U.S. Demographics Shifting to a Multicultural Majority Faster Than Anticipated

The latest U.S. Census results could require c-store retailers to market in different ways.

FAIRFAX, Va. — Demographics in the United States are shifting more rapidly than predicted and could prove to be extremely important to convenience store retailers in several ways.

According to U.S. Census 2020 data, while 2020 marked the official year that the first full generation of 17 and under was a multicultural majority, the Hispanic Marketing Council (HMC) estimates that this milestone was reached sometime in the middle of 2010s decade, years ahead of previous predictions.

This conclusion means that Americans under 35 could be a multicultural majority as early as next year, according to the HMC.

"What was unexpected about Census 2020 is that the non-Hispanic white population declined eight years ahead of what the Census had predicted in 2010," said HMC Research Chair Nancy Tellet. "If non-Hispanic whites are declining faster than anticipated, that means multicultural projections must shift forward."

Based on the 2010 Census, it was predicted Americans under 18 would reach the multicultural majority milestone in 2020 at 50.2 percent, but data from Census 2020 reveals the actual number was 52.7 percent. This means the youth population likely became a multicultural majority around 2015, according to the HMC, with the next group of under 35 potentially reaching this milestone in 2023 and the under-50 segment in 2028, several years ahead of 2010 Census data predictions.

As the non-Hispanic white population declines, its age becomes a bigger factor, revealed HMC. The most common age among non-Hispanic whites in U.S. is 58, according to Pew Research, more than double that of racial and ethnic minorities. In addition, there were fewer white births in 2010 to 2019, an uptick in non-age-related deaths and slower non-Hispanic white immigration to usher in a new era of multicultural America.

If a significant percentage of the U.S. population is multicultural and the multicultural majority is already a reality for those 19 and under in 2022 (aged up from 17 and under in 2020), then marketers need to revise their definition of what constitutes the "mass market," stated HMC.

In addition, proper investment levels must be in line with the enormous opportunity multicultural marketing represents. In fact, only 2 percent to 5 percent of budgets are allocated to multicultural marketing, with Hispanic agencies receiving a mere fraction of what its non-specialized agencies receive, despite Hispanics alone representing 20 percent of the population.

"This is a big wake-up call for marketers who need to put multicultural insights at the core of their marketing strategies. The time is now to invest in in-culture experts and put multicultural marketing at the core of all marketing strategies for those marketing to anyone under the age of 35," Tellet said.

Founded in 1996 as the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, Fairfax, Va.-based Hispanic Marketing Council has championed the Hispanic market in corporate boardrooms and advocated for increased investment in Hispanic marketing strategies, all while ensuring that experts with trusted Hispanic market expertise are at the forefront of this discussion. The association has grown to represent more than 25,000 marketing, creative, research and media executives.