Report: Shifting African-American Population


Though many marketers are focusing on how the 2010 U.S. Census will show growth in the Hispanic population, a new study argues that the African-American community presents another great opportunity. The report, commissioned by BET and based on U.S. Census Bureau data, shows that black Americans are both more well-off and more suburban than previously thought.

Overall, the report, entitled “African Americans in 2010,” finds that the black population is growing 34 percent faster than the population as a whole. When the U.S. Census tallies its 2010 numbers, demographers expect it will show that there are about 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. and around 42 million African Americans. But though there are fewer African Americans, the population is changing in ways that make such consumers more attractive to marketers, namely:

• African Americans are nearly six years younger than all consumers; 47 percent are between 18 and 49 years old, which is considered the top-spending age demo by marketers.

• Black households making $75,000-plus have increased 47 percent in the last five years—1.5 times faster than the general population.

• If current trends continue, by 2015 more than half of all black Americans will live in the suburbs.

• Although their population is smaller, there are more African-American households in the U.S. than Hispanic households because the latter tend to have larger families.

• Forty-two percent of black adults have never married compared to 26 percent of all adults. This trend is increasing among younger age groups.

Jacklynn Topping, a business strategist and co-author of the study, acknowledged that there is some bad news as well. Although more young black women are going to college, men of the same age are not achieving at the same levels, by and large. She said, “I have not seen anything that indicates that  is changing.”

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