Re post February 2012
By Robert M. Groves, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau
January 17 2012
Our country is changing. Unless you understand these changes, your advertising can miss the mark. Here are five findings to remember:
1. The U.S. population is an older one.
The average age is older than in 2000. If you are advertising products or services used by all persons, you may profit from focusing more attention on older consumers. When the baby boomers were young, advertisers targeted them because that was where the numbers were. They are still a major demographic force, just older. Global advertisers can take solace in the fact that the same strategy may work in other developed countries experiencing the same aging.
2. We are an ethnic soup spread throughout the country.
There are proportionally more foreign-born persons in the U.S. than any time since the early part of the 20th century. They are heterogeneous on income, education and lifestyle. With modern transportation, the new immigrants aren’t merely clustered on the coastal big cities, but spread out throughout the country, in small villages and cities. Simultaneously, around big cities there are increasing in minority groups living in suburbs rather than central cities – the suburbanization of minority groups. This dispersion will change the areas experiencing it. We haven’t seen this before. Advertisers need to target these groups with that in mind.
3. The growth of the Latino population is substantial.
They are now dominantly a Mexican population, adding to the Puerto Rican and Cuban populations. Central American groups are increasing their numbers rapidly. Contrary to common belief, most of the growth came from births among Latinos already living in the U.S., not immigration. While Spanish-language is a common facility, there is a growing segment of Latinos who don’t speak Spanish. They are disproportionately a younger population. Because of the heterogeneity on nativity, education, income and language, advertisers will miss the mark thinking of this as one advertising market.
4. Multiracial identification is growing.
Although still a small minority, there are now many more people who consider themselves members of two racial groups. For advertisers, these people may be useful windows into two cultures. If you want your advertising to target multiple cultures at once, multiracial focus group members—who actively live in two cultures associated with their races—may offer great insights to you.
5. Internal migration from the North and East to the South and West continues.
Americans continue to “fill up” the country, evening the spread of the population. This means movement from the more densely filled areas of the North and East to the South and the West. Lifestyles associated with Southern climes, products and services needed in these areas and concerns of those areas should see more prevalence. Advertisers can profit from reacting to these movements.