Categorías: Latino News
Census 2010 Shines Light On A Nation In Transformation
Published: 22/3/11 a las 9:15AM
On April 1st, U.S. Census Director Robert Groves will officially announce the results of the 2010 Census. But the social, economic and cultural ramifications of the data are already reshaping how Americans see themselves and their country, and rattling the cages of those who would rather hold on to outdated notions of who we are and where we are going. On March 23rd, in a concerted effort to communicate the significance and relevance of census data to the business community, Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves will address hundreds of top marketing and advertising executives at a conference by the Advertising Research Foundation in New York City. The following day, the Bureau will release final numbers for state redistricting and 2010 Census Briefs on population distribution and race and ethnicity.
While the final census tallies will not be released until next month, early estimates and projections confirm America's continuing evolution into a multicultural nation where no single race or ethnicity represents a numeric majority. At the same time, thanks to the exploding buying power of Hispanics and other groups, up to 100% of the growth for many U.S. companies is already coming from multicultural consumer markets. What happens when minorities collectively become the mainstream? What are the key takeaways of the 2010 Census for business, media and advertisers who are looking to serve increasingly diverse and dynamic populations? And how do these numbers reflect important changes in the way American define themselves and those around them?
Among the early highlights:
The increase in the U.S. Hispanic population is outpacing the general population. In data accumulated so far for 39 states, average Hispanic population growth between 2000 and 2010 increased by 73%, compared to only 9.9% for non-Hispanic whites. The total umber of Hispanics will grow from just under 50 million currently to about 140 million by 2050. Nevertheless, Hispanics continue to trail the total population in high school and college graduation rates and median household income.
Native Born Boom
The Hispanic population under 18 years old now numbers16.7 million, while those over 18 number 31.7 million. But native-born Hispanics make up 92% of those under 18, versus 42% for those older than 18. The steep rise of native-born Hispanics in the U.S.is why both English and Spanish language media companies are racing toward bi-cultural, language-agnostic strategies.
No longer relegated to cities and states associated with minority populations, Hispanics and Asians are spreading out across the Midwest, South and other former white enclaves. Alabama, Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee and North Carolina are among the states that showed more than 100% gains in Hispanics populations between 2000 and 2010. Over the same period, more than 150 U.S.counties reported growth of more than 100% growth in minority populations. For the first time, more people of color will be living in the suburbs than in cities.
As Boomers mature, the number of older Americans has been steadily rising. By 2050 more than 40 percent of the population will be 46 or older, creating challenges and opportunities for state and local governments and businesses that provide products and services for the elderly. Shifting dependency ratios mean that younger Americans will bear a bigger burden as social entitlements come under pressure to meet increasing demand.
Families in Transition
The birth rates for Hispanic females between 15 and 50 is outpacing all other groups, as is the percentage of Hispanics with children under 18. Meanwhile, larger Hispanic families and the recession have contributed to an overall rise in U.S.household size in Phoenix and other large cities. For the first time, the number of single and cohabitating adults outnumbers married couples. The rise of single parent households and same-sex parents are also helping to redefine the typical American family.
Since the 2000 census first began allowing respondents to identify themselves as more than one race or ethnicity, the number of Americans who claim multiple identities has risen by 50% or more in Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, South Dakota, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa and other states. Census projections suggest that the percentage of American who report a multicultural identity will continue to increase beyond 2050.
As the pros and cons of America's demographic evolution fuel a national debate, the Census Bureau itself has come under fire in the Congress. Earlier this year, U.S. Representative Ted Poe, a Republican from Texas, introduced legislation aimed at limiting the amount of personal information solicited by the Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), an annual mandatory questionnaire sent out to 3 million American households that tracks income, education, employment, health, household size and other demographic data not covered in the decennial census.
Poe and Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann have joined forces in an effort to reduce the funding and scope of the ACS and make it voluntary. "After learning how intrusive the questions in the survey are, I feel that it is important that the Census Bureau stick to counting people and not intrude into the personal lives of the American people," Poe proclaimed in a statement posted on his official website. "The primary purpose of the census is to enumerate our population, not inquire how much you pat for your utilities, if you have emotional problems or if you had a job last week."
In an age when tens of millions of Americans using social network sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn voluntarily post intimate details about their personal relationships, jobs and even physical locations at any given moment, it's unlikely that Representative Poe's resolution will get much traction as a partisan issue beyond the conservative core. Never mind that American Community Survey data is used by major corporations, advertisers, educators, health care providers and philanthropic organizations to market products and services to consumers and gauge and address social needs and trends.
What's more, surveys like the ACS allow us as a nation to look down the road in time to avoid looming demographic potholes in essential sectors like education and employment, two areas where addressing Hispanic shortfalls is ultimately in the common national interest. One of the most important lessons from the 2010 Census might be that making sure Hispanics are equipped to join American society as educators, lawyers, doctors and entrepreneurs is essential for the continued social and cultural vitality of the nation and a key part of its future stability and economic success. And with rising dependency ratios, the need to make sure younger Hispanics are properly educated and trained to take their place in the workforce may be the only way to ensure the long-term viability of Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements for aging Boomers and elderly Americans.
"We have become a nation of numbers," says U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, who is committed to increasing the visibility, accessibility and effectiveness of the Census Bureau as an unparalleled trove of statistical data used by businesses, civic organizations and ordinary Americans. Since census and ACS results are available to anyone for free, research companies and marketers often download the data and re-purpose it under their own logo without attribution. As a result, few Americans appreciate the ubiquity and value of census information, and the myriad ways in which it shapes and enhances their lives.
The U.S. Census Bureau, in other words, has a bit of a branding problem, and that is something that Director Groves would like to change. To that end, during the 2010 Census count, the Bureau partnered with more than 250,000 organizations ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to small town city halls, community groups and local churches. Telemundo, an Hispanic-targeted TV network owned by NBC Universal, went so far as to create a character who a was census worker for its popular telenovela, "Mas Sabe El Diablo (The Devil Knows More)."
Raul Cisneros, the Bureau's Chief of Media Relations, maintains that such partnerships can build awareness and help the Bureau fulfill its mission and cut costs in the long term. "Because if we do that people will hopefully understand and appreciate and value what we are doing and why and how beneficial it is," he explains. "If we keep the favorability and the relevancy and top of mind, it's less work in another nine years because that's where the census costs so much money, when you're forced to go in cars with 600,000 people to knock on 47 million doors to get the answers to the questions."
The Bureau is also tapping technology to make mining its data trove easier and more efficient. Tools like "New American Fact Finder" help users navigate the ocean of demographic, economic and geographic facts , and it is already laying plans to use Internet social media sites to gather responses for the next census survey in 2020.
"We want to make the point, Hey look, what we're doing is really important for our country, for an informed democracy and Thomas Jefferson talked about being an informed democracy 200 years ago, so it's not something new or contemporary," says Cisneros. "This is about us providing total transparency and non-politically we're trying to be the gold standard. It's just so valuable. It's about telling us about us "
In other words, better to face the future with our eyes wide open than stumbling ahead in the statistical dark.
Categorías: Latino News
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