Sex and the City demographic: does it exist?

The iconic TV show Sex and the City ran from 1998 until 2004. The main characters were women with their changing attitudes towards sex, dating, and being single. Supporters of the show say that it correctly portrays lifestyles of many urban Americans, especially those who are still single in their thirties and fourties.[1] Although the show has focused on many growing trends in the urban America, as well as abroad (e.g. in London)[2], I was surprised to find very little influence of the show on any serious demographic research. Although I could easily imagine lots of people, especially women, leading lifestyles resembling those of Samantha, Charlotte, Carrie and Miranda, I desperately searched for what could be called the "Sex and the City demographic." At the same time, facts speak for themselves: Ø More middle-aged people than ever before are single. For instance, in 2004 in the US, 32.2% of males aged 30-34 and 23.7% of women of the same age group had never been married, 23.4% of males between 35-39, and 14.6% of women, and 17.6% of men between 40-44, and 12.2% women had never been married.[3]

Ø Many middle-aged professionals prefer to move to cities such as NYC and London because these cities can give them greater career opportunities, a better social life and more “buzz”, translating to more opportunities for meeting people

Ø Women´s participation in the labor force has risen significantly since 1979; nonetheless some data suggest that career-oriented women place more value on “sex” (i.e. relationships and having a family) than on the “city” (i.e. a career in an urban setting) and give high importance to meeting men.[4]

Ø There has been a significant rise in divorce rates. US Census figures show that the percentage of Americans divorced between 40 and 54 in 1995 made up nearly 14 percent of the population, up from 11 percent in the eighties.[5]

Ø Young women outnumber young men in urban areas throughout Western Europe. This occurs because cities offer more opportunities for highly paid jobs to males, and as a result, attract women (both skilled and unskilled) interested in finding a professionally successful male partner.[6]

Ø Many urbanites spend considerable amounts of time in searching for potential mates. “The demographic heterogeneity and density of the city also allow for diverse sexual lifestyles and the possibility of mixing with socially distant others, both alternatives that are largely unavailable to many rural populations.”[7]

Ø Thus, cities present environments where search activities are heightened and “potential opportunities (for meeting mates) are stunningly diverse.”[8]

With this in mind, I decided to research "The Sex and the City demographic" as I have a stunning business idea that will fit these people´s needs just right! ;)

[1] Sex and the City, CBC News Viewpoint , March 25, 2004, http://www.cbc.ca/news/viewpoint/vp_binks/20040325.html [2] See paper on the Sex and the City effects in London, UK: Sex and Not the City? The Aspirations of Thirty-something Working Woman, Joanna Brewis, Urban Studies, Vol. 41, Nr. 9, 1821-1838, August 2004 [3] http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0763219.html [4] Ibid. [5] Suddenly Single in the Suburbs, and in Middle Age, Nancy Rubin, The New York Times, December 28, 1997 [6] Sex and the City, Lena Edlund, Columbia University, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 107 (1), 25-44, 2005, http://www.columbia.edu/~le93/sexinc.pdf [7] Laumann, Edward O., Stephen Ellingson, Jenna Mahay, and Anthony Paik, editors The Sexual Organization of the City. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/470318chap2.html, [8] Ibid.