'Minorities' now more than 50% of U.S. births

Newborn babies lay in their beds. Today the Census Bureau told us that for the first time, more than half of the kids born in the U.S. are not European-descended whites. Latinos are the fastest-growing of these groups.

Tess Vigeland: Today the Census Bureau told us that for the first time, more than half of the kids born in the U.S. are not European-descended whites. And minorities make up the majority of all residents in California, Texas, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C.

Latinos are the fastest-growing of these groups; they make up nearly 17 percent of the population. So that's got to be a marketing executive's dream, right? A big target audience that's getting even bigger? Maybe not.

Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman explains.


Mitchell Hartman: Blaire Borthayre says, we’ve been here before. She runs Hispanic Marketing Resources, a consulting firm.

Blaire Borthayre: Every time the Census data comes out, you will see a stampede from marketers trying to cash in on the Hispanic market.

But ‘cuidado!’ -- ‘watch out!’, says Borthayre. She’s Mexican-American, U.S.-born and -educated. And just like her own family, she says the Latino market is multi-national, and multi-lingual. So, surfing Univision TV, we have: a fashion report, in Spanish. With some Spanglish thrown in. The story’s about good-fitting jeans, for women with curves. But will it appeal to the young Latinas it’s targeted at?

Tamar Jacoby runs ImmigrationWorks, an advocacy group. She says the younger generation is moving away from this kind of messaging.

Tamar Jacoby: In the third generation, three-quarters of Hispanics can’t even speak Spanish, they can’t even talk to their grandmothers. They intermarry. By the second and third generation, many people whose parents were Latino no longer identify as Latinos.

So here’s the problem for anyone trying to reach this audience, says Blaire Borthayre: it’s anything but homogeneous. South Americans don’t speak Mexican Spanish and don’t want to be marketed Mexican beer. And that’s not even on the younger generation’s grocery list.

Borthayre: Their parents consumed mostly beer. The more affluent U.S.-born Hispanic is now consuming wine.

Borthayre warns this a market that doesn’t want to be sold to like their immigrant parents, and won’t buy the same stuff anyway.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...