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Using Cakes to Analyse Family Structure in Melbourne

Families have long been seen as the glue that harnesses people’s welfare in today’s society. The family unit has changed quite dramatically over recent years, shifting away from the traditionally viewed perfect family of a married couple and their children to something that is much harder to define. For many members of the community, this change is strongly positive, signalling better care, safety, and support of those in need. But not everyone agrees that these changes are a step forward with some people taking the position that a break away from traditional family structure is actually societal regression. One thing that both groups agree on however is that the easiest way to bring your family together, be it traditional or otherwise is over food, especially cake!

Although couple families with no children were the most common type of family in Melbourne in 2006, cake sales were still up on the previous census. This may be because couple families with dependent children were just as common, meaning more birthday cakes, christening cakes and twice as many wedding cakes! The demand for cakes Melbourne wide was so large that cake shops were hiring new staff to deal with the spike in cake orders. The cake shop spike was not limited to wedding cakes, dramatic increases in birthday cake orders were also noticed. Analysts have suggest that the cake increase can once again be the result of the changing family structure.

Divorce has become much more commonplace in today’s society meaning single parent families with dependents has also been on the rise. It is possible to suggest that children in a single parent family will still be in contact with both their mother and father in some way, leading to the assumption that on their birthday they will receive two birthday cakes, one from each parent. Of course not every single parent in Melbourne is going to buy their child a cake, but the data presented highlighting the change in family structure does suggest that it may be a key influencer in the recent success of cakes shops in Melbourne.

Another interesting statistic which offers a counter argument to the rise in cake sales being attributed to the changing family structure is the number of people living alone. In 2006 there were 1.9 million people living alone in Australia, with that number set to rise to 3.6 million by 2031. This trend suggests that cake sales may in fact reach a peak and start to steadily decline as we move into the sad lonely future. What do you think? Are we going to be lucky enough to share our birthday cake in the parks of Melbourne for many years to come or are we going to be sitting in a dark room singing happy birthday to ourselves?

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