Unmarried America: How They Get News & Information

August 22nd, 2012

“Unmarried America: How They Get Their News and Information” (PDF) is a presentation from the Voter Participation Center and Lake Research Partners, discussing how unmarried women in America are getting information about policy and election issues, and the ways in which that could affect efforts to get unmarried women more engaged in the political process.

Highlights from Unmarried America: How They Get News and Information:

  • These women are busy, move much more than other voters, feel disconnected from politics, and are often put off by “political information.” Unmarried women are highly skeptical and less likely to trust news sources than adults overall.
  • They are not watching political television channels, listening to political talk radio or reading political blogs. More than seven in ten (72 percent) express moderate to no interest in politics – significantly higher than adults overall (61 percent)
  • The key to reaching unmarried women is reaching out to them through non-political channels and where they live and interact. The information has to reach them where they are, be local, and directly apply to their daily lives even more so than for other groups of voters.
  • Unmarried women get news and information from local TV news, online weather, health and entertainment sites and from talking with others. Eight in ten unmarried women have gotten news in the last month from talking with others.
  • Television, especially local television, remains a dominant source of news for these unmarried women.
  • Cable television is also an effective way to reach these women. Some of their favorite shows air on Lifetime, TLC, TBS, TNT, A&E, and the Food Network.  MTV is important for the never married women.
  • There is a strong age difference in news gathering: younger unmarried women under 50 are much more likely to use the Internet to get news about the election than older women (34% to 9%); older unmarried women still tend to have regular news viewing habits, tuning in for regularly scheduled newscasts; younger unmarried women check in on the news on an irregular basis and are less likely to wait for the “News at 11.”
  • Unmarried women tend to see the news on their customized home pages on the web.
  • These women gravitate toward sites supplying weather, directions, and health information. They look for news they can use – including money saving tips and restaurant reviews. Unmarried women also like entertainment news and websites.
  • All unmarried women rely on information received by word of mouth. Social media is a powerful way to trigger these in-person conversations for younger women; for older women, younger friends and family can spark this conversation.
  • Two-thirds of unmarried women – like adults overall – use their cell phones for more than calls.  But younger single women (under 50) are much more likely (81 percent) than older women (44%) to use their phones for other things than calls.  Texting is a powerful and effective tool for communicating with younger unmarried women.