Unstereotypical Suburbs, Sexual Self-Description, Etc.

The gap continues to grow between the real-life suburbs and outdated parodies of them that pop culture serves up. An analysis of 2000 Census data by the Brookings Institution finds that the suburbs of major metropolitan areas “are home to growing numbers of household types traditionally associated with cities”—most notably “young singles and elderly people living alone,” as well as single-parent families. Nonfamily households now outnumber married-with-children households in the suburbs of the 102 largest metro areas. The breakdown of suburbia by household type: 29 percent nonfamily, 29 percent married without kids, 27 percent married with kids, 8 percent “other family” with kids and 7 percent other family with no kids. Meanwhile, many high-growth cities “are becoming more ‘suburban’ in their household composition” as the number of married couples with kids grows compared to the number of “coming of age” singles.

If a female executive complains about the glass ceiling, her husband may hand her a bottle of Windex. So we infer from a survey of female executives by The Leader’s Edge Research. As summarized by WorldOpinion.com, the poll found these women “continue to take accountability for traditional household chores along with their day-to-day corporate responsibilities.” Asked to identify their household’s “primary provider” of various domestic deeds, 37 percent said they do the cleaning, 71 percent prepare the meals and 33 percent handle the childcare.

Amid the double whammy of a recession and an accounting scandal, Americans look askance at the financial industry. A RoperASW poll finds 25 percent have less confidence in brokerages than a year ago (vs. 5 percent having more confidence); 19 percent have less confidence in mutual-fund companies (vs. 9 percent with more); 34 percent have less confidence in credit-card companies (vs. 7 percent with more). Banks managed to buck the trend, with the “more confidence” tally (16 percent) narrowly exceeding the “less confidence” vote (14 percent).

When the economy revives, will big companies undo their austerity measures of the past year? Doubtful. In a survey of multinational-corporation CEOs by Pricewaterhouse-Coopers, respondents said they see staffing cuts and outsourcing not as short-term fixes but as “long-term adjustments to company strategy.” Despite slashing total workrolls, 82 percent of the CEOs said they’d refrained from cuts in research and development. Elsewhere in the poll, 46 percent said their Internet-based sales have been “tracking below expectations.” Hey, if you used phrases like that, maybe you’d be a CEO.

It’s “the new yoga.” And, unlike the old yoga, it yields scarves, sweaters and other woolly warmers. An article in Health magazine declares that knitting is “the latest way to relax” for all sorts of women. Indeed, the “new generation of knitters is young, urban and sophisticated.” So popular is the pastime that “knitting circles” have been springing up. It won’t be long, presumably, before knitting circles turn up in ads that link their brands to the joys of female bonding.

How many Americans would rather read “Takes” than have sex? Perhaps as many as 11 percent of them, since that’s the number who say they’re “not very interested in sex” (see the chart below). That’s just one of the tidbits to be gleaned from a survey by Euro RSCG Worldwide. Mass-transit advocates will be disappointed to learn that the number of Americans who’ve had sex in a train or plane (11 percent) is a small fraction of the number who’ve done so in a car (80 percent). You may look differently at data about the lengthy U.S. workweek upon reading that 23 percent of Americans have had sex in the office (or so they claim). The report doesn’t indicate the extent to which this office-sex demographic overlaps with the 15 percent of respondents who subscribed to the statement, “Sex—or thinking about sex—sometimes interferes with my job.”