The Dinkys (double income, no kids yet) of the 1980s are alive and well in the 1990s it seems. Fewer responsibilities and higher disposable incomes mean that priorities for this age group include buying a new car, taking good holidays and paying off non-mortgage debts.
Mintel, the market analysts, interviewed 1,500 adults aged between 20 and 34 who were in the "pre-family" lifestage. Their findings suggest that, unlike other age groups, 20- to 34-year-olds are optimistic about the future and have adjusted well to today's job-market uncertainty.
One in five singles claims work is the most important thing in their lives compared to one in twenty couples. But a third of 20- to 34-year- olds consider they work too many hours.
Three out of four feel that jobs for life no longer exist and take a more adventurous attitude to work as a result. Four out of 10 say they want to work abroad in the next 10 years, and nearly the same amount aim to develop their own business. This is compared to less than 20 per cent of all adults.
As the millennium approaches the number of adults aged 20 to 34 will decrease. And it is estimated that as many as 20 per cent of today's 20- to 34-year-olds will remain childless. As many as 17 per cent of all pre-family adults agreed with the statement: "I prefer not to have children" and those aged 25-34 were more likely to say so than those in their early 20s.
Angela Hughes, Mintel's consumer research manager said: "Delaying childbirth means that a higher proportion than ever of adults without families will have no one to spend their money on but themselves and possibly a partner.
"A number of factors are combining to create this trend, including the necessity of a dual income to maintain a reasonable lifestyle and better educational and career expectations among today's women."
Without children, this particular social group has more money to spend on themselves.
Men in the pre-family group have a more positive attitude to clothes shopping. But men are also more likely than women to be fashion victims with 16 per cent, compared with less than one in 10 pre-family women, saying they buy whatever is in fashion each season.
There are glimmers of hope for equality in terms of domestic tasks as married or cohabiting men are more likely than their single equivalents to say they enjoy cooking.
Outside the home, however, for this stylish, self-conscious age group, there are great differences in the way the sexes want to be seen. Pre- family women seem to have a more sober outlook on life than men, wanting to be seen as loyal, intelligent, sensible and sensitive. Men, on the other hand, want to be seen as active, sporty and attractive to the opposite sex. Some things never change.
Pre-family Lifestyles: Mintel, 18-19 Long Lane, London EC1A 9HE: pounds 8.95Reuse content