Blog Demographics and Culture

The Demographic Revolution

The Census Bureau indicates that the U.S. population will become “majority minority” in 2044. At that time, Non-Hispanic Whites will make up 49.7% of the population compared with 25% for Hispanics, 12.% for blacks, 7.9% for Asians and 3.7% for multiracial persons.

But the revolution has already begun. By 2028, the Millennial cohort (18-35) will be a Minority- Majority, and today minorities already make up over 50% of public school classes pre-k through 8th grade

Whether you like it or not, whether you understand it or not, this demographic revolution is already transforming the economy, society and shaping the American consumer’s identity.

Over the past 50 years, the US has received nearly 59 million immigrants, predominantly from Latin America and Asia. These immigrants have fueled the growth of the US population, with the Pew Research Center estimating that “from 1960 to 2005 immigrants and their descendants accounted for 51% of the increase in the US population. Looking ahead, from 2005 to 2050, immigrants and their descendants are projected to contribute 82% of the total increase in the U.S. population.” Immigration is keeping America younger and growing while much of the developed world is facing stagnant population growth and increasingly elderly populations. Without immigration, the Pew Research Center estimates, “U.S. population growth from 2005 to 2050 would be only 8.5%, more on par with that of European nations.”

How does this demographic revolution change the context in which brands are operating? What will be the new expectations placed on brands to win a share of hearts and minds and wallets of future American consumers? The Yankelovich Monitor, which is part of The Futures Company, released a study last year in which they redefine this New America and set out to better understand how this paradigm shift requires a new playbook for marketers.

According to this Yankelovich study, we are moving away from the monolithic WASP cultural block that defined the USA in the past to a new paradigm in which ethnic groups and new waves of immigrants are blending, interacting and coexisting with the WASP cultural block to form a New America. “This evolution is not new, America’s identity has always been in flux,” they say as they point out that diversity goes way beyond skin color and will increasingly be defined by cultural, religious as well as racial sensibilities. These are important markers for marketers to understand and leverage.

What will be the new expectations placed on brands to win a share of hearts and minds and wallets of future American consumers? To answer that question, it’s interesting to take a look at the impact this increased diversity has had on American values. If we compare the fastest growing values among total US with the fastest growing values among Non-Hispanic Whites, we can clearly see how the values of ethnic consumers have impacted our social fabric.

As identity continues to evolve, brands will need to demonstrate how intimately they know their consumer, aligning with their values and identifying with a shared purpose, ultimately moving from a relationship of brand loyalty to one of brand love.

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