The results of the 2010 U.S. Census confirmed that the growth rate of the young generation today and in the near future, is increasingly dominated by Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians. Consider these facts:
- 5.5 million population growth rate of the 18 years old and younger in the past ten years came from these groups so without them, the population of youth in the U.S. would have actually decreased. As Mr. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution said: “of the states that gained people “they owe it to Hispanics.”
- One out of every four babies born is of Hispanic descent.
- Of the total children under the age of 10, 25 percent are estimated to be of Hispanic descent; in the 10 to 20 age group, 20% are estimated to be Hispanic.
- The average age of Hispanics is 27, African-Americans – 30, and Asians – 33; the average age of the general population is 41 years old.
- Of the people turning 21 years old in the next few years, 50 percent are of Hispanic, Asian or African-American descent.
- There are 14.5M Asians in the U.S. today, the fastest growing demographic of any race.
While education level and other social issues need to be considered when communicating and marketing to the multicultural youth, a closer look at the facts presents a balanced view and offers opportunities for marketers today:
- Education Level Progress: From 2007 to 2008 (the first year of the recession), the freshman enrollment of Hispanics at post-secondary institutions grew by 15 percent and African-Americans by 8 percent. For example, Harvard’s latest admissions figures show that 11.8 percent of its new students for fall 2011 will be African-American and 12.1 percent will be Latino. This is thought to be record proportions for the two minority groups.
- Rising Incomes: Over thirty percent (PDF) of the Asian population in the U.S. makes $100,000 or more annually.
- Economic Mobility of Hispanics and African-Americans: Over 10 percent of Hispanics and 9 percent of African Americans make $100,000 plus annually.
- Regardless of income levels, Hispanics are driving consumption growth in many areas; e.g. they account for 50% of the growth in food consumption.
Connecting with these growing populations also sparks business innovation. The young populations of Hispanics, Asians and African-Americans tend to be the trend-setters for the rest of U.S. society. Just take a look at musical genres (regaetton, rap, etc); clothing styles (brightly-colored clothing, Asian designers); literature’s influences (magical realism first made famous by Nobel Prize Winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and now common in many novels); and pop culture in general. Understanding them is a peek into the new mainstream trends.
Current paradigms need to change. New frameworks need to be explored to deal with an increasingly diverse young population; e.g., those who come from disadvantaged neighborhoods, those who share lifestyles with middle-class America, and those who are making inroads into the higher income classes, to name a few segments. Many companies are becoming aware of the growth of purchasing power of these younger generations. Corporations have many opportunities to cater to different segments in a way that is perceived by these young groups as respectful and authentic.
Make no mistake, young people will relate to their own kind first. And yet as the first study of Young Latinos in American showed, the unknown reality is that most Hispanics and African-American youth feel that brands ‘do not talk to me.’ That’s a problem. How can a company cultivate the consumers of the future without relating to them in their own terms?
Start by reviewing your marketing and communications strategies to see if you can understand how to resonate and engage with these young people today so that they can be your company’s future.