5 Demographic Notes As 2010 Census Nears

Be prepared to see some major demographic shifts, says demographic trends analyst Peter Francese, chief among them the absence of the “average American.”

Here are five things he says marketers need to know about today’s consumer*:

1. There’s no longer an “average American.”

John Doe was the “average American” in a relatively even society where vast numbers of people had the same sort of needs for consumer products and services. There was a significant uniformity of society that has really never been matched.

The 2010 census will essentially put the last nail in the coffin of the “average American,” because he or she no longer exists.

2. We’re now a multisegmented nation and a multigenerational society.

In our 10 largest cities and four states — California, Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii — no race or ethnicity is a majority of the population anymore. The 2010 census form instructions were available in 65 languages. That gives you an idea of just how pervasive this concept is.

Twenty-five years ago, two-thirds of all households were married couples. The 2010 census will show that for the first time in American history, married couples will be a minority of U.S. households. Now, married couples with children make up fewer than 21 percent of all households.

Also, the number of people who live alone is growing to more than 27 percent of households.

The third dimension of complexity is that we are becoming a multigenerational society. The 2010 census will probably find somewhere in the vicinity of 10 million multigenerational households, in which there’s at least one grandparent living with his or her adult children and those adult children’s children.

3. The multicultural shift is driven by immigration.

Of all births in the United States in past decades, well over two-thirds were white non-Hispanics, since they were the vast majority of the population back then. But today, only about half of the more than 4 million births nationwide are white non-Hispanics. So a higher proportion of the younger population — the children and young adults — are African-American, Hispanic, Asian or multiracial.

4. Don’t treat each generation or age segment as independent entities.

It’s essential to address the multidimensional nature of our society today, and more important than ever to know more precisely who your customers are. We can’t assume that just because somebody is 60 or 70 years old that all they’re going to want is a hearing aid or health insurance, and there’s no point in marketing anything else to him.

5. Direct mail will continue to play a crucial role.

Direct mail reaches people in their home and it offers something in writing, in their own language, that is of specific interest. It’s the ideal way to really target a specific part of a population that has a need that is unique for that group.

*Edited down from original story.

via Deliver Magazine

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Published in: on March 3, 2011 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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