All Mixed Up

  • by May 21, 2001
All Mixed Up

A recent article in American Demographics, by Alison Stein Wellner, concludes that advertisers can no longer just consider racial categories as if they were discrete population segments, but rather a multiracial and multiethnic society. She says that “marketers will have to (understand) the diversity within each ethnic group.”

The new census data, in the recording of race, allowed people to choose in any combination of six racial categories, instead of forcing them to pick just one. The six racial categories- white, black, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, or "some other race"-yield 57 different possible combinations. The third most popular single race from people's self-selections was "some other race."

Nearly 15 million people characterized themselves as "some other race." 97% classified themselves as Hispanic (not a racial category, but an ethnicity, according to the Census Bureau because Hispanics can be of any race.) Daisy Exposito, chief creative officer at the Bravo Group, N.Y. points out that among 35 million people of all races identifying as Hispanic, 48 % reported their racial identity as "white only," 42 % reported "some other race" alone. Two percent of Hispanics reported their race as black or African American alone. About 2.2 million people who identified as Hispanics reported that they identified with two or more races.

According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at The University of Georgia, and Datamonitor, Blacks, Asians, American Indians and the Latino markets will represent non-mainstream market spending of more than a trillion dollars while. To date, they say, ethnic market advertising expenditures represent only 2% of more than $200 billion in domestic media ad spending.

Felipe Korzenny, principal at Cheskin, Redwood Shores, California, an ethnic research company, opins that "We will soon live in a 'confetti' society, where people will be different combinations of diverse colors." He says that it is this segment that is the future of the United States, because a far greater percentage of them are under the age of 18. "Multiracial will eventually become the rule rather than the exception." says Korzenny.

Read the entire article here.

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