business news in context, analysis with attitude

Advertising Age reports on a new white paper that it has published that anticipates the results of the 2010 US Census, which is says is likely to say that the “average American” and the “typical US consumer” are obsolete concepts, “replaced by a complex, multidimensional society that defies simplistic labeling."

Among the probable conclusions that the Census is likely to reach:

"This census will show that no household type neatly describes even one-third of households," writes demographics expert Peter Francese, author of the white paper. "The iconic American family -- married couple with children -- will account for a mere 22% of households."

"One fact says it all," Francese writes. "In the two largest states (California and Texas), as well as New Mexico and Hawaii, the nation's traditional majority group -- white non-Hispanics -- is in the minority." And in the nation's 10 largest cities, he writes, "no racial or ethnic category describes a majority of the population."

“"White non-Hispanics will surely account for fewer than half of births by 2015,” Francese writes, noting that next year, Hispanics will be both the nation's fastest-growing and, at 50 million strong, the nation’s largest minority. In addition, there continues to be geographic as well as demographic shifts, as people leave the Northeast and Midwest for southern and western states.

“Our nation will be older and more diverse, and consumer markets more complex," Francese concludes - which will create both opportunities and challenges for marketers since they will have to understand these new consumers and hire members of these growing demographic groups to assure that they remain relevant to their shoppers.

The white paper is for sale on the Ad Age website.
KC's View:
There is a lot of discussion about how the economic downturn is creating changed consumer consciousness that is likely to have some degree of permanence, but those expectations have to overlaid on the demographic changes that are taking place - to say the least, we live in a complicated world, getting more so all the time.

BTW...I’m now beginning to understand why some wingnuts are out there suggesting that people should refuse to be counted in the 2010 Census, that they should not cooperate when they are asked questions because of some weird perception that this is an invasion of their privacy. I suspect that it is not just because of paranoia about the information, but because they really don’t want to know about a “complex, multidimensional society” because it conflicts with their vision of America. Which is, I think, another kind of paranoia.