brands target unique segments of the family travel market. Home rental brand Kid & Coe is a recent startup targeting the more affluent family traveler, with an inventory of properties curated for families looking for upscale experiences and destinations. While serviced apartments and vacation rentals is not a new concept, travel has in many ways been redefined within the mind of the everyday traveler by companies like Airbnb that focus on local experiences and deep connections with destinations as core to their overall value proposition. Many of these upscale destinations are cities including New York and San Francisco.

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This is the latest in a series of twice-monthly reports aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 100 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep-dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

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Tags: family travel, research reports

Photo credit: A family at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash. While families have grown smaller, there are also more of them than before. Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

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