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What Is Consumer Science?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Consumer science attempts to shed light on the various ways in which individuals and families can improve overall well-being. This includes concepts related to how the interactions between people and businesses, government, and the surrounding environment impact daily life. It focuses on choices related to household finances, nutrition, parenting, and education.

In the past, this particular science was referred to as home economics. The concept of home economics focused on individuals and families running an efficient and healthy home by utilizing the resources available to them. Since then, the concept has evolved to include analysis of how various entities, including businesses and governments, can affect consumer well-being.

To help understand the interaction between these various entities and consumers and identify the possible outcomes, someone studying consumer science needs to draw knowledge and experience from several scientific and academic fields. Understanding economic concepts, such as how consumers make decisions and the various factors that affect changes in decision making and business principles, is an important part of consumer science. Psychology, law, and sociology are also important in the analysis of consumer science principles.

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Household finances are one focus of this particular science. This includes analyzing how people spend money, what they spend money on, and what factors lead to a change in spending or saving habits. For individuals and families, the focus is on teaching and educating the community on how to better manage money and stick with a household budget. Businesses may utilize this same information to identify and capitalize on new trends related to household goods and services.

Nutrition is another concern of those involved with science surrounding home economics. Making sure households have access to healthy food sources and are educated on healthy food choices is the goal. Studies in this area of consumer science may seek to identify ways in which businesses can bring in healthy food sources to impoverished areas of a community or nation.

Consumer science also investigates concepts related to improving parenting and education in households and communities. Research may include identifying the factors, both family and community based, that influence successful parenting and education programs. Once these are identified, professionals can help struggling households or communities adopt new processes or initiatives to help improve future outcomes.

The focus of this branch of science reaches across many fields and areas related to individual and consumer well-being. Other fields related to consumer science include interior design, consumer protection, and public policy. In general, anything that can impact the happiness and well-being of an individual or family would be included in the study of consumer science.

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