(Article content as published online in the Boston Business Journal May 16, 2016)
Marketers are not the only ones paying attention to the changing demographics. Anyone remotely following the 2016 presidential media coverage is learning about our country’s demographics. Regardless of one’s political leaning, it is clear that demography is having a major impact on the current presidential election cycle. According to the Pew Research Center, the 2016 electorate will be the most diverse in U.S. history in terms of race and ethnicity. In fact, nearly one-third of eligible voters on election day (31 percent) will be Hispanic, Black, Asian or another racial or ethnic minority. This growth in the minority population is the continuation of a trend that demographers have predicted and is now coming to fruition.
This trend has major implications for businesses. Collectively, minorities are the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population. According to 2015 U.S. Census population estimates, there are 118 million minorities or 37 percent of the total population. In Boston, minorities are 53 percent of the population.
As the numeric size of minorities grows, so does the group’s buying power. The Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia reports that the buying power of minorities as of 2015 was $3.3 trillion, a 409 percent increase since 1990. This growth rate is more than double that of the white population’s. While numerous social challenges remain, minorities are gaining economic clout and growing influence.