By Bill Duggan
I mailed back my Census form today. When the results are fully tallied, it will be exciting and enlightening to see how the demographic profile of the country has changed. Our population has likely reached a tipping point. In 2010, births to Hispanic, Black, and Asian women are projected to account for 50 percent of all births in the nation and that percentage will continue to increase going forward. The Census Bureau estimates that minorities will constitute a majority of the nation’s overall population in about three decades and a majority of Americans under age 18 in only one decade. The implications to marketers are now clearer than ever before—multicultural markets are no longer niche or “add on” segments. Rather, ethnic is the new mainstream and marketing as well as work-force diversity must reflect that.
Smart companies such as McDonald’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola, and State Farm are taking note and “leading with ethnic insights” (a line used by the CMO of McDonald’s at a recent ANA conference). It’s hard to believe that there are still companies either ignoring multicultural audiences or targeting these groups with only token spending. Just look at the numbers! The Hispanic population is projected to grow 20 percent between 2000 and 2020 while the non-Hispanic population will grow just 12 percent. And the median age of Hispanics is almost ten years younger than the non-Hispanic population. Plus, household sizes are much bigger—Hispanic households have 5+ people versus only 12 percent for non-Hispanics.
The new Census info should be a game changer. Marketers are encouraged to be prepared rather than surprised by taking a hard look at the demographic data and projections available now.