OpenText Data Digest, Oct 16: Millennial Parenting

Time Magazine’s latest cover story on the trends in Millennial parenting is chocked full of data about the way the younger generation—those born after 1985—approaches their childrearing duties. We’re offering some perspective on the issue.

tim magazine cover Time Magazine’s latest cover story on the trends in Millennial parenting is chocked full of data about the way the younger generation—those born after 1985—approaches their childrearing duties. Previous generations may have complained about not having an owner’s manual on kids, but in the Information Age with Google, Millennial couples cannot make such claims. The article states that 58 percent of those surveyed found parenting information available to them overwhelming. Thankfully, we’re offering some perspective on the issue. Here are three data visualizations that anyone can understand. Enjoy!


Not So Young Mothers: Millennials may be young, but are very likely to have children at an older age. Our friend Chloe Effron (@chloefron) over at Mental Floss (@mental_floss) published a new graphic based on the average age of a mother at the birth of her first child for each state. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics was gathered and compared for the years 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2013. The goal was to show changes in the age of the mother and how that might relate to the rising age of couples getting married. The data did have some hiccups. First, Pennsylvania and Delaware stats were based on 2012 information. Florida, Kansas, Rhode Island, and Vermont had already published their data so the totals needed to be averaged into the other states based on raw data. From the Time article, 80 percent of millennial moms surveyed said it’s important to be the “perfect mom.” Most said they feel this way because social media is a “Pandora’s box full of judgment, criticism and social comparison.”

sleep america

Sleep on This: New parents endure many a sleepless night. But new research published in the Journal Sleep Health this week may shed some light into why these Millennial parents can’t catch their Z’s. It may be a factor of what county they live in. More than 430,000 Americans were surveyed about their sleep patterns in the last 30 days. What emerged from the data was that certain regions have a greater population of those who have a hard time sleeping. The counties near the intersection of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia saw the highest concentration of people who have problems sleeping—designated as hotspots.  Ohio, Texas, and Missouri also saw large concentrations of restless sleep. While the study compared notes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, the data did not indicate core reasons for the loss of sleep, nor did it show any insight into what makes a specific county a perfect bedroom community. On a somewhat related point, the Time story points to a trend in parenting where topics over breastfeeding, vaccines and family bed have become hot button issues that incite name calling and fisticuffs. All we are saying… is give sleep a chance!

history timeline graphic

(Un)Structured Time: Forget helicopter parenting, according to the Time article, drone parenting is more like it. The incessant hovering and smothering of activities and affection may be giving the children of Millennials an unrealistic perspective of the world. Some 61 percent of those surveyed say that their kids need more unstructured play time. To that end, we submit Histography. This interactive site uses Wikipedia articles represented as dots to build a timeline that begins from the Big Bang and curates information up and including the present day. Keep your eye on how the dots jumble and then reassemble. “The timeline is continually updated and you can click through to the Wiki page if you want to know more about a particular event, so you can learn a thing or two while you gaze at the universe’s many moments.” This should give the kids something to occupy themselves for several hours.

(Editor’s note: While assembling this week’s digest, we couldn’t help but notice that each of the data visualizations is pink in hue. While October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pink the color most aligned with prevention and cure efforts, the coincidence is unintentional)

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