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Aging members part of national trend
WASHINGTON (11/19/12)--Credit unions' membership is growing older and many of their  strategic plans include marketing to new demographic groups such as youth and Hispanic markets to help stem the tide of time.

The average age of credit union members is 47, but that figure doesn't quite put the dilemma for credit unions into perspective.  The share of householders who are age 75 years or older is now 10%, compared with 6% in 1960, according to the Texas Credit Union League in LoneStar Leaguer (Nov. 16), citing statistics from  America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, which includes tables from the 2012 Current Population Survey for the nation.

Looking at the older end of the demographics indicates the seriousness of the issue, but so does what credit unions themselves are already experiencing.

For example, Sunmark FCU, a $376 million asset credit union based in Latham, N.Y., with nearly 46,000 members, recently told The Business Review (Nov. 16) that it loses more than 100 members a month because they die. Bruce Beaudette, CEO, told the publication that's why he reads the obituary columns every day.  His credit union, like many others, is seeking younger members. (See related News Now story: CUs look to young members to counter aging population).

In 1960 roughly 32% of U.S. households were headed by people aged 30 to 44 years old. That percentage has dropped to 26% today, after a peak at 34% in 1990, says the survey cited by the Texas league. The share of households headed by older adults expanded as the number of 45- to 64-year olds shrank in the 1980s and 1990s but began growing again in 2000 as baby boomers grew older.

Credit unions wanting to take a deeper look at the demographics to determine their marketing strategies also need to look at the  living arrangements of today's households. The survey notes that more older people live alone today. Of those aged 75 or older this year, more than half live alone. That compares with nearly one-fourth of householders under age 30 who do so.

Other findings from the America's Families survey:

  • In 2012, roughly 27% of households contained one person, up from 17% in 1970.  On average, American households contain 2.55 people.
  • The largest concentration of households with five people or more was among the 30-to- 44 age group, who were most likely living with children younger than 18.
  • Married households continue to decline--to 49% in 2012 from 71% in 1970.
  • Households with unmarried couples living together more than doubled--to 7.8 million in 2012 from 2.9 million in 1996. Forty percent of unmarried partners have children younger than 18.
  • The median age for a first marriage today is 28.6 for men and 26.6 for women.
  • White non-Hispanic adults now head 69% of households--down from 75% in 2000.
  • Households headed by 55- to 64-year olds rose to 19%, from 13% in 1990, while those headed by adults younger than 30 dropped to 13% from 16%.
  • Households with both spouses in the work force dropped to 52% from 56%.
  • Stay-at-home parents increased for those with children younger than 15. Stay-at-home mothers increased to 24% from 20% in 1994. However, this year's estimate is not significantly different from last year or from 2007 before the recession began.
  • Ninety-six percent of stay-at-home parents are mothers. However, stay-at-home fathers more than doubled between 1994 and 2012, from 76,000 to 189,000.
  • The percentage of children who live with two parents: 85% of single-race Asian children; 77% of singe-race white non-Hispanic children; 66% of Hispanic children and 38% of single-race black children.
  • Of the 73.8 million children in the U.S., 9.7% or 7.1 million lived with a grandparent.
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