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  • How united are the United States?
  • How united are the United States?
    Alex Proimos, Creative Commons (2011) ©

A cultural snapshot of the United States

How are citizen journalists challenging traditional media? Why are grandparents becoming a more important part of the family? And why are students under more pressure than ever? This Cultural Snapshot uses local statistics and case studies to explore the behavioural norms shared by Americans in 2016.

Location United States

Download the full cultural snapshot here

Culture is notoriously difficult to define. You might know culture when you see it, but could you describe it? For us, culture means the behavioural norms shared by a group of people – the things that are learned socially, rather than inherited genetically. So culture doesn’t drive the desire to eat, but it plays a big part in determining what food you choose.

It’s also constantly on the move. Some aspects of it faster than others. Anthropologist Grant McCracken divides it into ‘fast’ and ‘slow’. Slow culture shifts over centuries, while ...



  • Article image How the role of grandma and grandpa is changing in the US

    Today’s Boomer grandparents have a historically unique role in families and as consumers. Lori Bitter presents findings from her new book, The Grandparent Economy, that reveal how they’re changing spending patterns, adapting to new tech, and sparking a return to multi-generational households.

  • Article image Luvo: earning by learning

    Juggling studying and debt is an increasing challenge for college students in the US, but Luvo is offering a way to alleviate their burden. Its website makes selling notes to classmates easy and profitable, but why have these jottings suddenly turned into veritable gold dust?

  • Article image How Gen X and Y are buying a house in the US

    A fifth of US renters spend more than half of their salary on housing. And with many others pushed towards long-term renting by student loans, an unstable job market or negative financial factors, Gen X and Y are finally stepping on to the property market. How are they going about their house hunt?

  • Article image Teen America: Alpha Achievers

    From Coasties to K-Poppers, the US is home to a range of teen subcultures. In the third of a series exploring Gen Z and Gen Y tribes, Andrea Graham Richeson delves into the overscheduled world of Alpha Achievers. Do these ambitious teens embody the model student and future star employee?

  • Article image How American teens are spending their summer

    Sleeping in, driving around town and going to the beach – this is what American summers are made of. Or at least they used to be. Today’s hyper-driven teens don’t have time to be lazy, instead optimising their vacations and college applications with summer jobs, internships and enrichment courses.

  • Article image Camp No Counselors: grown-ups overrun kids’ retreats

    Summer camp is a quintessentially American experience, forging memories of paddling canoes, swimming in lakes and endless campfires for those that went. Camp No Counselors is bringing back that summer feeling by letting adults overrun kids’ retreats, but what’s driving grown-ups back to camp?

  • Article image Are Latinas the most powerful US consumers?

    In 2013, US Hispanic females had a combined spending power of $1.2 trillion. As their roles at home, in society and in business change, this group’s influence is only set to increase. How can brands use language, cultural heritage and sentiment to succeed with these Latinas?

  • Article image Why Americans, young and old, are heading South

    Drawn to a warm climate, Southern hospitality and economic opportunity, 1.2 million people left the Northeast and Midwest for the Sun Belt states between 2010 and 2013. But how will this mass migration to the South shape America’s urban development, cultural diversity and economic future?