By TUCKER BERARDI
Society is changing everyday, and Millennials are still trying to find their footing in a world where how-to’s and advice becomes outdated really, really fast. They are also less likely to own cars, be homeowners or have kids, according to the Washington Post.
But Millennials are excelling in one key area — pet ownership.
“Pets are becoming a replacement for children,” Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University said to the Washington Post. “They’re less expensive. You can get one even if you’re not ready to live with someone or get married, and they can still provide companionship.”
No wonder dogs in strollers and pet boutiques are becoming such a common sight. Millennials are, for the most part, carving out an untraditional lifestyle for themselves — flitting from job to job in a fast-paced market, prioritizing the rootless reality of moving from city to city for a change of pace and are less focused on long-term financial investments.
Pets are more economically friendly than children, and they can serve as a great source of stress relief, especially among busy college students.
One especially popular aspect of pet ownership is that you don’t have to pay for that animal’s college tuition, which gives pet ownership a leg up on having kids.
Millennials are not choosing pets over settling down with kids because they are lazy — they put a large amount of time and energy into taking care of their furry friends. Pets just make more sense for those still working at establishing their place in the world.
“When you’re preparing for your first child, you’re reading all the books, doing all the research,” Nathan Richter, a partner of Wakefield Research, said to the Post. “That’s how millennials are approaching pet ownership.”
According to Richter, 75 percent of Americans in their 30’s have dogs, while just over 50 percent have cats.
76 percent of all Millennials also said that they would be willing to spend some extra money to spoil their beloved pets — toting that they preferred to buy more expensive treats, “luxury” pet beds and nicer pet toys, while only 50 percent of baby boomers claimed to do the same.
Millennials are also more likely to buy clothing for their pets. According to Richter, this is because pet clothes offer an opportunity to show off a cute picture of your pet and get a “digital stamp of approval” from friends and followers.
At the end of the day, millennials crave the joy of being a caretaker — they just aren’t in a position to jump through all the hoops needed to become “established” just yet. Pets aren’t a cop out — they are an opportunity to love and care for another living thing.
“My dog isn’t my replacement child,” Ali Smith–a proud dog owner– posted on Twitter. “She is my child.”
TUCKER BERARDI is a guest contributor for The Buzz Insider and is a Journalism student at FAU who loves to travel, meet interesting people and find a good story. He is the Features Editor for FAU’s student paper, Social Media editor for Fort Lauderdale’s SFGN and a Blog Intern at Budsies, a custom stuffed animal company.
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