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April 24, 2001

Americans in growing numbers agree that their homes are not just family havens (79%, up four points since 1998), but that they have come on strong as entertainment centers (78%, up 16 points) and learning centers (48%, up 13 points), according to the study by Roper Starch Worldwide, a leading global marketing research and consulting firm.

"The two visions of home that have changed the most in the past few years involve learning and entertainment," Edward B. Keller, president of Roper Starch, said. "The information revolution, reflected in the proliferation of PCs and growth of the Internet, has perhaps played the most influential role in rapidly reshaping our concept of home."

The changing notion of home is evident over a variety of fronts. More than 9 in 10 describe home as a private retreat (91%, up six points since 1998). Over half see home as a social hub (55%, up 8 points) and a nearly equal proportion describe home as a hobby center (53%, up 9 points). An even bigger jump is mirrored in the number who envision their homes as galleries (38%, up 10 points).

While one in three Americans describe home as a combination office/workshop (30%, up seven points), the work-at-home trend itself has slowed. Rising from 9% in 1982 to 19% in 1998, the share of adults who say anyone in their household has an office at home out of which they work at least part-time has eased to 17%.

Among Americans who choose to alter their homes, 40% redecorated in the past five years and 28% remodeled, both unchanged from 1997. However, the share of people doing the work themselves declined. Those who paint their own rooms dropped to 49%,down sharply from 70% in 1974. Those doing minor electrical work declined 22 points, to 36%, with those doing exterior painting plunging 23 points, to 35%.

The study is based on interviews with 2,004 representative adult Americans ages 18 and older, conducted August 5-19, 2000.

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