Minorities Becoming Majorities in More Places

Discussion
Aug 10, 2007

By George Anderson

If you want to see where America is heading just look to Texas. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Texas has more counties than any state–43 total–where the majority of residents are some ethnicity other than Caucasian.

According to the data from the Census Bureau, nearly one in every 10 counties nationwide has a population where more than 50 percent come from some combination of African-American, Latino or Asian ethnicities.

Eight counties where Caucasians are the minority were added to the list for the first time last year. Of those, three were in Texas (Winkler, Waller and Wharton). The two largest counties where the minority population became the majority were Denver County, Colo., and East Baton Rouge Parish, La.

A number of major urban areas in the U.S. saw the minority population continue to grow.

Harris County in Texas has Houston as its largest city. It also gained more than 121,000 new ethnic minority residents between 2005 and 2006. Of those, 52,000 were Black. Based on the Census Bureau figures, 63 percent of Harris County’s population now belongs to an ethnic minority.

Texas also boasts the county with the largest percentage of Hispanic residents. A full 98 percent of the population in Starr County is Hispanic. The border state has the top 11 states with Hispanics as a percentage of the population, based on Census figures.

Discussion Questions: What impact is the changing face of America having on retail operations? Today, ethnic minority populations are still often separated from Caucasian communities. Will we begin to see that change and what will it mean for retailers trying to serve a more diverse customer base in the future?

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6 Comments on "Minorities Becoming Majorities in More Places"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 9 months ago

Retailers who focus on objective performance measures will achieve better results. Issues of cultural difference are more likely to be dealt with constructively if the right measures are in place, for the staff as well as customer desires.

Roger Selbert, Ph.D.
Guest
Roger Selbert, Ph.D.
14 years 9 months ago
If you want to see where America is headed just look to California. A reasonable expectation is that California will add 3 million jobs, 5 million people, and 2 million households between 2005 and 2015. By 2025 the state’s population will have increased to between 44 and 48 million. It will be slightly older, significantly more Latino, and more diverse in every measure. California’s foreign-born population is about 30%. But the growth of the second generation is accelerating. Among children ages 5 to 14, a full 36% are second generation. New additions to the working age population between now and 2030 will consist largely of the second generation children of immigrants, mostly Latino. So again, the answer to a diverse consumer base is for retailers to be prepared to serve a diverse consumer base. While assimilation and acculturation to the mainstream are still the paradigms of ethnic minorities in the US, what is different and unique about Hispanics is how much they have changed, and are changing, the mainstream in the process.
Laura Davis-Taylor
Guest
Laura Davis-Taylor
14 years 9 months ago
I think one of the most challenging aspects of this is the same as ANY effort to localize and target at the store level. There are many wonderful internal camps that are 100% focused on these multi-cultural groups, but knowing what their target market shoppers want and executing against their desires in-store can be two very different things. Evolved retailers are making inroads here, but many still suffer from store infrastructures, operations and internal attitudes that stifle their ability to customize product, promotions and even simple signage to these multi-cultural demographics. Today, no matter the ethnicity, people want to feel recognized, respected and rewarded. Like all shoppers, they also want to feel empowered. Finding methods to better “touch” these core groups, as well as all of today’s diverse shoppers, is indeed a challenge. I think any of us that work with large retail organizations will agree that this issue, along with any other major change management issues we face, is met with two distinct attitudes: “can do” or “won’t do.” Looking at the industry today,… Read more »
Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
14 years 9 months ago
I am so tired of hearing this question and the pat answers that ensue. If you need a government report to support the contention that the face of America is changing, than it may be time to hit the links and leave the business to someone else. I like to visit supermarkets and other retailers. I like to see who’s shopping the stores, peek at what they’re buying and sometimes listen to their comments. I’m a classic voyeur–it’s my job! By and large, I think many retailers have done an excellent job of addressing the growth of the Hispanic consumer. They have yet to realize that Hispanics are not one homogeneous group, but that’s another question. However, there are other “minorities” that have to be served. Certainly, the Asian population is burgeoning in many areas of the country. This is a tough one since the term “Asian” covers a lot of vastly different consumers. The key is finding out who’s shopping your store. The one area that few have explored is the Indian and Pakistani… Read more »
Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
14 years 9 months ago

It is important for retailers to constantly monitor the local makeup of their service area and offer products tailored to that demographic. When a retailer caters to a specific culture or community, word will spread like wildfire within that community and the store will see growth. I have seen it time and time again for small and big stores.

Bonnie Rubinow
Guest
Bonnie Rubinow
14 years 9 months ago
The fact is that some retailers resist the changes in the ethnic landscape. They hold off as long as they think they can in addressing the changes or put together piecemeal tactics instead of going the distance on a thought-out strategy, and they will find themselves behind the curve in serving (or inviting in) the key communities to their new profits. I find that those retailers who feel compelled to cover Hispanic will sometimes let their General Market agency (who really has done a good job for them in English) do Spanish, as well, as the agency has insisted on doing the Spanish and usually does not want to share any budget. Also, the retailer is comfortable with who they already know. The problem for the retailer in going this route is their agency cannot judge the quality of their vendors they get to do Hispanic because they do not speak the language or, worse, know the culture, and the evidence is all over the media they publish. There is no one to protect the… Read more »
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