InsightPress Release

50% of parents in APAC have questioned their decision to have children, says McCann Worldgroup Truth Central

SINGAPORE — The world is experiencing one of the most profound cultural shifts in how, when, who, and even if people parent at all, according to “Truth About Modern Families,” a proprietary global study conducted by McCann Worldgroup Truth Central, the agency’s global intelligence unit. The research aggregates responses from 55,000 people (parents and non-parents) across 28 markets, uncovering cultural differences in both attitudes and behavior around parenting. The ten markets from APAC that were included in the study were China, India, Japan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Indonesia, and South Korea.

“Truth About Modern Families” explores key themes related to family structure and dives into topics like the complicated identities of parents, the role of technology in family life, new dynamics of family hierarchies, the role of brands, and much more.

Chief Intelligence Officer and President of Truth Central at McCann Worldgroup Laura Simpson said, “Why people become parents, their hopes and dreams for their children, even the very definition of parenting is undergoing profound shifts that the brand community must be aware of and responsive to in order to connect with this coveted cohort. Brands have a unique opportunity to be there for parents as they grapple with everything from the tactical to the existential, but first they must understand them.”


The APAC research has revealed:

  • The ultimate parenting taboo is coming to the fore: Half (54%) of APAC parents say that they’ve questioned their decision to have children, while 65% believe that everyone has a responsibility to have kids.  More than two-thirds (68%) of APAC non-parents are questioning or have decided not to have children, with 1 in 3 having decided not to have kids. Japan (50%), Hong Kong (44%), Singapore (42%) and Thailand (42%) ranked higher than the global average (38%) in non-parents saying they don’t plan to have children.
  • The Fame/Fortune Paradox: A high number of APAC parents (60%) want their children to be famous. 3 out of the 5 top-ranking countries globally are from Asia- India (81%), China (78%) and Thailand at 71%. This is perhaps because being famous is seen as a viable way for young people to move up the socioeconomic ladder. This is in sharp contrast with the West. Only 25% of US parents hope their children will find fame, down from 41% in 2015.
  • The Superhero Parent Ideal: Despite the explosion of social media posts and brand campaigns revealing the “real side of parents’, our research reveals that the pressure to be the “perfect” parent has only grown. 53% of APAC parents say they sometimes feel like other parents are judging them (vs. global average 45%), and 50% say they worry that other parents they meet are better than they are (vs. global average 39%)
  • Fathers get their due but not without increasing pressures: 62% of APAC parents say that men are better fathers than they used to be (vs. global average 55%) but two in every three dads say there is too much pressure for them to “have it all” these days. As the role of dads in modern life evolves in a more enlightened way, it will be critical all parents see their reality reflected in culture. 
  • The Tech Advantage: APAC is one of the nerve centers of the tech revolution and unsurprisingly technology is seen as a net positive in parenting. 74% of Asian parents stated that technology helps them to get more out of family life, higher than the global average of 64%.  Indonesia ranked the highest globally at 87%, followed by China at 85%, Thailand at 83% and India at 81%. A high number of parents also say that it is easier to keep their children entertained these days as compared to the past: India, Thailand, and Indonesia at 84%, the Philippines at 81%, and China at 74%.

Shilpa Sinha, Chief Strategy Officer at McCann Worldgroup Asia Pacific, concluded, “85% of APAC parents say that being a parent is the most important part of their identity. At the same time, they are navigating economic transitions, mounting societal pressures and unattainable ideals, and are increasingly beginning to question the very choice of being a parent that defines their identity.  Brands must spark a new era of more empathetic conversations & supportive solutions that normalize the emerging parenting choices as well as parenting expectations and experiences.”

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