Yuppies are young professionals who typically live in in urban or suburban areas. The term “yuppie” is derived from “young urban professional,” which just about sums up the major characteristics of the yuppie demographic. Marketers have been studying yuppies and their habits since the late 1960s, although the term “yuppie” wasn't coined until the 1980s. The term has since spawned a number of spin-offs, such as “buppies,” or black urban professionals, and “guppies,” gay urban professionals.
Besides being typically young, usually between the ages of the mid-twenties and thirties, yuppies are also generally affluent, working in well-paid professional positions which may come with benefits. It is common for yuppies to partner with other yuppies, thereby significantly increasing their purchasing power, and many do not have children, which means that they have a lot of disposable income. As a result, yuppies are closely associated in the minds of many people with the acquisition of new toys, from fancy cars to the latest kitchen equipment.
The affluent lifestyle associated with the yuppie demographic includes well-appointed apartments or homes, nice cars, expensive food, and an assortment of luxury goods. Yuppies are also commonly conservative politically, and they are upwardly mobile, working hard to achieve the goal of rising within the class system. Many yuppies work hard to play hard, putting in long hours at work so that they can pursue costly extracurricular activities. They are also noted for a desire to be perceived as individualistic and unique, a trait which is often exploited by advertisers.
It is common to see yuppies in up and coming neighborhoods, which sometimes causes community tensions, as urban gentrification typically displaces minorities and people in the lower classes. Some people also resent the yuppie subversion of their culture and traditions, arguing that an influx of wealthy people into a community can change its character markedly. Opponents of urban gentrification suggest that it promotes homogeneity over individuality, eradicating the very unique characteristics which might have made a neighborhood appealing in the first place.
In some communities, the use of the term “yuppie” is derogatory, and many people in this demographic resent being referred to as yuppies. Yuppies are noted for their strong individualistic streak, and because many are upwardly mobile, some struggle with class issues, sometimes feeling embarrassed about their rise into the middle and upper classes. Others simply feel that the term has negative connotations, thanks to the lampooning of yuppies and their ilk in the media.