More Young Women Are Saying No to Having Children

By Staff
Friday, March 1, 2024 3:41 PM Men and women have differing opinions when the question of having children arises. Over the past decade, American birth rates have dropped significantly, with many young couples choosing to have children later or not at all. New data, however, shows this desire for children is shifting even more, as fewer women want to have children. 

New figures from the Pew Research Center find that of Americans aged 18 to 34, 69 percent who have not been married would still like to marry at some point, while 23 percent are not sure, and 8 percent do not want to get married. 

There is a battle between the sexes when it comes to wanting children, with 57 percent of men without children reporting they would like to have children one day and just 45 percent of women said they want children someday. 

Many factors are pushing women to choose not to have children. The cost of raising children, health care costs, geopolitical factors, and lack of access to reproductive care are among the reasons women are saying no to having children. 

Marriage is also not a priority for young people the way it was in the past. More than 20 percent of respondents said that marriage was extremely important to them, and only 22 percent said having children was extremely important. 

Careers are topping the list of priorities for young people, with a strong 68 percent reporting that having a job they enjoy was extremely important to them, while 62 percent said having close friends was their priority.

Search Engine Volume May Drop 25 Percent by 2026 Due to AI Chatbots

By Staff
Thursday, February 29, 2024 4:54 PM By 2026, traditional search engine volume will drop 25 percent, with search marketing losing market share to AI chatbots and other virtual agents, according to the report titled, “Predicts 2024: How GenAI Will Reshape Tech Marketing,” by Gartner, Inc.

“Organic and paid search are vital channels for tech marketers seeking to reach awareness and demand generation goals,” said Alan Antin, vice president analyst at Gartner. “Generative AI (GenAI) solutions are becoming substitute answer engines, replacing user queries that previously may have been executed in traditional search engines. This will force companies to rethink their marketing channels strategy as GenAI becomes more embedded across all aspects of the enterprise.” 

With GenAI driving down the cost of producing content, there is an impact around activities including keyword strategy and website domain authority scoring. Search engine algorithms will further value the quality of content to offset the sheer amount of AI-generated content, as content utility and quality still reigns supreme for success in organic search results.

Number of Grandparents Living With Grandchildren Is on the Rise

By Staff
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 2:04 PM The number of grandparents living with their grandchildren is on the rise. A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, titled Grandparents and Their Co-Resident Grandchildren: 2021, shows a stark increase over the past decade. 

Grandparents are taking care of grandchildren at a much older age than previous years. New figures show that the number of grandparents who had grandchildren living with them who were over the age of 60 rose from 46 percent in 2012 to 60 percent in 2021. 

Grandparents are now more likely to be responsible for raising their grandchildren as family dynamics change. Many grandparents have been taking care of grandchildren for more than five years. New figures show this figure has risen from 39 percent in 2012 to 49 percent in 2021. 

Grandparents are now often sharing their homes with children who have children of their own. In 2021, the number of grandparents who had a parent of their grandchildren living with them too reached just over 81 percent. 

The report also found that grandparents who did not have grandchildren living with them were more likely to have a spouse or unmarried partner.

In many instances, however, the arrangement was done so out of necessity. In 76 percent of cases, children under the age of 18 live with a grandparent in households that receive public assistance such as school lunch programs.

Americans Are Turning to Solo Travel Options

By Staff
Tuesday, February 27, 2024 2:36 PM In an effort to find themselves, more Americans are hitting the road solo this summer. In recent years, there has been an influx of solo travel as people choose to set their own itinerary and control their vacations. According to Smoky Mountains, there are several regions topping the destination list, with Prague being the favorite city for solo travelers. 

The average cost per week to visit Prague, including flights and accommodations, is just $844, well below other European destinations. With a low crime rate, it remains an appealing and safe place for solo travelers. 

Among the top reasons for preferring solo travel are not wanting to wait for others, according to 66 percent of travelers, along with just simply wanting to see the world, according to 57 percent of travelers. Others are seeking personal growth and a chance to have some freedom. 

Another popular destination for solo travelers is Norway, where the average cost per week is just over $2,300, however, it is among the safest destinations in the world to visit. 

Hoi An, Vietnam is also a popular destination, deemed one of the safest places to visit, with a crime rate of just 6.25, compared to Lima, Peru which has a crime rate of 84.51.

For those looking to travel to places that offer a wide range of free activities, Smoky Mountains recommends London and Miami which offer both free and nature-focused attractions that are affordable and accessible. 

To avoid danger while traveling solo, Smoky Mountains recommends checking with the U.S. Embassy in that region for travel advisories. Many airlines and government websites also offer travel advisories on safety, weather and health to make travel easier and safer. 

Travelers are advised to use common sense and be wary of safety issues such as petty theft, drugs and scams which can be popular in regions such as Lyon, France and Santiago, Chile. San Francisco, Calif. also tops the list of places to be weary of due to a high rate of muggings, robberies, break-ins and vandalism.

Legalized Betting Is Generating Tax Revenue in the U.S.

By Staff
Monday, February 26, 2024 11:56 AM Legalized sports betting is having a significant impact on local tax revenue in many states. In 2018, sports betting was legalized when the Supreme Court struck down the Amateur Sports Protection Act. Since then, states have been able to cash in on sport betting revenues. 

According to Legal Sports Report, legal sports betting has generated more than $25 billion in revenue for states across America, with more than $300 million total. 

New York saw the highest level of betting among its citizens, at more than $16 billion. This was followed by New Jersey at $10.9 billion, Illinois at just under $10 billion, Nevada at $8.7 billion and Pennsylvania at just over $7 billion, according to Visual Capitalist.

New York also topped the list for tax revenue from legal sports betting, as noted in a recent U.S. Census Bureau report, at $188.53 million or more than 37 percent of total tax revenue and gross receipts. Indiana came in second at $38.6 million, followed by Ohio at $32.9 million. 

A review of the industry in 2021 found that most people who participated in sports betting and fantasy apps were between the ages of 18 and 25. The most popular app was DraftKings Fantasy. 

Though legalized sports betting has curbed illegal betting, experts are concerned that it is leading to an increase in addiction gambling, particularly among the young. According to Newsweek, in 2021 calls to the National Council on Problem Gambling helpline rose 43 percent, meanwhile texts increased 59 percent and chats jumped to 84 percent. Some countries are looking at policies to prevent athletes from marketing legalized sports betting apps and services.

Despite Calls for Equality, Women Are Still Falling Behind Men When It Comes to Compensation in the Workplace

By Staff
Thursday, February 22, 2024 4:00 PM According to the Pew Research Center, in 2022 American women earned an average 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. This was only a 2 cent increase over 2002 figures. Closing the pay gap has been a slow journey, with women only earning 65 cents to each dollar earned by men in 1982. This is only an increase of 17 cents in more than 40 years. 

At this pace, the gender pay gap will not be closed until 2088 according to the American Association of University Women (AAUW). These figures become even more detrimental to women as they enter their retirement years. New figures show that women earn just 70 percent of what men do after leaving the workforce, forcing many people holding onto jobs well into their 70s and 80s. 

The U.S. Department of Labor reports, on average, men are paid $1,219 per week and women $1,002. With less than a high school diploma, men receive $745 per week, while women only earn $594. With an advanced degree, men are paid $1,998 and women $1,546. 

The AAUW report noted, in some professions, women collectively are receiving billions less than they would with equal pay. This was particularly noticeable in the medical field, where female physicians and surgeons were paid $19 billion less annually than their male counterparts. 

According to American Progress, despite the pay gap being illegal since 1963, many companies can still get away with discriminatory practices. AP research shows that it is particularly prevalent in workplaces that discourage open discussion about wages, in a place where employees fear retaliation.

Travelers Are Ready to Hit the Road, But Remain Leary of a Possible Economic Downturn

By Staff
Wednesday, February 21, 2024 1:42 PM The travel industry continues on the road to recovery. A new report from Deloitte finds that passenger throughout was up more than 12 percent, year over year, between January and November 2023. Sharp increases have been seen in the areas of leisure travel which took a significant hit during the pandemic, however, experts are concerned that recent economic woes may once again undo any post-pandemic gains. 

In what was deemed “revenge travel” in 2021, half of summer travelers headed for tourist destinations out of a need to “escape after lockdown,” while others said they were “making up for trips” they hadn’t taken during the pandemic. 

Many travelers are using the opportunity to travel again to splurge, with more than 50 percent saying they were staying in paid lodging. One in five travelers said they now see travel as a priority since the pandemic. Baby Boomers said they were cutting their travel budget in 2023 to spend on an even more expensive trip in the future. 

The report stated that Americans may also be more likely to ride out the financial storm close to home, shortening the length and distance of trips. Many Americans may choose to stay with family or friends.  

It’s expected that younger and lower-income travelers may also choose to stay with family and friends rather than pay for lodging.

“Americans’ recent behavior and attitudes suggest that many place a higher value on travel than they did pre-pandemic. Pent-up demand is likely tapped, but it appears that in 2024, travel will benefit from a more lasting shift in spending priorities,” the report noted. 

“In the event of economic turbulence, travel’s complex nature can offer a silver lining. It provides ample opportunities for travelers to adjust their trips according to their budgets, and for suppliers to adjust their offers to suit consumer demand. Suppliers and marketers should optimize the flexibility of their offerings to make the most of 2024’s prevailing financial mood—whether exuberant or subdued,” the Deloitte report noted.

Climate Change Is Affecting Migration Patterns

By Staff
Tuesday, February 20, 2024 1:45 PM Climate change is affecting more than just the weather in the U.S. Many Americans are now being forced to rethink where they live as storms wipe out homes and make living in certain areas of the county more dangerous and costly. 

Climate refugees are people who have been displaced due to the effects of climate change, whether this is due to changes in weather patterns, damage to land or destruction of homes. 

According to a report from First Street Foundation that focused on Climate Abandonment Areas, there has been more than $2.65 trillion in damage from billion dollar disasters since 1980. 

If the impact of climate change continues, it will become more difficult to find alternative places to live. Nearly 3 million people already live in areas with flood risk levels “above the tipping point.” Meanwhile, many areas have already reported significant flood risk in places where 34 percent or more than 113 million Americans already live. 

Experts believe, most of the climate abandonment areas which have developed over the last 30 years, will continue to see losses in population totaling an additional 2.5 million in loss by 2053. The report noted ongoing climate abandonment will also have a detrimental effect on house values, reduced labor force and falling tax revenues.

Which Employees Are Most Likely to Quit Their Job Over Rigid Return to Office Mandates?

By Staff
Friday, February 16, 2024 5:38 PM When organizations implement rigid return to office (RTO) mandates, high-performers, women and Millennials are the most likely to quit their job, according to Gartner, Inc. A Gartner survey of 2,080 knowledge worker employees from May through June 2023 measured the impact of mandated requirements on employee outcomes among various employee categories. 

Intent to stay at a job among average employees was 8 percent lower with strict RTO mandates. Among high-performing employees, their intent to stay was 16 percent lower with these RTO mandates, double the rate of average employees. Among Millennials and women, the intent to stay was 10 percent and 11 percent lower, respectively.

“Mandated on-site requirements can carry very steep costs for talent attraction and retention. This is especially true for high-performers, women and Millennials—three employee segments who greatly value flexibility,” said Caitlin Duffy, director in the Gartner HR practice. “Often these costs far outweigh the moderate benefits to employee engagement and effort.”

Retail Sales Start Strong in 2024, National Retail Federation Says

By Staff
Thursday, February 15, 2024 2:42 PM Retail sales showed a strong beginning for the year in January, nearly matching December’s busy holiday spending and rising significantly year over year, according to the CNBC/NRF Retail Monitor, powered by Affinity Solutions, released this week by the National Retail Federation. Click here to access January’s retail data.

“January sales continued the strong performance of retail sales in December, which is impressive coming off a record holiday season,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “More importantly, year-over-year growth was solid, showing consumers are still optimistic and willing to act on the spending power brought by growing employment and wages. This is a great start to the new year.”

Total retail sales, excluding automobiles and gasoline, were down just 0.16 percent seasonally adjusted month over month and up 2.34 percent unadjusted year over year in January, according to the Retail Monitor. That compared with increases of 0.44 percent month over month and 3.07 percent year over year in December.

Alcohol Related Traffic Deaths Remain at an All-Time High

By Staff
Wednesday, February 14, 2024 4:07 PM In a country as large as the U.S., the car has become the top mode of transportation. Despite years of education, alcohol and impaired driving continues to be a nationwide problem. Many people are still not getting the message about the risks of drinking and driving. 

Nearly 40 people a day die in the U.S. in drunk driving crashes. This is one person every 39 minutes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

More than 13,000 people died in 2021 due to alcohol-impaired related traffic deaths, an increase of 14 percent from 2020. The NHTSA noted that all of these deaths were preventable. 

More than 62 percent of people who died in crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers in 2020 were the alcohol-impaired drivers themselves. Meanwhile, 38 percent were passengers of the alcohol-impaired drivers, drivers or passengers of another vehicle, or pedestrians. 

In 2020, 229 children or 21 percent of traffic related deaths among those aged 0 to 14 years old were killed in crashes involving alcohol impairment.

People are not just getting impaired from alcohol. The number of people driving under the influence of other dangerous substances is growing. In 2020, more than 18.5 million people aged 16 years and older drove under the influence of alcohol. Nearly 12 million drove under the influence of marijuana and 2.4 million drove with other illicit drugs in their system, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Dating Apps Are a Popular Way to Meet a Partner

By Staff
Tuesday, February 13, 2024 12:56 PM Valentine’s Day is a day to share your feelings with the one you care about. For many Americans, this begins with meeting someone on a dating app. In an increasingly digital world, fewer people are meeting at coffee shops or dances, and more are turning to dating apps to find that special someone. 

According to the Pew Research Center, 1 in 10 partnered adults met their current significant other through a dating site or app.

Data from Statista indicated that Tinder was the top-grossing dating app worldwide in 2023. The app, known for swiping to find that special someone, made more than $808 million in 2023 from its users. This was followed by Bumble, which grossed just over $424 million, and Hinge, owned by Match, which generated $223 million. 

The future of dating apps remains unclear as many people are choosing to live alone. App downloads have been steadily increasing since 2019. This can be due to a variety of factors, including the pandemic and a change in attitudes toward the need to be in a relationship. 

According to Pew Research, 69 percent of Americans are in some form of partnership, with 51 percent saying they are married, 11 percent are living with a partner and 8 percent are otherwise in a committed romantic relationship.

As of 2021, a quarter of 40-year-olds in the U.S. had never been married, up from 6 percent in 1980.

Meanwhile, many Americans are saying “no thanks” to Valentine’s Day or relationships in general. More than 56 percent of single adults said they were not looking for a casual relationship or dating. More than 72 percent of single adults are reporting they prefer to be single, with 63 percent saying they have more important priorities.

Pancakes Remain a Staple of American Diets

By Staff
Monday, February 12, 2024 12:08 PM It’s Pancake Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras, and across America, millions of people will be digging into a stack of pancakes. The event marks the end of Carnival and the beginning of the Christian observance of Lent, a time when Christians are expected to make Lenten sacrifices and observances. Shrove Tuesday, the day preceding Lent, is a time when Christians can use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. 

According to the PM Group, more than 2.5 tons of pancakes are consumed each year. That is equal to 75 billion pancakes annually. It’s believed pancakes were eaten as far back as prehistoric times.

Current data shows that this is growth in the market expected to decrease slightly to 5.42 percent by 2028.

Experts believe this may be due to a variety of factors including a slumping economy, supply chain issues and interventions of governments through higher interest rates. Despite these factors, growth is still expected to remain steady due to consumers looking for more inexpensive and easy meal options at home. Consumers are also looking for additional ways to save money on dining out experiences. 

Many restaurants are tapping into this market and have added pancakes to their menus in an effort to provide hearty and affordable meal options. They also increase profits for restaurants as they are quick and easy to make, while offering some health benefits. 

Packaged mixes remain one of the favorite ways for consumers to eat pancakes, with healthier and more diverse options available, such as gluten-free mixes.

Minorities Own a Greater Share of Nonemployer Businesses

By Staff
Friday, February 9, 2024 3:31 PM Business ownership in the U.S. is getting more diverse. A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that women and minorities own a greater share of nonemployer businesses. These are businesses that do not have paid employees.

According to the report, women owned 11.2 million nonemployer businesses in 2020, while minorities owned 10 million businesses. Despite the pandemic, these business owners saw more than $307 billion and $345 billion in receipts, respectively.

Overall, there were more than 7 million nonemployer businesses in the U.S. in 2020, with a total of $1.3 trillion in receipts. 

Nonemployer businesses are subject to federal income tax when more than $1,000 in receipts is made in a year. 

Overall, there were nearly 33 million employer and nonemployer businesses, with $40.2 trillion in receipts. Minorities owned 11.1 million businesses, with $1.9 trillion in receipts, while women owned 12.4 million businesses, with $2.2 trillion in receipts. Hispanics owned 4.8 million businesses, with $636.2 billion in receipts and veterans owned 1.6 million businesses, with $983.7 billion in receipts.

Is the Relationship Between Parents and Their Young Adult Children Changing?

By Staff
Thursday, February 8, 2024 2:55 PM Most parents of young adult children are highly invested in how life turns out for their offspring, with the majority feeling more proud and hopeful than disappointed or worried as they venture into adulthood. That’s according to a pair of new surveys from Pew Research Center which finds the lives of parents and their young adult children (ages 18 to 34) are closely knit together through emotional and financial ties.

According to the survey results, most parents of young adults (71 percent) say their children’s successes and failures reflect on the job they’ve done as parents. This is especially true of upper-income parents.

Parents are very involved in their young adult children’s lives, the survey noted. Majorities of respondents said they text (73 percent) or talk on the phone (54 percent) with a young adult child at least a few times a week. About 6 in 10 (59 percent) said they’ve helped their children financially in the past year.

Similarly, most young adults are fine with their parents’ level of involvement in their lives: 69 percent said their parents are about as involved in their day-to-day lives as they’d like them to be. About one-in-five (22 percent) said their parents aren’t involved enough, while only 9 percent said their parents are too involved. Majorities of young adults said they turn to their parents for advice at least sometimes on their jobs, finances and even their physical health.