NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


November 11, 2009

Reported Missing: the Average American, a.k.a. Jane and Joe Consumer.  Odds of locating: slim to none. That's one of the conclusions of a white paper from Advertising Age titled "2010 America."  Penned by Peter Francese of Ogilvy & Mather, the paper delves into the demographic changes likely to be revealed by the 2010 census and the attendant challenges for marketers.

While data from the census won't start trickling out until March 2011, some trends can already be glimpsed.  First and foremost, gone are the days when advertisers could aim at a single broad demographic:

  • In the 10 largest cities, no racial or ethnic group constitutes a majority; by 2010, white non-Hispanics will make up 80 percent of the population aged 65 and up but just 54 percent of Americans under 18.
  • Also, the county's center of gravity is shifting fast; over the past decade, 85 percent of population growth occurred in the South and West, while the Northeast and Midwest shrank.

The census will also give us a clearer picture of American families than we've ever had, as respondents will have 14 choices to describe their households.  Francese projects that by 2010 the most prevalent household will be a married couple with no kids, followed closely by single-person homes -- while marrieds with kids will tally a mere 22 percent of all households.

Source: Edited by Harry Maurer and Cristina Lindblad, "What the Next Census Will Tell Marketers," BusinessWeek, November 9, 2009; based upon: Peter Francese, "2010 America," Advertising Age, October 11, 2009.


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