Aunts are on the rise! “CelebAunties” like Amy Schumer, Khloe Kardashian, Zendaya, and Godmother Taylor Swift, are sharing their Auntie love all over social media. Aunties are the cool new “it” girl!
In fact, there are now more women than ever before who are not moms but have a special bond with a child in their life - a niece or nephew by relation and/or by choice. While many childless aunts go on to become moms, women have never lived longer before having their first child, or remained childless by circumstance, biology, or choice. If this sounds familiar, it’s not just you, or your sister, or your best friend. In the U.S., 47 percent of women of fertile age don’t (yet) have children. And that’s a steep rise from just 35 percent in 1976 when the U.S. Census Bureau began recording fertility data.
As an aunt myself, I couldn’t find the resources and community I wanted to became more savvy about my role as Auntie to my nephew and nieces. That’s why in 2008, I launched Savvy Auntie®, the lifestyle brand for cool aunts, great-aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. Since then, Savvy Auntie has made it into the global conversation about the importance of the (childless) aunt.
But don’t just take my word for it. Euromonitor International, a global market research publisher, ranked PANKs (see #1 below), Savvy Auntie and the childless aunt, in their list of Top 10 Global Consumer Trends for 2016. That’s right, cool Aunties are trending – globally!
You probably want to know more about this tribe of childfull women, so here are 20 really cool things you probably didn’t know about today’s cool aunts.
Aunts with no kids have our own cool demographic term! Back in 2008, I coined the term: PANK® or Professional Aunts No Kids, for the rising segment of women who don’t (yet) have children of their own, and say they have a special bond with a child in their life.
There are lots of us! One-in-five women is a doting Auntie! In a 2012 North American joint-study by Savvy Auntie®, Weber Shandwick and KRC Research entitled: “The Power of the PANK,” we found there are 23 million PANKs! And these women are just as likely to live in the city as they are in the suburbs. Aunties are everywhere!
We’re still growing! In a 2014 national study entitled: “Shades of Otherhood” I worked on with DeVries Global PR inspired by my book, Otherhood, we found the number of non-moms who say they play an active role in a child’s life to be growing. Now, 80% of non-moms say they play an active role in a child’s life.
Blood is not necessarily thicker than water for these aunts! There are nearly as many Aunties by Choice (ABCs) to friends’ children as there are Aunties by Relation (ABRs). Non-moms say that of the children in their life, 49% are nieces and nephews by relation, and 41% are the children of close friends.
Aunts are pretty young. Lest you think of aunts as blue-haired old ladies, the average age for a childless aunt is pretty young at age 36 vs age 46 for moms.
We’re bringing home the bacon! These modern aunts are more likely to be working full-time than the average woman and earn an annual household income that matches that of the average woman. This is pretty darn impressive considering these PANKs are twice as likely to be single and the only household income earner.
But don’t call us “career women.” While 40% of all non-moms make career a top priority, over a third are focused primarily on finding love. Sure, we have to pay the rent and our careers are important to us. But so is finding love and, for many, having children.
Aunts are cool neighbors! Sure, the aunt with no kids is social. In fact, PANKs more likely than most women to say they enjoy hanging out with friends, dating, using social networks, and participating in sports. Still, you’re just as likely to spot a PANK at a religious service as much as any woman – and PANKs are much more likely to be involved in charity and volunteer work (57% of PANKs vs 48% of all women.)
We’re inviting you over for dinner! Yes, she’s out-and-about, but she’s also a nester. Most PANKs love home decorating, home improvements, cooking, and entertaining more than the average woman.
We’re foodies! Yes, the non-mom is entertaining and cooking for her mate, her guests, even her nieces and nephews (Pizza and a movie at Auntie’s house!) But she’s often cooking and eating for one, so it’s no surprise to learn that non-moms spend 35% more per person/per month on groceries than moms do.
The beauty industry loves us! Non-moms spend almost twice as much on beauty and hair products than moms do. Well, many of us are dating and hosting dinner parties, after all.
Selfish? Not these Savvy Aunties! In fact, the typical Auntie is pretty generous. Nearly half – 45% – have given gifts to parents of the children in their lives to help them out in providing for their kids. Cool right?
Just look how much we spend on nieces and nephews! PANKs are pretty generous with their nieces, nephews and godchildren. On average, Aunties spend $387 per child in their life, per year! And a whopping 76% of these aunts spend over $500 per child, per year. And many aunts have more than one niece or nephew. Still, that’s $9 billion a year spent on the children (and grown children!) we love. Aunts may be secondary caregivers, but we’re definitely primary gift-givers.
Plus, we invest in kids’ education! Sure, that’s a lot of discretionary income spent on fun things like toys, cashmere onesies, and tickets to a Taylor Swift concert or big football game. But it’s not all fun and games. Over a third (34%) of aunts contribute to a child’s education, whether that’s a college savings plan, tutors, or like some aunts I’ve heard from, school tuition!
And we’re off! PANKs love to travel! Nearly half (48%) of us enjoy traveling with our nieces and nephews. In fact, in 2013, Euromonitor International named the PANK in the Top 5 Global Travel Trends. Whether with or without nieces and nephews, non-moms spend 60% more days aboard and take longer vacations.
We’re really happy women! Some believe childless and childfree women are sad, or will one day be full of regret, because we don’t have children of our own. And certainly, those who are coping with biological or circumstantial infertility have moments of sadness and grief. But, here’s the good news. While about a third of non-moms are childfree by choice, and the rest are expecting or expected to become moms, 80% of childless women say they can and do live happy lives, whether or not they become moms.
We’ve got a name for all our Auntie-friends! The “Auntourage!” As in, the proper greeting when a woman becomes an aunt: “Welcome to the Auntourage!”
There’s also cool title for first-time aunts! The “DebutAunt!” The DebutAunt even has her very own celebration: “The DebutAunt Ball.” No doubt, the new Auntie’s priority is to be there to support the new parents and spend time with her newborn niece or nephew as much and as often as she can. But, the DebutAunt is also encouraged to recognize and celebrate her new role in the family. For many aunts, it’s a momentous time! So why not get together with friends (the Auntourage!) and toast (with a DebutAunt Highball!) to becoming an aunt! Raising children takes a village family - and aunthood is #HowWeFamily.
When’s your Auntieversary? Our first niece’s or nephew’s birthday is their special day, of course! But, but that doesn’t mean an aunt can’t quietly, to herself (and her Facebook friends?) take a moment to acknowledge the number of years she’s been an aunt. We call that her “Auntieversary.”
Maybe the coolest of all - aunts have an Official Day – Auntie’s Day®! Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day… and Auntie’s Day! In 2009, I established the day devoted to honoring and celebrating all the aunts and godmothers in a child’s life (and grownups’ lives, too!) to fall every year on the fourth Sunday in July. This year, Auntie’s Day is Sunday, July 24, 2016! It’s even listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events – the official annual list of holidays and occasions. Here’s our tagline: Aunthood Is a Gift. This Day is Ours.
Want to see more reasons why it’s really, really cool to be an aunt? Here’s more!
Originally published on Huffington Post, July 20, 2016
Published: July 20, 2016