reader request

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A Brave New World

To the Editors of American Demographics:

I work for a company that sells umbilical cord blood and stem cell collection services. From the information we gathered, we believe there are approximately 4 million births a year. It would be very helpful in our marketing efforts to expectant mothers if we knew what percentage of these births were to women over the age of 30, and even more helpful if we could further break down this group by household income levels. Thank you for your consideration.

Dan Boerger


Advantage Direct Marketing

Berwyn, Pa.

Dear Dan:

Your inquiry could not have come at a more newsworthy time. In fact, it arrived just as President Bush was calling for more funding of scientific research using stem cells from sources other than human embryos, such as umbilical cord blood.

Now, to answer your question: In July, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released preliminary birth data for 2000, which confirms your figure for the number of new births. Indeed, last year there were 4.1 million births, about 106,000 more births than in 1999. Women ages 30 and older gave birth to 36.3 percent of the babies born in 2000, up slightly from 35.7 percent in 1999. Moreover, the CDC reports that in 2000, birth rates (the number of births per 1,000 women) for women ages 30 and older rose to their highest levels in 30 years. Currently, there are 94.2 births per 1,000 women age 30 to 34; 40.3 for women 35 to 39; 7.9 for women age 40 to 44; and 0.5 for women age 45 to 54.

For the income breakdown, we turned to the 2000 Current Population Survey's (CPS) Fertility of American Women study. Of course, the numbers you desire are not available in a nice, easy-to-read report, so we got crunching. According to American Demographics' analysis of CPS data on women ages 30 to 44 who gave birth in the past year, 10 percent came from families with an annual income of less than $15,000; 14 percent had incomes between $15,000 and $29,999; 19 percent earned between $30,000 and $49,999; and 23 percent took home between $50,000 and $74,999. The largest share of this population (34 percent) had a combined annual household income of $75,000 or more. That's what you would call a “sugar mommy.�

John Fetto

Research Editor

Tune In

To the Editors of American Demographics:

I am looking for a comprehensive source that compares the demographics of the major U.S. TV networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox).

Scott Lucas

Research Specialist

Bain & Company

Chicago, Ill.

Dear Scott,

A few companies provide this data to researchers. Naturally, there's Nielsen Media Research, which has had a virtual monopoly on TV ratings and audience estimates since the medium's inception. But there are some additional suppliers of this information that you may want to consider. Two of those sources — regularly used by our own research team — are Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI) and Simmons Market Research Bureau (SMRB).

MRI and SMRB collect their data through surveys of 30,000 individuals, while Nielsen collects its data primarily through “people meters,� electronic devices connected to the television sets of 5,000 U.S. households. Of course, if you're looking for immediate ratings and audience measures, Nielsen is the way to go. It has ratings reports available on a daily basis, while SMRB and MRI publish new data only twice a year. However, if you're looking for more details, check out MRI and SMRB. Both companies are able to link behavioral, psychographic and spending data to media consumption. Nielsen primarily provides only basic demographics. Best of luck in your search.

John Fetto

Research Editor

Fertility Test

Asian and Hispanic women are the most likely to have a child later in life. Figures below represent the number of births per 1,000 women.


30-34 35-39 40-44 45-54
All races 94.2 40.3 7.9 0.5
White 97.6 40.7 7.7 0.4
Black 67.0 32.0 7.1 0.4
Native American 68.0 32.7 7.4 0.3
Asian or Pacific Islander 120.6 60.2 12.7 0.9
Hispanic* 109.0 48.6 11.6 0.6
*Hispanics may be of any race Source: National Center for Health Statistics

TV Viewers

On average, NBC's prime-time viewers are wealthier and more educated than the other networks' viewers.


<$50,000 46% 47% 50% 48% 47%
$50,000+ 54% 53% 50% 52% 53%
Less than high school 14% 15% 17% 17% 17%
High school 35% 37% 37% 37% 35%
Some college 28% 27% 25% 26% 26%
College or more 23% 21% 20% 20% 22%
Men 43% 45% 44% 49% 48%
Women 57% 55% 56% 51% 52%
White 84% 84% 84% 82% 84%
Black 12% 12% 13% 14% 12%
Asian 3% 3% 3% 3% 4%
Hispanic** 10% 10% 9% 12% 11%
1 14% 13% 16% 13% 14%
2 31% 31% 34% 29% 30%
3-4 39% 40% 37% 41% 39%
5+ 16% 16% 14% 18% 17%
*Numbers do not sum to 100 because not all races are shown.

**Hispanics may be of any race.
Source: Simmons Market Research Bureau

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