Commentary

SampleCon 2020 Highlights Importance Of Multicultural Sample

Companies represented at SampleCon 2020, held recently in Atlanta, affect all aspects of survey data — significant, since most marketers now rely on some sort of first-party data, the majority of which is gathered through surveys.

The agenda reflected the conference’s broader vision, with presentations ranging from how to use AI to serve the correct survey to the growing opportunity for cannabis research. However, the choice to have the conference close with a presentation titled “The Future of Sample Is Multicultural” speaks volumes on how the 2020 census will further highlight the importance of multicultural sampling in 2020. 

What Is Multicultural Sampling?

A multicultural sample is defined as Hispanic, African-American, and Asian-American respondents who participate in survey studies. This has become increasingly important as the U.S. transitions into a minority-majority country, and the voice of multicultural consumers become imperative to creating nationally representative samples. 

Census population projections confirm the significance of multicultural consumers as the primary demographic engine of the nation’s current and future growth, countering an aging, slow-growing and soon to be declining non-Hispanic white population. Census statistics project that the nation will become “minority white” in 2045. 

The shift is the result of two trends. First, between 2018 and 2060, gains will continue in multicultural populations, growing by 74%. Second, the aging white population will see modest growth through 2024 and then experience a long-term decline through 2060, a consequence of more deaths than births. 

Because minorities as a group are younger on average than whites, the minority white tipping point comes earlier for younger age groups. The new census projections indicate that for youth under 18 — the post-millennial population — minorities will outnumber whites in 2020. For those aged 18-29, the tipping point will occur in 2027.

This means that to have a representative data set, you must include multicultural respondents into your sample. Furthermore, as you research post-millennial cohorts such as Gen Z, most of your sample must be multicultural to be representative.

Implications for Sample Industry

A recent study analyzing respondent behaviors across ethnic cohorts showed that different cultural backgrounds take surveys for different reasons. Incorporating these insights into your sample strategy is critical for creating a representative sample that includes a large base size of multicultural consumers. 

As the U.S. marches steadily toward a minority-majority country, we must reflect on the implications of not properly engaging multicultural respondents. As we have discovered in political polling,  for example, excluding certain groups can lead to inaccurate data -- which can have a profound impact not only in the context of marketing, but also on public policy.

1 comment about "SampleCon 2020 Highlights Importance Of Multicultural Sample".
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  1. Edward Rincon from Rincon & Associates LLC, February 20, 2020 at 9:56 a.m.

    Great topic for discussion.  Our upcominng book "The Culture of Research" addresses sampling issues in multicultural studies, common sources of bias in sampling frames, and suggested solutions.  The book also discusses the wisdom of using mixed mode methods in multicultural studies to address the limitations of traditional data collection modes.

    It is interesting that despite the significant growth of U.S. multicultural populations, our research industry and academic institutions have been slow to adapt their practices and teaching curricula to better prepare research practitioners to meet the challenges presented by multicultural communities. 

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